You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
In this passage of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we learn much about the spirit we have been given, how its gifts are intended to be shared and behavior to avoid. Paul has laid out for us a list of dos and don’ts for our lives. This may seem like micromanagement to some, but that’s not how it is intended. Now instead of the minutiae of the law, we are given examples to follow and examples to avoid so that we may see the lessons and choose wisely.
Jesus came to teach us that it is time to grow up, to be responsible for our lives and our faith. His disciples continued this teaching and the presence of the Holy Spirit with us allows us to see what God would have us do, even when it would be easier to turn away. The gifts of the spirit give us the strength and hope we need to do what we are called to accomplish – make disciples of all the world.
Gracious God, since the very beginning You have trusted us with free will to choose for ourselves. May we trust You and choose Your ways, living as You intend for us, brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.