Who is leading?

Galatians 5:16-26
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed of each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident; sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is not a law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Paul gives us the rules to live by in his Epistles. If we can learn to follow these rules of engagement, we can set ourselves up to live Godly and righteous lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. In this section, Paul is explaining how the Spirit and the flesh contradict each other and how they are in conflict with each other. If a person submits to the flesh, they cannot submit to the Spirit, and if a person submits to the Spirit, they cannot submit to the flesh. It is quite simple, you can't have your cake and eat it too! Either you are led by the Spirit, or you are led by fleshly desires. There is no in between. There is no grey area.

If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law because the Spirit will not lead you to condemnation. In other words, the Spirit will not lead you to do anything that is contradictory to the word of God. Paul gives us examples of what the flesh produces. These examples are listed so that we can gauge our lives and determine how we are being led. They are not tools, however, for us to use to judge others, only our own actions. The flesh produces dissensions, or disagreements; the flesh produces enmity, or hostility; sexual immorality and so on. These are all signs of being led by the flesh. If we are guilty of these things, we are not being led by the Spirit. On the contrary, being led of the Spirit produces love, joy, patience and so on.

One of the characteristics of the Spirit I would like to discuss in further detail. That characteristic is joy. How many Christians do you see around that do not display this characteristic? I have seen many in my lifetime. They have no joy. They do not seem to be happy with anything, yet, they call themselves children of God. How can that be? My Bible tells me that Christians have joy that the world can't give you and joy that the world can't take from you. Where is the joy? We really need to take a step back and measure ourselves against this trait, as well as the other traits of the Spirit. The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. If you do not have joy in the Lord, you do not have strength. If we can revive and stir up our joy, I believe that we would see more people coming to Jesus for salvation. If lost people can look at us and see how happy we are, no matter what our circumstances may be, they will want to experience that for themselves. The problem we have today is that most Christians look pitifully sad and lost people see that and decide not to have any part of it. We need a revival of joy!

Once we have been saved, Baptized with water, and Baptized with the Holy Spirit, we will then learn how to overcome our fleshly desires and yield to the desires that come from the Spirit of God. Think about the characteristics that you possess in your Christian walk. Being completely honest with yourself, answer this question, Am I being led by the Spirit or by my flesh? Pray that God will reveal the answer to you and teach you how to walk in His ways. God bless you!

Father I pray that you will give us the ability to be led by your Holy Spirit. Help us to possess the fruit of the Spirit and turn away from the will of the flesh. Give us strength to overcome our fleshly desires. We ask for your guidance Lord. Teach us how to be the joyful creatures that you intended us to be. Help us to restore our joy and to put it on display at all times so that those who are lost may want to come into the family. In Jesus name. Amen.


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