Time Alone With God daily devotional

Time Alone With God daily devotional

by Pastor Phil Stout, JAXNAZ Lead Pastor

Thursday, June 30

Read: Galatians 5:16-18

Galatians 5:16-18  New International Version (NIV)

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 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[a] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Consider: Let’s return to Galatians 5 (see Monday’s and Tuesday’s meditations). As Paul described our freedom in Christ, he took a few moments to discuss the battle between “flesh” and “spirit.” This can be somewhat confusing if we misunderstand what Paul means by “flesh.”

Most of the time when the scriptures use that term, it refers to literal flesh and blood—the body. And we know from scripture (the creation, the incarnation of Christ, etc.) that flesh and blood are not bad. They are good! That’s what God said. He called his creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31)!

But sometimes Paul uses the term “flesh” in a different manner. Depending on which translation you read from today, you may see “the flesh” or “the sinful nature.” Paul is speaking about the “old self” and telling us that if that controls our lives, we’ll gratify a set of desires that are contrary to what God has for us.

Now there’s an important reason Paul brought this up in his letter to the Galatians—in the middle of his letter on freedom. He knew that if they continued on their path of trying to be justified by the Law—justified by their actions and accomplishments—they wouldn’t walk in step with the Spirit. He’s trying to save them from an existence that is purely in the “flesh.” When we walk on our own power, we gratify the wrong desires and it spells disaster for us and the people we love.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (5:16)

Pray: Thank God for the gift of his Spirit. Thank him that he made a way for you to follow him—to stay in step and in sync with him. He did not call you to achieve relationship with him through your own power or self-discipline. He simply asked you to be his dwelling place.

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