Galatians 5:16-21

Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness (v. 16, The Message). 

The “compulsions of selfishness” seem to be part of the human experience. We focus on ourselves and we sin. We’re not happy about this, but we’re not surprised by it either. Paul says that our flesh is equipped with a kind of autopilot mode that will not ultimately get us where we want to go.

Self-control is more than just following the law or trading one set of choices for a better set, Paul writes. We must be led. We must intentionally take “our moments and our days” as the old hymn says and submit them not to the law but to the Spirit who breathes life into them and helps them live. We voice our intention to the One we follow, not just at the beginning of our journey, but rhythmically, repeatedly and repentingly. 

Then we get to work, wrangling our moments and days, our conversations and our capacities in the everyday particulars we encounter. “Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts,” Eugene Peterson translates, “but work out its implications in every detail of our lives” (v. 25, The Message). Let us strive toward this freedom in the Spirit, so that our days will flow in ceaseless praise toward the One who gives us life.


What areas of your life tend to run on “autopilot”? Talk to God about those, then listen for God’s response.


God, I want your Spirit to lead me as I wrangle the details of my life. Help me continually learn what it means to be led by you and how it feels. Amen.

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