Well, it’s almost the end of our in-depth study on the Book of Galatians but it’s still amazing to see how God uses the Book of Galatians to speak to us as Christians today. As we talked about in being heirs to Christ through the promise of Abraham, we spoke about how; we are no longer bound by our past sins and are now adopted into the kingdom of God as joint heirs with Christ.
This is where we begin our discussion on how we as Christians are to live for Christ while walking with the Holy Spirit. So, what does it mean to live for Christ while walking in the Holy Spirit?
Well, according to the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:13-16, living for Christ means that we as Christians are to gird or protect the loins or the sides and back of our minds and be sober or vigilant and to rest our hope fully upon the grace brought to us by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:13-16 (NKJV)
“13. Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14. as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15. but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16. because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (see Leviticus 11:44-45 NKJV).
What I liked about this passage of Scripture is that Peter is talking to us and telling us that we are to protect our minds and essentially our thoughts from the traps of our flesh, remain sober or vigilant, and that we are to rest our hope on the grace God has given us through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
As Christians, Paul and the other Apostle are constantly reminding us to protect our minds from the spiritual attacks of the Devil because he is roaming around the Earth; looking for those people and even Christians who don’t have a firm foundation in Christ to destroy their faith in Jesus Christ.
Because of this, we as Christians; even me should watch what we read, listen to, watch on TV (social media, etc.…) and even who we hang around with because as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “33. Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
“As Christians, we are called to be like Christ; but what we do on this Earth will reflect if we were either living for Christ or we were living for the things of this world.”
Personally, this verse speaks to me and how, it’s not only who I hang around with but I must continually discipline myself to remove myself from TV, social media and even music that is not building up my foundation in Christ and helping me walk in the Spirit.
This leads me to verse 1 of chapter 5 where the Apostle Paul is telling the Galatians to stand fast in their liberty knowing that Jesus Christ has set them free and to not “be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” What I like about this verse by the Apostle Paul is that he is not only talking to the people of Galatia, but to us as Christians today and how we are to stand fast in our freedom because Jesus Christ is the One who set us free.
The word “stand fast” comes from the Greek word “steko” (sta’-ko) meaning “to stand firm”, to persevere”, “to persist”, but here’s the question I feel we all as Christians should ask ourselves: Am I persevering, standing firm in the foundation of Jesus Christ? Or, Am I in bondage to trying to fit into the “mold” of the world?
“In order to stand fast in our faith in Jesus Christ; we have to first build up our foundation in Jesus Christ by reading God’s Word and forming a relationship with Him as our Lord and Savior.”
In the book of James, the Apostle James speaks on this topic when he is speaking to the Christians at that time about their pride, but what I liked in chapter 4 of James was what he said about us modern Christians today.
James said this in James 4:2-4, “2. You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
What I feel James is trying to tell us today as Christians is that everything that we do as human beings is building a “friendship “with the world and not God and that if we do “form” a friendship with the world; then we are putting a distance between us and our relationship with God.
This leads me into verses 2 and 3 where Paul is speaking to the people of Galatia and is telling them that if they choose to become circumcised; it changes the whole orientation of salvation away from God’s grace to one’s own actions, thus, in my opinion; Paul is also saying to us Christians and as people today that when we choose to go down a path is opposite of God, then in our hearts we are basically saying that God’s grace is not necessary for my life.
Paul clarifies in verse 3 to the Galatians that if they do become circumcised like the legalistic Jews of that time they would have to keep the whole Law of Moses. As Christians, we are called to a higher standard by Jesus Christ while in this world and what we do during our time on Earth matters because it will determine where we spend eternity.
Billy Graham said this, “Living for Christ is a day-to-day going on with Him. It is a continuous dependence upon the Spirit of God. It is believing in His faithfulness.“
In his blog post entitled, “Cookie A Day: We Must Offer to Christ Our Sacrifices”; SpaniardVIII of Spiritual Minefield and Cookie A Day Site said this, “… we as Christians are a living temple to do likewise. We must understand that our purpose is to bring glory to Christ by our sacrifices and offerings in the conduct that we display. We are to mirror Christ Jesus.”
What I liked about this quote by SpaniardVIII is that it should be a reminder of how we are to live for Christ and walk in the Holy Spirit. We are the temples of God’s Holy Spirit on Earth and like SpaniardVIII said; “we are called to bring glory to Jesus Christ by our sacrifice and offering in the conduct that we display and that we are to mirror Christ.”
Paul speaks on this in verse 4-6 where he is talking to the people of Galatia and how they have become estranged from Christ by attempting to be justified by the Law of Moses. As I’ve said before, we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ and reconciled back to the Lord but also, it’s by His grace that we were saved from eternity in Hell and in verses 4-6, Paul calls the Galatians out on it.
“We should never take this life for granted. We have been called by the Father to live for Him; but the question is: Will We live for Him or the world?“
In my opinion, Paul is telling the people of Galatia that if they attempt to be made righteous by adhering to the Law of Moses; they will have an estranged relationship with Jesus Christ. This for me raised a question that I feel, we as Christians today should ask ourselves: If I am being declared righteous by the un-Christlike things I’m doing on this Earth and not living for Christ, why do I have an estranged relationship with the Lord?
Psalms 119:105 says, “105. Your word is lamp to my feet and a light to my path” and what I like about this verse is that although common for us as Christians to say; are we really allowing God’s Word to direct our steps?
If we start to have an estranged relationship with Christ then we have to build up our foundation again on His Word because if we don’t; it will be easy for the Devil and the world we live in to sweep us off our feet and focus our hearts and minds on the desires of this fallen world.
Lynn Abbots of Through Ink and Image wrote a blog post that I feel speaks on this topic about living for Christ called, “Daily Dedication”. In her blog post, she said, “Sometimes, we must take time out for a spiritual house-cleaning. As believers, after all, we “are God’s temple,” (1 Corinthians 3:16)”.
What I liked about her quote is that it shows me that I’m not meant to just show the world that I’m living for Christ on the outside, but I have to do inventory on my own heart and mind and see what needs to be discarded and replaced with the things of God.
Also, in her blog post, Lynn Abbots has several quotes about living for Christ and walking in the Holy Spirit and I feel that they can speak to us as Christians today.
- “… you and I devote time to spiritual clean-up–the confession of sin– and the daily dedication of our lives to God’s higher purpose. Through our daily time with Him, we invite our Great High Priest to guard our spiritual “house.”
- “… our unbroken communion with Abba is absolutely necessary to keep the enemy at bay, (Luke 11:21).”
- “Our temples may have fallen into disarray through simple neglect… and it is time to repair the doors and put everything back in working order.”
- “Sometimes, we must take time out for a spiritual house-cleaning. As believers, after all, we “are God’s temple,”
Lynn Abbots said, “… you and I devote time to spiritual clean-up–the confession of sin– and the daily dedication of our lives to God’s higher purpose. Through our daily time with Him, we invite our Great High Priest to guard our spiritual “house.”
Some of the things I liked about Lynn’s blog post is that it speaks on the comparison between King Ahaz and his son Hezekiah and how King Ahaz did evil in the sight of the Lord but it’s King Hezekiah that did right in the sight of the Lord.
What I found most interesting about this is that King Ahaz and King Hezekiah are reflections of who we were as Christians and as human beings with us being rebellious like King Ahaz; who refused to listen to God’s Word and choose to do his own thing before Christ redeemed us and we have now become like King Hezekiah; who did right in the sight of God.
In verses 5 and 6, we see Paul say, “5. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything but faith working through love.”
We see in verses 5 and 6 that it’s THROUGH the Holy Spirit that we receive the righteousness of hope BY faith in Jesus Christ; because it’s IN Christ Jesus that whether circumcised or uncircumcised; by faith, it is possible to fulfill Christ’s command to love one’s neighbor.
We also see in verses 7 and 8 that Paul is now speaking to the Galatians about their “race” in their redemption through Jesus Christ and how they have been hindered by the false doctrine taught to them by the Jewish legalists.
What I found in verse 7 was the phrase “You ran well” could also refer to the race towards freedom in Christ but there were hurdles; in verse 7 where Paul asks a question about who is hindering them from obeying the truth of God’s Word.
In my opinion, the word hindering could also be translated to “what is preventing me from…” and I feel that we as Christians should likewise ask ourselves these same question: What is preventing me from obeying the truth of God’s Word?
“By walking the direction that the Holy Spirit leads us, we will know that whatever comes to hinder our walk with Christ will not stand.”
In verse 8 we see Paul telling the Galatians that whoever they were listening to did not come from God but from the Jewish legalists who were trying to twist the teaching of circumcision. Paul would later go on in verse 9 where he says, “9. A little leaven leavens the whole lump” and I feel that Paul was also referencing back to verses 7 and 8 of Galatians 5 and 1 Corinthians 5:6-7. For me, this raised several questions:
Are we as Christians being mindful of who is sowing into our lives?
Are they hindering us from obeying God’s Word?
Are they helping us to obey God’s Word?
Modern Application: We as Christians today need to begin to recognize the “leaven” in our lives in order for us to begin to remove it and keep our foundation in Jesus Christ.
Living for Christ and walking in the direction of the Holy Spirit is not going to be easy even as Christians because our flesh is at constant odds with the Holy Spirit that is living on the inside of us.
This reminds me of a song by Christians artist Tye Tribbett called, “Stand Out” and what I love about the song is that it really hits home for me about how we are to stand out against the way of the world and live for Christ and not the pleasures of this fallen world.
In Colossians 1:10, Paul says this, “10. that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…” and what I like about this verse is that Paul is encouraging the people of Colosse and us as Christians to live for Christ walking worthy of the Lord doing everything that we can to increase in our understanding of His Word and being fruitful in every good work.
We later see in verse 13 the crux of this blog post where Paul is speaking to the Galatians and us people and modern Christians today about the freedom we have in Christ.
Verse 13 says, “13. For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” and what I like about this verse is that Paul is reminding us Christians that we have liberty (freedom) through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In my opinion, Paul is also telling us as Christians to recognize and acknowledge that the freedom we have from Christ is NOT an opportunity to indulge in our fleshly desires. Paul also encourages s to not give into our desires but instead practice serving one another THROUGH love (see Luke 6:35; Mark 10:43).
“We need to recognize and acknowledge that we have freedom in Jesus Christ and not allow ourselves to indulge our fleshly desires.”
This leads me to an interesting question: Why do we continue to indulge in the desires of our flesh when we have been given liberty (freedom) through Jesus Christ? I recently read a very interesting blog post by Nurturing My Faith entitled, “Even the Vilest Sinner”
In the blog post, she said something that I feel we all as Christians need to remember when we are living for Christ:
“Jesus used some of the vilest people, whose hearts He changed, to do great works for the kingdom of God. You’re mistaken if you think He can’t change your heart, forgive you, and use you to do great things. Your new life in Christ can emerge from His cleansing if you have a willing heart.”
We later see this in verse 16 where Paul is speaking on the spiritual and internal battle between our flesh and the Spirit of God that lives in us. In verses 16-17, Paul said, “16. I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another; so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
What I truly love about this passage of Scripture is that it speaks to all Christians no matter where they are in their walk with Christ because in my opinion; Paul is telling us to “Walk IN the Spirit”; meaning even we as Christians today are to be LED by the Holy Spirit and walk IN the direction the Spirit is leading us; NOT AGAINST the Holy Spirit.
The flesh of our humanity is in a constant war with the Spirit of God living inside us and that’s because our flesh wants to be IN REBELLION against God while our spirit desires to know God and be IN A RELATIONSHIP with Him.
Through verses 19-21, we see Paul create a long list of transgressions that we as Christians may have committed today, but he also makes mention that those who perform such works of the flesh will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Paul is reminding us as Christians that we did not deserve to inherit the Kingdom of God because of our sinfulness and that it’s because of God’s mercy and His grace that we are adopted into His family and can now receive the inheritance of the Kingdom of God.
“As Christians, we did not deserve to inherit the Kingdom of God because of our sinfulness and that it’s because of God’s mercy and His grace that we are adopted into His family and can now receive the inheritance of the Kingdom of God.”
In the end, though; living for Christ is always going to be a challenge; especially in this modern age where it seems that the values of Christianity are almost always looked down upon as “old-fashioned” and maybe even “ancient” ways of believing.
But, as Christians; we are to walk in the Holy Spirit and not in front of Him; we as Christians as Paul says: that those who are in Christ have crucified their flesh. So, here’s the question:
Have we crucified the desires of our flesh? Or, Have we let them continue to cling to us?
So, What are your thoughts about living for Christ?
Have you ever let the desires of the world keep you in spiritual bondage?
What have you done to rid yourselves of the “leaven” in your life?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Stay tuned next week because we will be finishing the Galatians Bible Study Series discussing “Bearing and Sharing the Burdens of a Christian Life.”
Abbotts, Lynn. “Daily Dedication”, 5 Jun 2018, throughinkandimage.com, https://throughinkandimage.com/2018/06/05/daily-dedication/ . Accessed 17 Jun 2018.
Graham, Billy. “Living for Christ is a day-to-day going on with Him. It is a continuous dependence upon the Spirit of God. It is believing in His faithfulness.” http://www.azquotes.com/ , http://www.azquotes.com/quote/784667 . Accessed 20 Jun 2018.
Nurturing My Faith. “Even the Vilest Sinner”, 2 Jun 2018, https://nurturingmyfaith.com/ https://nurturingmyfaith.com/2018/06/02/even-the-vilest-sinner/ , Accessed 13 Jun 2018.
SpaniardVIII. “Cookie a Day: We Must Offer Christ Our Sacrifices”, 8 Jun 2018, https://thecookieadaysite.wordpress.com/ , https://thecookieadaysite.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/cookie-a-day-we-must-offer-to-christ-our-sacrifices/ , Accessed 17 Jun 2018.
“TYE TRIBBETT – STAND OUT LYRICS”, YouTube, uploaded by Chidinma Ituma, 7 years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWe4AXLYZjE . Accessed 21 Jun 2018.
Author Unknown. “Colossians 1:10”, https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/colossians-1-10-that-you-may-walk-worthy-green , Accessed 22 Jun 2018.
Author Unknown. “Galatians 5:13”, https://biblia.com/bible/nkjv/Galatians%205.13 , Accessed 22 Jun 2018.
Author Unknown. “Galatians 5:16”, https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/galatians-5-16-walk-by-the-spirit-gold . Accessed 22 Jun 2018.
Author Unknown. “Psalms 119:105”, https://mybible.com/covers/127 , Accessed 22 Jun 2018.
Bayliss, Mariela. “Protecting Our Freedom”, http://slideplayer.com/slide/3887023/ , modified over 3 years ago, Accessed 22 Jun 2018.
Gaines, Damon. “RAISING CHILDREN IN AN INTERNET WORLD.”, http://slideplayer.com/slide/7658227/ , modified over 2 years ago, Accessed 22 Jun 2018.
Greene, Martina. “The Work of God John 6:22-29”, http://slideplayer.com/slide/9333893/ , modified over 2 years ago, Accessed 22 Jun 2018.
Howell, Daniel. “More Like the Master: More Holy”, 19 Mar 2010, https://www.slideshare.net/dhowell86/more-like-the-master-more-holy , Accessed 22 Jun 2018.
Park, Shawn. “The Keys of the Kingdom”, http://slideplayer.com/slide/4719175/ , modified over 3 years ago, Accessed 22 Jun 2018.
Simon, Chrystal. “What the Sinner Destroys!”, http://slideplayer.com/slide/4622841/ , modified over 3 years ago, Accessed 22 Jun 2018.