Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Paul transitions from telling the Galatians what not to do, trust in circumcision, to telling them what to do, walk in the spirit.
Throughout this letter Paul has consistently warned the listeners to not abandon the gospel they first heard. To put no confidence in the flesh, the law, and sacrifice. It is easy to say, “that’s right!”, “preach it!”, “don’t trust religion!”. However, this verse is where everything shifts. It’s not just a matter of not trusting in the flesh, it’s a matter of walking in the Spirit. It is easy for me to put no trust in my flesh. However, it is much more difficult to live without gratifying my flesh. Paul says the opposite of trusting the flesh is walking in the Spirit.
The intention of this passage isn’t simply to challenge people to stop trusting circumcision and the law. It is more importantly a direction to walk in the Spirit. Everyday I wake up I have two intense and powerful drives within me. One is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. He calls me to a life of sacrifice and surrender. He calls me to give, serve and obey. The other drive is also strong. It calls to indulge, to self-medicate, self-rely and self-preserve. It has been a long time since I trusted in my own morality to please God. However it has been less than 24hrs since I walked in the flesh. I can’t afford to read Galatians and act like I get it. To act like not relying on the law or religion is the intention of the letter. The intention is not only to trust in the gospel, but to walk in the Spirit within me made possible by the gospel. A few things…
-not trusting my own morality is not an excuse to indulge the flesh.
-walking in the Spirit is the opposite of trusting the flesh.
-Practical morality is a response to the Spirit within. (See fruit of the Spirit)
Father, I pray that my aim is walking in the Spirit today. May I reject not only confidence in the flesh, but gratifying it and obedience to it as well.