Galatians 5 v 16 - 21

I suppose that the first step as a new believer is to recognise that the things Paul identifies in these verses as coming from a sinful nature are to be rejected and fought against. The church in Galatia would have found this even more radical than for some of us who may be able to identify certain of these issues as ones we used to enjoy and embrace. There is a clear demarcation line for Paul between the lives many of those to whom he writes once lived and the new life in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has, is, and will change your life and there will be conflict in you. Some of the things you used to do you may have felt deeply ashamed of and want to be rid of them, but others you may continue to feel secretly attracted to and even wonder if they aren't harmless hobbies. Anything which gives you a false high and damages either yourself or other people is to be ruthlessly eliminated!

But, you may cry, Paul is writing about FREEDOM! Am I not becoming a slave to a set of rules? Am I destined to live a life of guilt and shame for the times when I go down the old routes? NO! Christ has died for you as a saving expression of His love for you. You are loved! So much of what you did before discovering that was a result of a feeling of hopelessness and of trying to find real true love. 

'Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives', Paul declares. Upon this everything hinges. I have known many people make a commitment to follow Jesus and it seems at this moment in time that this commitment wasn't for life. The Parable of the Sower tells us that there will be such as these, seed which goes onto areas of land where it can't root and so falls away. Discipleship, lifelong commitment to following Jesus, is what it is all about. You (and I) cry out, ''But, it is too hard!''. Paul sympathised, Romans 7, but we are to be elite spiritual athletes, giving everything to win the prize. 

Ask yourself each day, 'What does the Holy Spirit want of me today? Where is He guiding me? What has He said to me during the night?'

And remember that when you mess up, like we all do, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ covers all things, we don't need to, we mustn't live buried in guilt!

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