Summary: Life is not easy for a person who believes in Jesus because the old nature they have always had and the new nature given to them by the Holy Spirit are at war with each other. In his letter to the Christians in Galatia, Paul encourages Christians to be intentional and active in suppressing the old nature and attuning their lives to the Holy Spirit. This allows their new nature to grow and mature and the fruit of the Spirit develops in their life.
Big Idea: Following Jesus and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, aligning our entire being to Him will transform our emotions and character.
Ice-breaker question: Think back to a time when you went for a walk with someone. What do you most clearly remember about that experience?
Background: In this passage, Paul is contrasting life lived in accordance with the Holy Spirit (which is what our new nature does) and life lived according to the sinful nature (which is what our old nature does). Those who believe in Jesus have both their old and new nature within them during their life on this earth and those two natures are at war with each other. Paul is urging believers to diligently suppress their old nature (“crucify the flesh”) and encourage the new nature that the Holy Spirit has given them (“we live by the Spirit”) by attuning themselves to his leading and direction (“keep in step with the Spirit”).
Read: Galatians 5:16-26
- What do you think it means to walk by the Spirit?
- How will walking by the Spirit keep us from gratifying the desires of our sinful nature?
- Why are our old sinful nature and the Holy Spirit in conflict with each other?
- If a person does whatever they want while this conflict is going on inside of them, what will happen?
- In verses 19-21, Paul lists some actions that result from living according to one’s sinful nature. What kind of destruction results from these actions?
- Paul warns us “…that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” What does living according to our sinful nature do to our faith in God?
- In verses 22 & 23, Paul describes the “fruit of the Spirit.” Notice that the singular “fruit” is used instead of the plural “fruits.” These results that come from living according to the Spirit are a package deal. All of them are produced in the life of a person who walks in step with the Spirit (though not simultaneously to the same degree). Also, notice that the first three items in the list are emotional qualities and the latter six are character qualities. How does living according to the Spirit have a positive impact on our emotions? How does it have a positive impact on our character?
- What are some things people do that helps them to keep in step with the Spirit?
- Why is Paul’s encouragement to not become conceited a good reminder to us as we commit ourselves to walk in step with the Spirit?
- What action step are you willing to do this week to help you walk in step with the Spirit?
This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on October 7/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.