December 28, 2020

How Can We Live by the Spirit?

Galatians 5:16-26

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other.

—  Galatians 5:16-17

According to the apostle Paul, each of us has a battle going on inside us. The Living Bible puts it this way: “Two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures.” Which force is going to win? What will it take for us in the coming year to live by the Spirit?

Paul helps to answer these questions. If we are to live by the Spirit, we have to stop acting as if we are in control of our lives. We have to let ourselves be led by the Spirit of God. We must “obey only the Spirit’s instructions.” We need to stay in step with the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can help us become and be what the Lord wants us to be in the coming year.

We have to listen to what the Spirit tells us by turning to the book of the Spirit, the Bible. We have to pray each day to be filled by the Spirit. And Jesus himself assures us that God, who dearly loves us, will “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).

“Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. . . . Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. . . . Spirit of the living God, move among us all . . . [and] make us one in love; humble, caring, selfless, sharing.” Fill us, we pray, with all your fullness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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