Galatians 5:1, 13-26 reinterpreted
A reinterpretation in my own words of Galatians 5:1, 13-26, done as a spiritual exercise to become more familiar with the text:
It takes strength and commitment to not yield to the pressures that push against our living in the freedom that Christ has purchased for us. And yet to give in to those burdens is to place upon ourselves a heavy lifeless weight.
(13) Our calling is freedom! Don’t use your freedom to choose to go back to the life you had before your freedom was given to you. Don’t be like the Israelites in the wilderness who cried out that life was better when they were slaves in Egypt! When we are focused on loving each other from a place of humility, we are embracing our freedom. (14) If we only follow the Golden Rule, we will have fulfilled the entire law of God. (15) When we live our life being defensive and attacking others, we will then have reason to think we need to be defensive, because what we give will come back to us.
(16) If we make the focus on walking according to the leading of God’s Spirit, then our step will be redirected in such a manner that we will not give into our carnal desires. (17) Our worldly desires and our spiritual desires are opposite ends of a road. We can choose either to walk towards the desires of the flesh or towards the desires of the Spirit, but cannot walk towards both at once. The nearer we come to one, the farther we’ve traveled from the other. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not able to do whatever you want. We think that we have control over these desires, but we really do not, as they are at war with each other. (18) But, when we give the Spirit power in our lives, we give the Spirit a decisive victory in the battle, and as a result we are no longer under the power of the law.
(19-20) It is easy to spot incidences when the flesh is in control. The following behaviors are examples of the influence of the flesh: immoral sexual behavior, impurity, excessive sensual indulgence, idolatry, witchcraft, hate, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissention, factions, envy, drunkenness, wild unrestrained partying, and the like. (21) I must warn you again, that by living a life in which you demonstrate these behaviors, you are not living a life that demonstrates the presence of God’s Spirit within you! As such, you will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
(22) In contrast to this life that has given into the desires of the flesh, a life that is led by the Spirit of God bears delicious fruit. We recognize one who lives by the Spirit, because we see the fruit of love, joy, peace, restraint, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in his or her life. (23) There can be no law against such qualities. (24) If you are truly Christ’s, then you have crucified the flesh and all of its passions and desires. You have declared them dead and no longer attractive. (25) Since you have done this and have already begun to live by the Spirit, keep in step with the Spirit. Continue to resubmit yourself to the Spirit’s lead in your life. Let each move forward be by the Spirit’s lead. (26) Really friends, let’s be careful not to become conceited, because if we do, we will be at risk of provoking and envying each other, which are not characteristics of those led by the Spirit.