Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Braving grace does not mean using the freedom we have in Christ to indulge our flesh. This seems like common sense, but Paul had to address it because deception leads us into things that common sense should help us avoid. This is why being deliberate about walking in the Spirit is critical – our flesh has strong desires and will lead us into all kinds of problems if we are not intentional about choosing the Spirit.
Paul is speaking to the Galatians about the same things he saw happening in other places – Rome, Corinth and Ephesus come to mind. People were claiming grace as an excuse to do whatever they wanted because hey, Jesus already forgave us! The problem is that if we truly receive grace, we won’t want to continue in the ways of the flesh. Truly receiving grace carries with it a gratitude for what Jesus did that compels us to desire righteous living. This doesn’t mean that our flesh stops desiring things, but it does mean that we have the Spirit in us to empower us to choose wisely and righteously and we have true remorse when we mess up.
The Holy Spirit brings fruit into our lives. Often, we don’t see it. We are still impatient, unkind, etc. But if we recall that the Kingdom of God is received by faith, then we can stop and apply that to the fruit of the Spirit as well. We can pray in faith to receive and be reminded to walk in this fruit. Instead of saying, “I’m so impatient,” you can say, “I have the fruit of the Spirit and it includes patience – thank you Lord for helping me to walk in it!” Do this consistently and the results will show up in your life.
Notice that if we choose to live this way, we don’t need religious laws. If we walk in the fruit of the Spirit, we won’t break the Ten Commandments. We don’t need the stones to remind us of what not to do. We have the Holy Spirit leading us into what to do. Positive ministry is much more effective than negative. It empowers us over our flesh and keeps us in love with one another. Enjoy the fruit of braving grace today!