"The Opposite of Indulging the Flesh"Galatians 5:13
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Thoughts for Today:Throughout this section, Paul has been teaching that he freedom we gained in Christ released us from bondage to the laws and regulations of Old Testament Law. This freedom is possible because of our born-again spirits (1 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"). So we know that in our spirits we are righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:23-24: "To be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness); and we also know the Lord relates to believers based on who we are in our spirits (John 4:24: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”); however, Paul also recognized there is still a part of us that remains susceptible to sin (“the flesh").
There were some people in Galatia (the same as there are today), who use Paul's defense of God's grace as an excuse or promotion of sin. However, in our passage today, Paul makes it very clear that Christian liberty is not freedom TO sin, but freedom FROM sin. The first step in this process is to deny the desires of the flesh. So how do we deny the flesh? By living godly lives of service to one another in humble love. When we serve others in the power of God's love, it will always negate the influence and control that sin can have in our lives. Why? Because a God-based love is unselfish -- which is the exact opposite of our self-absorbed and self-serving flesh.
Questions to Ponder:Have you become a little more self-indulgent lately? When was the last time you served other people in the power of God's love? Not with our own power or purpose, but to serve others unselfishly? Serving others is the opposite of indulging the flesh.