Monday, September 1, 2008

Galations - a study in contrasts

Having a bit of time last Thursday, I read the 5 chapters in Galatians. It occurred to me that it is a study of contrasts in:

w Life under the Law v Life under grace

w Sinful nature v sprit filled nature

w Acts under the law v acts under love.

Here’s what I saw:

The law or Faith

Life before Christ

Life after Christ

Live the by law

Live by faith

Available only to Jews

Available to all nations

A slave to men

A son and an heir and known by God




Justified and free

Use acts to try to be justified

Use acts to show love

Sinful nature controlled life

Spirit led life

Evidence of your Nature

Galations 5:16 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

Fruits of a sinful nature

Fruits of a Spirit filled nature

Sexual immorality












Fits of rage


Selfishness ambition



Self control



To move from one column to the other, see Galations 6:7 “A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life”

How to we sow into the Spirit, and not into our sinful nature? Rick Warren puts it like this:

w Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts . . . but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right. 2 Timothy 2:22 (LB)

w Have you ever watched a food advertisement on television and suddenly felt you were hungry? Have you ever heard someone cough and immediately felt the need to clear your throat? Ever watched someone release a big yawn and felt the urge to yawn yourself? That is the power of suggestion. We naturally move toward whatever we focus our attention on. The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you.

w That is why repeating “I must stop eating too much . . . or stop smoking . . . or stop lusting” is a self-defeating strategy. It keeps you focused on what you don’t want. It’s like announcing, “I’m never going to do what my mom did.” You are setting yourself up to repeat it.

w Temptation begins by capturing your attention. What gets your attention arouses your emotions. Then your emotions activate your behavior, and you act on what you felt. The more you focus on “I don’t want to do this,” the stronger it draws you into its web.

w Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it, just hang up!

w Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God’s Word and other good thoughts. You defeat bad thoughts by thinking of something better. This is the principle of replacement. You overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

w Satan can’t get your attention when your mind is preoccupied with something else. That’s why the Bible repeatedly tells us to keep our minds focused: “Fix your thoughts on Jesus” (Hebrews 3:1 NIV).

w “Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable” (Philippians 4:8 TEV).

w If you’re serious about defeating temptation you must manage your mind and monitor your media intake. The wisest man who ever lived warned, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 TEV).

Called to be Free

Galations 5:13 “You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”

Galatians 5:6b “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love

Acts under the law

Acts under Love

You do it because you have to

You do it because you want to

You do it for personal gain

You do it to bless others

You focus on yourself

You focus on the receiver

You do for others what you want to do

You do for others what you would want them to do for you.

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