19This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 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, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death.
When I was a kid, I can remember numerous times that I was confronted with the choice of doing the right thing or the wrong thing. If I were honest, I would tell you that doing the wrong thing often was fun in the moment. However, doing the wrong thing was fun in the moment, but usually came with consequences that were not so fun. The point is that I had a choice. I could choose to do something that would be good for me or something that would be bad for me. This ability to choose is a gift from God. He created us with the ability to make individual decisions. It allows us to make the choice to develop a relationship with Him. Not because we have to, but because we want to.
In Genesis 1:26-27, God tells us that we were made in His image. This means we have the qualities of our father in heaven. We can create. We have the ability to imagine something and then create it. We are intelligent beings, we have the ability to rule and exercise authority in certain situations, and we have emotions just like God. Most importantly we have the freedom to choose. God didn’t give us unlimited power. He did not want us to be gods. He wanted us to have a measured amount of His characteristics.
In Deuteronomy 30:19 Moses encourages us to choose life. “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Many of the choices that we make everyday are life and death choices. When you gossip about a co-worker, you are choosing death. When encourage a friend, you are choosing life. When you engage in inappropriate humor, you are choosing death. When you make the choice to stop and help someone, you are choosing life. When you choose to submit your life to Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are choosing life. When we choose to go down the road of death, not only do we engage in activities that harm others, we are causing harm to ourselves. It affects the way we approach life, our self esteem, and our relationship with God. On the other hand, when we choose life, we are able to build up others, be confident in ourselves, and for those who have chosen to follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior; it strengthens our relationship with God.
In Galatians 5:13-26. Paul reminds us that we are called to be free. However, just because we have the freedom to make our own choices, doesn’t mean we should do as we want. He tells us flat out; “do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh” (Gal. 5:13). He encourages us to love one another, not devour one another. We have the ability to choose to encourage and build up each other or to tear down and destroy each other. Paul presents two choices. We can choose to live by the flesh or to live by the Spirit. The two are complete opposites. I like to think of it in the manner of what part of you do you want to feed. We can choose to feed the Spirit and starve the flesh or visa versa. Because you can’t do both at the same time. Every time you choose to feed the Spirit, you starve the flesh. In Gal. 5:19-21 Paul explains the difference between the flesh and the spirit. “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God”. In Galatians 5:22-23 we clearly can see the fruit that is the result of living a life that feeds the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
I guess the best way to sum it up is to say this: You are what you eat, so make the choice today to start feeding the Spirit so that you can enjoy the fruits of your good choices. This is the best use of the free will that God gave us. Remember, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). Choose life!