…it is very helpful to have an owner’s manual with a troubleshooting guide to help with diagnosis and repair.

Written By: Ray S. Edited By Phil D.


Passage:  Galatians 5:16-26

Focus:  “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”  Galatians 5:16

Wow!  This may be a short reading assignment (only 10 verses), but it’s sure long on meaning and importance!

owners-manualI own and operate some rather technical equipment—like my WoodMizer sawmill.  There are times when something goes amiss, and it is very helpful to have an owner’s manual with a troubleshooting guide to help with diagnosis and repair. 

May I suggest that you use this passage in the same way to help you address any technical malfunctions in your own life?

When you notice that your life just isn’t running quite right, use it as a checklist and troubleshooting guide.  Better yet, use it as a guide for preventive maintenance and optimal performance.

I know I have presented some similar ideas in the past, but I think that the importance of this matter warrants repetition.

I would like to recommend a little exercise in regards to this reading.  I’ll base it on the words of Jesus in John 6:63 where He says, The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”

I know there are lots of angles to that, but I think we can all agree that the Word of God (the Bible) is, in large measure, the medium of the Spirit of God.  Therefore, I suggest that as you read this section, you exchange the word “Spirit” for the phrase “Word of God.”  This will not exhaust the meaning of the message, but will give it some valid and practical amplification.  May I also suggest that you read Romans 8 in the same way?

            There are some noteworthy parallels of teaching and theme between Galatians 5 and Romans 8.  I know this will add some length to this reading, but I’ve decided to insert a paraphrase here of Romans 8:1-14 just to help enhance our understanding of the wonderful solution to the sin problem that God provides through His Spirit…through Christ Jesus…through His Word.aerodynamics

            “With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved.  Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.  A new power is in operation. 

The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air and (like the power of the law of aerodynamics triumphs over the law of gravity) freed you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

            God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son.  He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant.  In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.  The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

            “The law always ended up being used as a band-aid on sin instead of the deep-healing of it.  And now what the law code asked for  (but we couldn’t deliver) is accomplished as we (instead of redoubling our own efforts), simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

            Those who think they can do it on their own, end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life.  Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them…living and breathing God! 

           Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. 

          Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.  Anyone who is completely self-absorbed  ignores God and ends up thinking more about themself than God.  That person ignores who God is and what he is doing – and God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

            But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him.  Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God – the Spirit of Christ – won’t know what we’re talking about.  But for you who welcome him, and in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. 

            It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself?  When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life.  With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

            So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent?  There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all.  The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life.  God’s Spirit beckons.  There are things to do and places to go!”


“One may go wrong in many directions, but right in only one.”


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