Do you ever feel out of step with the folks around you? I do. In fact, I feel out of step in these devotions. The lectionary for Sundays is a slightly different schedule than the other days of the week. You’ll notice the weekday readings are currently in Hebrews – here today we’re looking at Galatians. What’s up with that? I actually double-checked with Father Rob to confirm that I’m looking at the correct readings. Even though I feel like I’m on the wrong path, I know that I’m doing the right thing.
In today’s reading, Paul writes about two different paths, actually two different ways of living: walking according to our sinful nature, or walking in the Spirit.
Our society and culture will entice us to walk according to our sinful nature. Paul describes it this way: The acts of the sinful nature 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. (Galatians 5:19-21)
Society won’t be so blatant in its approach as it strives to pull us towards our sinful nature. The subtle words and ideas might be a little more like: sensuousness, “pushing the envelope”, help or get out of the way, stand up for your rights, losing your temper, putting people in their place, for mature audiences only, and the like.
In contrast to this way of life, Paul encourages us to walk in the Spirit. He describes it this way: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
The truth of those words stand by themselves.
I’ll close with the words, that Paul uses to conclude the reading: Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:24-25)