Posted by Melissa

Picture this. Your best friend falls into some sin that is damaging to him and painful to you. What do you do?

You could write him off. If he has no more concern for you than this, then you just won’t bother with him any more.

Or, you could get angry and let him know it. Tell him you are not going to let him get away with this. Or, you could ignore it. You would rather have the friendship than a nasty disagreement over this sin.

Read Galatians 6:1-5. Really think about verse 1.

Look back at the three possible reactions to your friend, above. What is wrong with each of them?

What do you think it means to “restore” a person who has sinned? How do you do that?

What does it really mean to have a “gentle spirit” when you deal with someone who has failed spiritually?

Do you have a gentle spirit? Why or why not?

How does a person develop a gentle spirit? Explain.

In what ways could you fall into sin when you are trying to help a friend who has a sin problem?

We are all going to fail at times. When your friends sin, they need to know that they’re loved and forgiven. They need the chance to make things right. If you have a Christian friend right now who is caught in a sin, pray that God will give you the right words to say to restore him or her.

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Holy Spirit Fruit

Posted by Melissa

What does an apple tree produce? Apples. That’s why we call it an apple tree. Will an apple tree ever suddenly begin to grow coconuts? Of course not. That’s just not its nature.

People are born with a sin nature. However, unlike the apple tree, people can actually change their nature. When we experience the transforming love of Christ, repent of our sinfulness, and trust Jesus for salvation, we’re actually given a new nature. And, because of that, we produce a different kind of fruit.

Read Galatians 5:22-26. Pay special attention to verses 22-23.

Based on these verses, how do you recognize a person whose life is controlled by the Holy Spirit?

Does this passage mean that you should try as hard as you can to be loving, joyful, peaceful, and so forth? Why or why not?

What is the difference between trying hard to produce the fruit and living by the Holy Spirit so that He produces the fruit in you? Explain.

When you take an honest look at your life, what kind of fruit do you see? What would your parents say? Your best friends? Your cabin mates?

When does your life tend to produce the most Holy Spirit fruit?

When does your life tend to lack the fruit of the Spirit?

Some people are angry all the time. Other people are never happy. People can be impatient, unkind, faithless, and self-indulgent. None of that is what the Holy Spirit produces in our lives. When your life is controlled by the Holy Spirit, you will see His fruit ebbing out of you. It may start with a little joy. Soon you will find yourself growing in patience, goodness, and genuine love. The key is to live by the Spirit. The question is, are you?

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Racing In The Wrong Direction

Posted by Melissa

Are you a fan of “The Amazing Race”? If so, you know that teams can get so lost racing around the world. A team may be driving furiously to reach the next stop only to discover that they’ve been driving in the wrong direction. The teams who win are the ones that can locate a guide—someone who knows the area and is willing to show them how to get around.

Life is like that, sometimes. You can drive as fast as you like, but if you have no guide to lead you in the right direction, you end up driving the wrong way!

Read Galatians 5:16-21. Focus on verse 16.

What does it mean to “walk by the Spirit”?

The passage contrasts walking by the Spirit and doing the works of the flesh. Which is easier for you? Explain.

Think about the list of fleshly works in verses 19-21. Which of those pull you down the most? Why?

If you’re a Christian and have the Holy Spirit living within you, why do you still struggle with works of the flesh? Explain.

What are some practical things you can do to walk by the Spirit day by day?

It is so easy to go full speed . . . and completely miss what God has called you to do. Thankfully, God has given us a guide—His Holy Spirit. You may struggle with anger. Jealousy may characterize your relationships. You may struggle with sexual sin, drunkenness, pride, or some other sinful desire. As today’s Scripture passage points out, all of that is of the flesh, part of our sin nature. But, God has given you a promise, which is also clearly outlined in today’s verses: you can overcome the flesh when you walk by His Spirit. You have been set free from sin. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in that freedom!

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Free For What

Posted by Melissa

Read Galatians 5:13-15.

After the death of her mother-in-law, a woman was forced to care for her husband’s aged father. He was a feeble old man with palsy that caused him to shake. He couldn’t get food to his mouth without spilling it all over her clean tablecloth and waxed dining room floor. The mess infuriated her. Finally, she relegated her father-in-law to the kitchen where he ate alone. Despite the old man’s discomfort, she was pleased he no longer caused a mess. Her family could eat in peace.

The woman could have treated her father-in-law with kindness and compassion. Instead, she used her freedom to treat him selfishly.

Paul first wrote the Scripture you read today to the Galatians, reminding them that it was possible to misuse the freedom Christ had given them. We have not been set free from sin in order to give into our desires or to live selfishly. Instead, as Paul pointed out, the freedom we’ve been given as believers is the freedom to love others—and out of that love, to serve others.

Consider the freedom you have—freedom in how you use your time, money, and words, as well as freedom from sin. Do you see your freedom as license to do what you want? Or do you see it as an opportunity to serve others in Jesus’ name?

The truth is, you have been set free. Free to serve. Free to love. Free to make your life about more than your own selfish desires. You are free. Use your freedom well!

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