You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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 you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 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. 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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. – Galatians 5:13-26
As we’ve learned this week, our amazing Father gives us wholeness through adoption as sons and daughters. He calls us to love. In our own strength, loving like Jesus is unreachable, but God, in His perfection, pours love into our hearts and gives us His own Spirit whose love flows out of us (Romans 5:5).
As humans, we cannot live the Christian life any more perfectly than the Israelites could keep the law. Our Father calls us to live a righteous life, but He does not ask us to do it alone. He gives us His Holy Spirit to live through us. When we make space in our hearts for less of our self-focus and more of God’s kindness, joy, and peace, we can live the abundant life Christ came to give us (John 10:10). When we remove the desire for our best and seek His best, the Spirit can empower us and we experience the strength of God.
As love becomes our way of life, we must constantly be reminded of His strength in us. Christianity is not an addition to our lives, it is a new life to live. When we let go of the world and find our identity as children of God, His Spirit grows the character of Christ in our lives. Ephesians 2:10 explains that we were “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” As we continue this walk in the Spirit, bear this idea in mind: I am God’s, and there’s work He has for me to do!
Today’s the day! Prepare to volunteer or make your donation. Like we said on Saturday, it’s okay if your day to do this isn’t exactly today or tomorrow. In the time you’re waiting, pray for wisdom, guidance, and compassion as you do your part to help meet the needs of others. Pray with gratitude for the role God has allowed you to play in His greater plan.
As you close out this week, reflect back on your mindset before you began the challenge, while you were doing it, and how you feel now. What’s changed? What have you learned? Above all, what do you now think it means to step into your identity and how can you take what you’ve done this week forward into your daily life? God will bless you as you continue forward doing your best to step outside your comfort zone and live for the people around you, and, ultimately, for Him.