Small Group Questions: Week of 1/16/22

Galatians 5:16-26

Keep in Step with the Spirit

“16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

In this week's text, Paul begins to fully flesh out what freedom truly looks like for those who are in Christ.

Verses 16-18 contrast the desires of the spirit and the desires of the flesh. It is clear from the text that the Christian will experience a struggle between the flesh and the spirit. The flesh, our sinful nature, resists and opposes the desires of the spirit, our renewed self. The only way to win in this struggle is through the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us. Christians are no longer under the law in the sense of remaining condemned, but we are now empowered by the Spirit to live in accordance with the law.

In verses 19-21, Paul provides examples of what “works of the flesh” includes. Though the list is not intended to be exhaustive, it covers several categories that most sins fall into. The categories could be listed as follows:

  • Sins of lust (sexual immorality, impurity, etc)
  • Sins of Idolatry (idolatry, witchcraft)
  • Sins against your neighbor (enmity, strife, jealous, etc)
  • Sins against yourself (drunkenness', over indulgence)

Closing the passage, Paul contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. Fruit is not plural, the list is not presented for us to pick and choose, all of these are what the Spirit of God produces in the life of one who is rooted in Christ. We must choose to walk in the Spirit, “not becoming conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (vs 26).
  • Paul makes it clear there will be a battle between our flesh and the spirit, how then should we respond to desires of the flesh? 
  • Why do you think Paul starts his list of works of the flesh focusing on sexual sins? Are these sins worse than others?
  • What do you think is the significance of “fruit” being singular? Can a person show evidence of one kind of fruit but not others? 
  • Do you think the list of the fruit of the Spirit is meant to be exhaustive? Why or why not?
  • What are habits that help to cultivate fruit flourishing in us?  
  • Have you seen the fruit of the Spirit in other believers? How has that impacted you?
  • Read verse 26 together. Why do you think Paul ends the passage this way? 
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