I have decided to start a devotional. Elizabeth George’s God’s Garden of Grace is one that I’ve worked through before, but as I have recently renewed my faith, I wanted to go through it again. In fact I have a friend who is reading this book at the same time I am. I hope she pops in once or twice to share her thoughts!
My intention is to give a brief overview of the chapter and then to answer the questions provided in the study guide.
Rather than a prologue or a forward, George instead uses her first chapter to describe the fruits of the spirit, why it is important for a Christian to demonstrate the fruits of the spirit, and how Christians are able to act with the fruits of the spirit.
The fruits of the spirit, according to Galatians 5:22-23, are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. While George doesn’t address every fruit of the spirit, chapter one gives an excellent description of how all of these fruits can be cultivated in our lives.
- What is God’s call to you in Galations 5:16? What might happen in your life if you were to follow this instruction?
“This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”. Doing this means you’re more likely to follow God’s commandments and demonstrate Christlike behavior.
- According to Galations 5:17, what conflict do believers live with? Give one or two specific examples of your struggle in this area?
One can’t live both according to the flesh and according to the Spirit. The Christian has to make the choice, perhaps multiple times, to live according to the Spirit.
In my life, I get frustrated very easily and don’t have patience, and I know I’m often ungrateful to those who do offer me support.
- Review the “deeds of the flesh” listed in Galatians 5:19-21. Which deeds do you struggle with?
I struggle with hatred, wrath, envyings, and strife.
- Read Galatians 2:20, 5:24, and 6:14. What do you think these references to being “crucified” mean? How can the truths of these verses change your view of daily life and, more specifically, your view of the struggles you identified in the preceding questions?
Because of Christ’s crucifixion, and our acceptance of his forgiveness, baptism, and the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, we have the power, through Jesus Christ, to fight against the acts of the flesh.
For me, this means I can overcome the acts of the flesh by simply claiming the power that is mine as a child of God.
- What is God saying to you in Galatians 5:24-25? What does the phrase “walk by the spirit” mean? What does walking by the spirit look like in your life?
Walking in the spirit simply means that we daily ask the Holy Spirit to manifest itself in our lives. If we do this, it will prompt us to act according to the spirit. Of course, we still have free choice, so we can choose to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
For me, I know every situation presents an opportunity to act according to the flesh or to the Spirit. Because of these opportunities, and my ability to choose how I will act, I must constantly claim the authority I have to ask the Holy Spirit to prompt me how to act and to remind me to obey God’s commandments.
Plan of Action
The final instruction is to set a plan of action for this week of spending time studying God’s Word, spending time praying, living in greater obedience, and renewing your commitment to Christ.
I’ll let you know how successful I was with these instructions in my next blog.
As a final note, all scripture references are from the King James Version of the Bible. I invite everyone to continue with me as I go through the next eleven chapters.