The Bible lays out two ways to live. One is destructive and the other is constructive. The way that people live where they seek pleasure, self-interest, and control leads to mutual destruction. Advertising, self-help books, and peers advocate for the life of the flesh. Sensual advertisements for soaps, enticing chocolate commercials, and studs sporting muscles, sports cars, and women lay out the goals of existence in a near-sighted, commercialist society. The alternative is a simple life where the self is sacrificed for the needs of others. A life where the desires of self are offered up to the designs of God.
If you were completely unaccountable, if no-one would ever know what you were up to, would your life be marked by vice or virtue? Rather than playing a game that pretends that our mutually destructive lusts are not a problem, how do we grow in a safe environment so that we are more godly and glad to be so?
Galatians 5: 13-25
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 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[c] you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and 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.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
- What shouldn’t an entirely free person choose?
- What do you imagine a person who is not caged by guilt or shame would choose?
- What differences do you notice between life in the Spirit and life in the flesh?
- What would you do if you were entirely free?
- How could you free yourself from more vices and live out a life of more virtue?