Every Christian has experienced conflict between the desires of the flesh and the promptings of the Spirit. But we don’t have to fail. We can choose daily which path to follow.
Brown, green, and red construction paper; scissors; glue sticks; magazines; two sheets of posterboard; paper; pencils
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Use the construction paper to create individual “Fruit of the Spirit” trees. Cut out nine red fruits. Label each with a fruit of the Spirit, describe how that fruit can be put to good use (for example, “love” is working at the soup kitchen), and glue the fruit on the tree. (Fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22, 23.)
- Divide your group in half. One group cuts out magazine pictures of people indulging in the “desires of the flesh” as mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21. The other group cuts out pictures of people modeling the “fruits of the Spirit.” Have each group make a collage on their posterboard. When finished, place the collages side-by-side. The contrast will speak for itself.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- How can we live happy lives when we are constantly pulled between evil desires and desires prompted by the Spirit? Will it always be a tug-of-war?
- Thought Questions
Read Galatians 5:16, 17. What can we do to end the tug-of-war between these competing desires?
- Nothing at all—we will have this war until we reach heaven.
- We can live a secluded life in the mountains where we are away from the world’s temptations.
- We can make a daily choice to say “No” to our desires and “Yes” to God’s will for us.
- We can associate only with Christians who have a strong faith like ours.
- We can just do our best when tempted and hope that’s good enough.
Read Galatians 5:18-26. What striking contrasts are there between the “works of the flesh” list and the “fruits of the Spirit” list?
- The first is self-centered, the second is other-centered.
- The first brings shame, and the second brings joy.
- Those who fall for the first list won’t inherit heaven.
- The second list is an example of the life Jesus lived.
- The sins of the first list can be crucified with Christ; the second list is the result of doing this.
Re-read Galatians 5:22-26. Do you see the parallels between the fruits of the Spirit and the Ten Commandments? What do you think of these? What more would you add?
- Love: “You shall not commit adultery.”
- Joy: “You shall not covet.”
- Kindness: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
- Faithfulness: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
- Self-control: “You shall not steal.”
Read Galatians 5:16. How does one go about “walking in the Spirit”?
- Making the choice each morning to be conscious of God’s presence throughout the day
- Beginning the day with prayer and talking with Jesus throughout the day
- Spending deliberate time in God’s Word every day
- Spending time in fellowship with other Christians as often as possible
- Worshiping God privately as well as with a church family
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: What are some spiritual tools you have found that help you to say “No” to the flesh? Share how they’ve helped you. If you’re willing to be vulnerable, also share what hasn’t worked.
- Option 2: Find as many Bible texts as you can about forgiveness. Write them down and share them with your group. Encourage each other to remember these verses during the times that you fail to “walk in the Spirit.”
- Option 3: Choose one of the fruits of the Spirit to focus on this week. Discuss how to live it in your home and community. Choose a different fruit for the second week, adding a new fruit each week.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Review the list in Galatians 5:19-21. You know which ones you struggle with. Ask for forgiveness now, and then, with God’s help, come up with some practical ways to replace bad habits with good ones. If necessary, seek help from your pastor or from a friend.
- Which fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, 23 might you be lacking? You can have all of them! They come with a changed heart and a life lived deliberately. Begin by renewing your commitment to Jesus; ask for a life full of these fruits.