Gal 5:16 ESV – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
This is so simple, I am amazed how so few get it.
It is so complicated, there is no wonder that so few live it.
Simple, yet complicated.
This is a plain statement that we do well to understand–especially, if you have trouble with the flesh rearing its ugly head in your life.
First of all, notice that the reverse is NOT true–not gratifying the desires of the flesh will not make, nor prove spirituality. Many have forsaken this world, gone to the mountaintop to “contemplate their navel”, but all they become are aesthetics. That is not spirituality. It is not walking by the Spirit. Giving up some aspect of the flesh may be a penitent act, but it will not overcome the desires of the flesh.
No. The only way to overcome the flesh, with its desires that are against the Spirit, is to walk–or live–by the Spirit.
Secondly, notice that the word ‘Spirit’ is capitalized. There are no initial capital letters in the Uncial Greek (which is written in all caps) copies we have. Initial capitalization is a part of interpretation.
When we see ‘Spirit’ capitalized, we automatically interpret the word to mean ‘Holy Spirit.’ Is that necessarily true? Is that an accurate rendition of πνευμα (pneuma)?
If it is not the Holy Spirit that was intended in this verse, then may I suggest for your consideration that it refers to your own spirit?
Before you go thinking I have fallen off the deep end, take time to remember the new birth and what that entails and enables. What is it that was dead in us that needed to be made alive? (Eph 2:1-9)
I also understand the meaning and intent of Rom. 8:14. There we are told that we are to be “…led by the Spirit of God…” In fact, that verse is emphatic in the Greek and means that ONLY those who are led by the Spirit of God can be considered sons of God.
And this brings us back to my original reason for this post: how are we to be led by the Spirit?
Let’s look at the verse again with the new consideration: But I say, walk by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Does that put it into a different perspective for you?
Putting Romans 8:14 and Galatians 5:16 together I can see that the Holy Spirit leads me through my spirit that has been born anew of God.
Spirit is that inexplicable, unidentifiable, indefinable ethereal part of us that is in connection with God.
It is the part of you that is now growing in relation to the Lord.
We are made of three parts–spirit, soul, and body–and theologians refer to this make-up as the tri-partite man.
The body is the Existence.
The soul is the Expression.
The spirit is the Essence.
Before Christ, you were dead in your transgressions and sins (Eph. 2:1). It was your spirit that was dead.
Before Christ, all you knew was to follow after and fulfil the desires of the flesh. Your soul (personality, if you will) has grown accustomed to that expression of your being. It manifests a fleshly nature. That is its habit.
But, now, your spirit has come alive and is trying to grow and manifest a different reality. The soul doesn’t recognize this new reality, and often reverts to its habitual expressions.
However, you are wanting to be led by the spirit.
It is a practice; a learning of a new way of doing things, of expressing things.
It takes time. But you are changing and growing.
The more you learn to respond to the spirit and its desires, the less you will fulfil the desires of the flesh.
NOTE: This is the fifth in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Galatians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter five of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put this link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.
14 thoughts on “Spirituality: Simply Complicated”
This passage fits into the whole letter that Paul wrote because, remember, the letter was written to inform the Galatians that they are NOT saved from their sins by obeying the law but by living by the Spirit. You will find the fruits of the Spirit in this passage.
Like you said… The word “Spirit” in Gal 5:16 in greek is pneumo. But doesn’t that word mean God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy Spirit?
Actually, the word refers to many different aspects, and “Spirit of God” is not its primary usage. Try this link for Thayer’s discussion: http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4151&t=ESV#
Thanks, I will check it out.
“simply complicated” my favorite oxymoron!
I think we can try to hard to walk by the spirit, instead of being in tune with GOD(via the WORD, Prayer, and Christian Fellowship). If we are all junked up with worldly desires we will no way be walking by the spirit..I love how you broke down the soul, spirit…essence..awesome! thanks Bro! love ya even if you don’t comment on my posts..i need to play acronyms this friday, just saying. 😉
love to play acronyms again; but think gracie & i will be on a road trip. she needs to get away.
I comment when I have something to say.
I’m sorta socially inept when it comes to just makin’ nice.
😆 now i am thinking it was that bad you needed to make nice.. oh well i am not deep enough to think about that too long. Hope you and Gracie have a good time..give her a hug for me!
Right!! Walking by the spirit is not an effort or a task. It is a lifestyle.
I had to look up ‘Uncial Greek’:
Uncial is a majuscule script (written entirely in capital letters) commonly used from the 3rd to 8th centuries AD by Latin and Greek scribes. Uncial letters are written in either Greek, Latin, or Gothic.
Uncial: The Greek characters of upper case letters (ABCDEFG…, etc.). Different copies of Greek manuscripts appear in Uncial form. Minuscules are the lower case letters (abcdefg…) of the Greek alphabet.
Every definition I found said the same thing. I actually the Bible in both Uncial Greek and English.
Gal 5:16 in Uncial greek and then English:
ΛΕΓΩ ΔΕ ΠNΕΥMΑTI ΠΕΡIΠΑTΕITΕ KΑI ΕΠIΘΥMIΑN ΣΑΡKOΣ OΥ MH TΕΛΕΣHTΕ
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.
It seems that ‘uncial’ is made up of ALL uppercase letters and that the capitalization of ‘Spirit’ is not a matter of interpretation, but one of rendering the word Spirit in this verse, the same meaning as the meaning in Gal 5:22-23, which is about the fruit of the Spirit, widely interpreted as meaning the result of the indwelling Holy Spirit. I could not find any commentary or translation that said or implied anything other than the Holy Spirit.
Thayer’s lexicon does contain much discussion around the human spirit, but in paragraph 4, concerning the Spirit of God imaparted to men, specifically refers to it’s usage in Galatians 5, among many other similar usages.
I couldn’t figure out what you were talking about at first. Then I went back to read the post and realized I had left out an important word–Initial (capitalization), and made an assumption. So, I’ve fixed that and added what I thought was commonly known–written in all caps.
Thanks for pointing out my weak writing once again.
(I’m supposed to get better with age, but sometimes I wonder.) 🙂
Not pinging, just trying to prevent brain cramps – they can get pretty ugly. I still don’t understand your point about ‘spirit’ v. Spirit, though.
Wow.. That is a different spin Dale. Can’t say that it is right or wrong.
Just a question. Could it be that the Jesus’ Spirit inspires our spirit, and we are to live by that inspiration?
I found this as part of the definition…
A: the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated
1. the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decide
Great post Dale. Peace and Love
Without question, Carl, Jesus’ Spirit must inspire our spirit. Unless one is born again, one cannot even see the kingdom of God. I guess the intent of the post is to bring people to an awareness of the maturing process in the Lord; to recognize that God uses all aspects of our being which He created. There is a counterfeit movement in the world right now of “getting in touch with your spirit (godness)” that I find very dangerous. Without the knowledge of what the Word says, people can easily be led astray by those who only harp against all the “rules and regulations and doctrine” of a head-religion/faith only. These New Age teachers use the language of the Bible to deceive those who do not know what the Bible teaches in these areas..
Brian talks about this a lot. They will use scripture and twist it just a bit to fit their need. People hear it and say “Yeah I heard that before,” but they don’t hear the difference….
“Putting Romans 8:14 and Galatians 5:16 together I can see that the Holy Spirit leads me through my spirit that has been born anew of God.”
Exactly. First of all, thank you for putting it together for us. It’s way too often that we pick and pull one verse at a time and come to our own conclusion instead of God’s intent. It is ONLY by His connection through our spirit that we can do anything. I don’t understand all the Unical stuff, but I am looking into it…. good job Dale =)