MY WEIRD FAMILY
Week 3- What’s a Parent to do?
As Parents We Have to Believe God’s Word, Live Out God’s Word and Teach God’s Word to Our Children!
How do we parent in a crazy world? Our children are pulled in many directions with multiple influences daily in their lives. We are going to walk through what it looks like to leave our kids to make their own decisions that are driven by their flesh, and then what it looks like to instill the fruit of the spirit in them as their guide.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (Galatians 5:19-23)
1. How much freedom were you given by your parents as a child and then as a teenager? How do you think this will/has reflect(ed) in your parenting?
2. What did freedom mean to you when you were 18 years old? What does it mean to you today? What has changed over time to affect your view?
3. Recall a time when you felt “imprisoned” by an unfulfilling job, a bad habit, an illness, or financial debt. How did you become free from that situation? How would you describe the sense of freedom you experienced at that time?
4. What characterizes a life guided by the sinful nature? By the Spirit?
We are to live out the desires of the Spirit under the leadership of the Spirit with the evidence of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads us to do what God wants, not what our sinful nature wants. The imperative “walk” is a Hebrew expression for “live,” with the idea of conduct or lifestyle. Its tense conveys continuous action. The phrase “by the Spirit” can be rendered “in the Spirit”—in the sphere the Spirit governs. To keep on living in the Spirit is to continually live by His power—to go where He goes.
5. If we are made alive by the Spirit, why do we still struggle with sin?
At the moment we place our trust in Christ, our sinful nature no longer has control over us. Control now belongs to God and His Spirit. However, we live in a fallen world and remain in a battle against sin even after we become Christians. As long as we live, we will continue in this battle. Yet because we are in Christ, sin no longer dominates us, meaning, we are not compelled to sin. Instead, we have the Holy Spirit inside of us who changes our desires and helps us resist sin. In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul presented a catalog of “the works of the flesh” (v. 19) so these believers could be forewarned. The sins listed in these verses are the result of twisting God’s gifts into ungodly behaviors and not following the Spirit.
6. Why do you think Paul mentioned these specific sins? Do you see any commonalities among the sins?
7. How would our world be different if Christians let the Spirit lead in all their actions?
8. What do each of the fruits of the Spirit have in common with each other? Where do you see the Holy Spirit bringing out these characteristics in your life?
Is there an area in your life where you are following the flesh instead of the Spirit? What step can you take today to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit?
How can you help your children or your future children live out the fruit of the Spirit?
How can your group encourage one another in parenting?
5:19. Paul spelled out the results of acting on “the desires of the flesh” (v. 16). He cataloged the works of the flesh. The word “works” refers to what issues from living in the flesh—people’s lower natures. Paul stated these works are apparent. Paul used 15 Greek words and one catchall term to present characteristic activities of people who are outside God’s kingdom and devoid of the Spirit’s leadership. All the impulses or drives Paul included are potentially good, but the base nature seeks to distort and pervert them. Paul began listing what the flesh produces by naming three sexual sins. Sexual immorality was epidemic and commonly accepted in the Galatian believers’ environment. They were bombarded with temptations to revert to their former immoral lifestyles. Paul emphasized that sexual sins issue from our sinful nature’s aggression in its warfare with the Spirit.
5:20a. Paul next addressed works of the flesh in the religious realm. The word “idolatry” referred primarily to worshiping pagan gods—false gods that people fashioned. Such worship often included sexual immorality. Broadly defined, idols are anything or anyone (including themselves) that people put in God’s rightful place in their lives. Following the Spirit’s leadership inspires life-giving, life-sustaining worship of God. Following the lower nature’s impulses results in false, powerless religion.
5:20b-21. Paul’s third category of the flesh’s works related to people’s interactions. Significantly, he listed sinful attitudes, equating them with sinful acts. In so doing, he listed hatreds first. The Greek word means “hostilities” and has the idea of personal animosities. With the phrase and “anything similar,” Paul lumped other obvious works of the flesh with those he had listed. He again gave the Galatians advance warning: People with lifestyles characterized by the works of the flesh will not inherit God’s kingdom. Inherit means “to share in.” The kingdom of God is His rule, the sphere of His grace. The tense of the word practice conveys habitual performance. People who consistently perform the works of the flesh are not following the Spirit and indeed are not Christians.
5:22-23. Paul contrasted the fruit of the Spirit to the works of the flesh. The word “fruit” refers to virtues only the Spirit can cultivate and bring to full growth in believers’ lives. Human nature apart from God can perform works; only the Spirit can produce fruit. For purposes of study, we can place the virtues in three groups: Christian, social, and personal conduct. The first three virtues in the cluster of the fruit of the Spirit show that only God can generate and maintain His desired harvest in the lives of believers. The second group of virtues in the cluster of Spirit-produced fruit pertains to believers’ relationships with others—their social virtues. The third group of virtues is made up of qualities that believers exhibit in personal conduct. Where the fruit of the Spirit is present, no law is necessary. One purpose of the law was to prevent evil, but Spirit-empowered Christians not only fulfill the law in principle but go far beyond what it requires. The presence of the fruit of the Spirit removes the need for the law’s restraints.