Q: What is the first change in our behavior that indicates we’ve chosen to forsake the flesh for the Spirit in v.26?
A: To not negatively challenge, envy or provoke others, especially in the course of promoting ourselves over them. Whereas crucifying our old life is in line with the greatest commandment – to love God – this is an application of the second greatest commandment – to love each other.
Q: What is the contrast in attitude and action between 5:26 and 6:1?
A: Even when we find someone else in error, we still don’t promote ourselves over them. Rather than directly challenging them, to walk by the Spirit requires restoration.
Q: But – according to v.1 – should we be actively looking for the fault in others, in their differences from us?
A: Focusing on ourselves is the only way to avoid temptation, which results in the best possible vantage point for us to discern the needs in others. (First take out the log and THEN look for the splinter….)
Q: How does Paul sum up “walking by the Spirit” in v.2? How does it fit with 5:26 to 6:1 so far?
A: By becoming a partner with others in sharing their burdens we are visibly loving our neighbor as our self.
Q: And how do we avoid the pitfalls of 5:26-6:2 according to v.3-4?
A: Our self-centered focus is replaced with concern for our neighbor when we live a life of self-examination.
Q: What is the only tangible difference between myself and others that I should focus on?
A: The burden of our load is unique for each of us. What I bear may not total the same “weight” as others. It’s the application that God has entrusted to each of us a different number of talents, minas, etc. with which we’re individually responsible, whether we’ve been given 1 or 10, or whether or neighbor’s been given 1 or 10. It’s what we do with what we’ve got, not whether the amount given by God to each of us is different.
Point: Summarize what it means to “walk by the Spirit.”
- To constantly examine my own life and behavior to determine what yet remains to be crucified – put to death – in order to produce the fruit of the Spirit.