This morning I remembered Galatians 5. When I think of the pain happening all over the world through racism, hatred, division, and how we do not love our neighbors well, I think of how we cannot fix ourselves.
The Holy Spirit can fix what’s wrong.
Paul writes that we are to always “serve one another in love” and think of how the entire law is “summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.” He warns that we will destroy one another if we do not learn how to live by the Spirit instead of our flesh. We need the Holy Spirit.
Consider the truth of God’s word in Galatians 5:16-26:
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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 you want. . . The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and 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. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
I note how when we are out of step with God’s Spirit, the effects relate to the loss of harmony with ourselves and others. Hatred, discord, jealousy rage, dissension, envy, factions–these come naturally to us. But with the Holy Spirit in control, we become people of love, peace, kindness, and goodness. We can crucify the flesh and all its hatred, all its selfishness, and all its evil. Jesus saves us all from ourselves.
We need a fundamentally new way of being and living that the Holy Spirit produces in us. It’s what we most need right now. It’s what we need always.