In the bubble of Christianity, it is inexplicably easy to get “overwhelmed” with internal theological or apologetic debate. Dissecting scripture to find “objective truth” is sometimes difficult as we seek to understand and “pin down” the lines we should not cross. We question whether or not certain actions, activities, or choices are OK, and try to define (and sometimes wiggle into or out of) the black, white, and gray areas.

Most of us most of us know plenty about the Bible and Christ. I am absolutely NOT  saying reading the Bible is irrelevant or unimportant. Deeply reading the Bible is a joy, blessing, and action of obedience. It is a gift of divine Truth from our Holy Creator. The book contains literal words from and about our God and Savior.

What if all someone knew were these words from Christ: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Luke 10:27). Imagine what the world would look like if we stopped reading the Bible and simply lived out only the stuff we already know.

Believe it or not, the Bible does not need us to add anything to it. It is fine just the way it is. It is elegant and eternal. The Creator of the Universe directed the hands of man to assemble it for us. God only wants the following from us:

  • Read and know it
  • Live it
  • Tell other people about it

Tonight during my quiet time I read the selection below from Galatians 5. I found the blunt simplicity of the passage extremely refreshing. We could surely dive into a plethora of  “smart theologian” blabber, but we wont. The Bible contains so much non-debatable and simple truth. Imagine what your life would look like if you only focused on the simple, straightforward truths. Your / my worlds and communities would be revolutionized in love, and we would be living out Christ’s Great Commission in an extraordinarily real and dynamic way.

Read Galatians 5:19-26 below. Then re-read it. Pray about it. Re-read it. Talk about it with your spouse. Ask your spouse where you can improve. Ask your spouse how you can hold them accountable. Re-read it.  Pray together. Then, re-read it.

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Galatians 5:19-26 (NLT)

Let’s all just do those things… easy enough right? 🙂

God knows our hearts because he created us. I don’t have much else to say here. God spoke directly to us in that passage. We do not have to second-guess anything… we only have to submit to Christ with faithful and obedient action. That God for Jesus.

I have a basic paperback Tyndale “Life Application Study Bible” in the New Living Translation version. It has a great callout related to Galations. I am writing it below for your contemplation.

VICES

Definition: Neglecting God & others
———————————————————–

VIRTUES

Definition: The by-products of living for God
———————————————————–

Sexual Immorality (Galatians 5:19) Love (Galatians 5:22)
Impure Thoughts (Galatians 5:19) Joy (Galatians 5:22)
Lust (Colossians 3:5) Peace (Galatians 5:22)
Hostility (Galatians 5:20) Patience (Galatians 5:22)
Quarreling (Galatians 5:20) Kindness (Galatians 5:22)
Jealousy (Galatians 5:20) Goodness (Galatians 5:22)
Anger (Galatians 5:20) Faithfulness (Galatians 5:22)
Selfish Ambition (Galatians 5:20) Gentleness (Galatians 5:23)
Divisions (Galatians 5:20) Self Control (Galatians 5:23)
Conceit (2 Corinth. 12:20, Galatians 5:20)
Envy (Galatians 5:21)
Murder (Revelation 22:12-16)
Idolatry (Galatians 5:20, Ephesians 5:5)
Demonic Activities (Galatians 5:20)
Drunkenness (Galatians 5:21)
Wild Living (Luke 15:13, Galatians 5:21)
Cheating (1 Corinthians 6:8)
Adultery (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Greed (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Ephesians 5:5)
Stealing (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Lying (Revelation 22:12-16)

Discussion Questions

  1. What are your vices? If you are unsure, ask your spouse.
  2. How are your vices separating you from God?
  3. What is your next tangible step toward God in replacing your vices with His virtues?