Date: July 10, 2022
Walking with the Spirit
The Point: The Holy Spirit leads us to display the fruit of godly character.
Get Into the Study
Use the following to introduce today’s session.
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, stories about the war and calls for support filled our newsfeeds and social media accounts. Since then, other issues have caught our attention and taken over prominence in the news. While milestones like “100 days of war” have brought the fighting back to the headlines, we cannot measure the intensity of the battles by the intensity of our attention to them.
We are each involved in an ongoing battle that causes death and destruction around us—a spiritual battle between the desires of the Spirit and the desires of our flesh. But just as our attention to the war in Ukraine has waned, we can be tempted to lose interest in our spiritual battles. Our spiritual battle is a real battle with real consequences. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. Paul understood this and in his letter to the Galatians, he exhorted believers to pay attention to this battle between the sinful desires of the flesh and the godly desires of the Holy Spirit. In this session, we will study Paul’s advice on how to win this battle through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. She enjoyed a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser and investor in Southern California. Back in Tennessee now, she loves being a mom and writer.
Study the Bible [from Adult Leader Guide, p. 81 and KJV Adult Leader Guide, p. 75]
In advance, play a video clip or audio clip of the old Cherokee tale of two wolves, with the winning wolf being the one you feed. Be sure to make the point that this is a good illustration of the war between the flesh and the spirit, but it is utterly unwinnable without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Live It Out
Use the following story to conclude your study of this session.
As a society, we are obsessed with self-improvement. We want to be perfect! From books and articles to podcasts and Tik Tok videos—there is an endless supply of content out there, telling people how to harness self-control to reach our goals. But Forbes recently published an article explaining that while self-control is important, motivation, more than willpower, is the primary factor in whether or not an individual will have success. The article explains, “Willpower alone is not enough to achieve your goals. Successful people have tapped into something else: motivation. Motivation is the key to overcoming resistance and taking action on your goals.”
As Christians, we often have extra motivation to be more like Christ. We want the world to see our witness! We might even make a plan for ourselves for our self-improvement.
However, while focusing on self-improvement can be a good thing (who doesn’t need healthier habits?), let us always remember that as believers, we have the gift of being led, daily, by the Holy Spirit. It is a relational, spiritual practice. Listening for that quiet voice and providing enough space to hear it, is more important (and more fruitful) than seeking out every new self-improvement plan that comes our way, no matter how motivated we are.
How might you leave more room for the Holy Spirit in your own life this week?
- Who is one person in your life whose character you deeply admire?
- Who has been a primary influencer in your life?
- When have you been on a walk that took your breath away?
- How does the Spirit help you avoid sinful choices?
- What does it look like for a believer to walk with the Holy Spirit?
- What do you find encouraging in these verses?
- Why do believers sometimes yield to their fleshly nature?
- How would you define spiritual infidelity?
- What can we do if we see a fellow believer “walking in the flesh”?
- How do believers exhibit the qualities listed in verse 22-23?
- Why is producing Christlike character more of a journey than an accomplishment?
- What does it mean to crucify the flesh?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.