My Favorite Bible Verse

Want to know what I think may be my favorite Bible verse?

Galatians 5:16

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

I know, I know. It’s kind of a weird verse to call favorite. I’m not sure that it’s really my absolute favorite verse…I mean, there’s so many other great verses to call favorite! But I definitely would say it’s in my top 3.

The reason is quite simple – I love how easy Paul says it is to get over sin. Just walk by the Spirit, and you won’t do sinful things.

Everyone has trouble with sin. Some people think they don’t, but they don’t realize they’re lying to themselves (“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. – 1 John 1:8). Lying is a sin (9th commandment, if I’m correct). Lying to ourselves may be an even worse sin than lying to others, since there is a sense of pride in telling oneself that I am without sin. And pride is one of the seven deadly sins (I really don’t even know what the other 6 are….isn’t that a catholic thing? Sorry…I’m not catholic…).

My own struggle with sin has kept me from having the relationship with Christ that He wants to have. I walked the aisle and was baptized at 8 years old. I’m not sure that I was truly saved at that point – I understood what salvation was, to some degree, but I wonder if at that time salvation was not much more than a get-out-of-hell-free card. Then when I was 18, I went to a Bible camp with a friend, and although I wasn’t drawn to the charismatic tendencies of that camp, I was drawn to Jesus that week. I prayed, for myself, for true salvation one night, sitting in the back of the sanctuary of that little camp. Then I went home, and less than 2 weeks later, I was back to my old self. Sin, sin, sin.

But at least at this point, I believe the Spirit in me made me hate my sin. Because when I was in it, I wanted out. And for the last 15 years that has been a good description of my relationship with Christ. I go for short while, “walking by the Spirit,” then I go for a long while, “gratifying the desires of the flesh.” It’s not always  as bad as it sounds – there were times of hate, lust, and greed. Then there were other times of just selfish ambition, lying, and pride. But each of those times would be characterized as giving in to my sinful nature.

So that brings me back to why I love Galatians 5:16 so much. I’ve spent a lot of time reading books and articles on how to pull myself out of these sin-fests that have defined my existence so long, even during the time I consider myself to be a Christian. And they’re not short books either! Hundreds of pages devoted to actions I can take to get myself out of trouble, and how to avoid temptation to sin. And in the end, it was only 17 words that I needed to hear.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Walking is easy. The Spirit is already in me. All I need to do is follow it’s lead and the sinning will stop. Maybe not forever, but if I continue to walk by the Spirit, the sin won’t take control again. And that’s not just the life that Jesus wants for me….it’s the life I want for myself.

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