What’s it all about? Paul is warning the Galatian Christians that although they have been set free from the bondage of their former lives they will continue to face the temptation to satisfy their sinful desires. Nevertheless, as those who are indwelt by the Spirit of God, Christians have the ability to overcome such desires.
So what? Instead of fulfilling our sinful desires (5:19-21), we have the power to fulfill the law of love through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (5:22-23). Therefore, we must rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit to crush our selfish, sinful desires and create within us the ability to demonstrate God’s love, which is manifested in the fruit of the Spirit (5:22-23).
 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:16-24 ESV)
Questions from the Text:
1. Describe the Christian’s constant and continuous conflict (5:16-17)?
2. What is the difference between being led by the flesh and being led by the Spirit (5:18)?
3. Paul provides a list of sins that characterize a life that is led by the flesh (5:19-21); does this mean that Christians will never find themselves drawn to any of these sins? How should we respond if we find ourselves tempted by such sins?
4. How can Christians put to death their sinful desires and live for Christ (5:24)?
5. How does the fruit of the Spirit demonstrate the power of the gospel in the life of a Christian (5:22-24)?
Now what? Christians are not called to simply yield to the presence and influence of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, we are commanded to fully and completely rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit to crush within us the desire to sin and empower us to live a gospel-centered life. Living the Spirit-empowered life is not simply striving to become more virtuous or moral. On the contrary, it is characterized by walking in the Spirit, which is manifested in the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Small Group Questions – Scripture: Romans 8:1-11
1. Describe what it means to be free in Christ?
2. How have Christians been set free from the law of sin and death?
3. What does it mean to live according to the Spirit?
4. What is the relationship between the Son of God and the Spirit of God in giving life to the believer?
5. What are some practical ways we can daily walk according the Spirit and not fulfill our sinful desires?