“If we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
When Paul writes “if” above, he is not raising a question. He is not questioning whether we are made alive by the Holy Spirit. Rather, he is building on the assumption that the Spirit has made us alive. You could almost translate the “if” as “since.”
The point Paul is trying to make is in the second half of the sentence. The idea is that because we are made alive by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. Since the Spirit makes us alive, we must follow Him.
Another part of the idea is that not to follow the Spirit, since He is the One who has made us alive, makes no sense at all. Paul is almost saying, “It goes without saying that since the Spirit made us alive, we are to follow Him as He leads.” It’s sort of like a child born to parents belongs to the parents and stays with them.
And how do we know if we are following the Spirit who makes us alive? It will be seen in the fruit that is produced. Paul named some of them: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faith, and self-control. Fruit that is oriented more to the flesh, by the same token, indicates that someone is not following the Spirit’s lead.
So, the call of God to us today is to live by and follow the Spirit.
Lord, We recognize that by Your Spirit we are born again. Help us therefore to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in the way we live, not as the product of self-effort, but simply by the Spirit’s work in us. Amen.