Thursday: Self-Centered Living Cersus Christ-Centered Living

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    Read Galatians 5:16-26 and compare it with Ephesians 5:1-9, Ephesians 5:17-20. List the differences between a self-centered life and a life that is filled with the Spirit.

    The life of a person who does not live in the Spirit is radically different from the life and values of a person who is filled with the Spirit.

    Christ Points the Way

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    Self-centered Person Spirit-controlled Person
    Desires what is sinful and displeasing to God Desires what is spiritual and pleasing to God
    Is controlled by sinful passions Is controlled by the Spirit
    Misuses his/her freedom and gets enslaved in sin Is set free from the bondage of sin and is called to freedom in Christ
    Is disobedient to God’s will Is obedient to God’s will
    Is self-indulgent Is self-sacrificing
    Displays the fruit of sin Displays the fruit of the Spirit
    Does not recognize the need for forgiveness and is boastful of self Recognizes the need for forgiveness and praises Jesus for what He has done

    The life of a person who is filled with God’s Spirit is characterized by a loving obedience to God’s law and a gentle spirit of compassion for others (see 2 Cor. 5:14, NASB). Having been renewed in our mind and thinking and having received a new heart and a new outlook on life, our values and behavior will change. We want to live our life no longer in our own strength but in submission to the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:3).

    We cannot transform ourselves. We possess no real power to change ourselves, for sin is too deeply ingrained in us. The renewing energy must come from God. The change from within can be successful only through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. No mere external change, such as correcting this or that bad habit, makes us Christians. The change has to come from a heart renewed by the Holy Spirit.

    This is the work of a lifetime, a work that will have its up and downs, but a work that God promises to do in us if we surrender to Him. “[B]eing confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6, NKJV).

    In what areas of your life do you see the selfish, self-centered part come through, and in what parts do you see a life that reflects the working of the Holy Spirit in you? What does your answer tell you about yourself and the choices you need to make?

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    Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons