“September 23–29. Galatians: ‘Walk in the Spirit’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“September 23–29. Galatians,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
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The gospel of Jesus Christ offers freedom from spiritual bondage. But sometimes people who have experienced the freedom of the gospel turn away from it and “desire again to be in bondage” (Galatians 4:9). This is what some Galatian Saints were doing—they were turning away from the liberty Christ had offered them (see Galatians 1:6). Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, then, was an urgent call to come back to “the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Galatians 5:1). This call is one we also need to hear and heed because while circumstances change, the struggle between freedom and bondage is constant. As Paul taught, it’s not enough to be “called unto liberty” (Galatians 5:13); we must also “stand fast” in it (Galatians 5:1) by relying on Christ.
Paul wrote to the Galatian Saints when he learned they were being led astray by false teachings. One of these teachings was that in order to be saved, Gentiles who had accepted the gospel needed to be circumcised and to keep other traditions of the law of Moses. Paul called these traditions “the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1) because they were preventing the Saints from fully living the law of Christ, which brings true freedom. What do you find in Paul’s counsel to the Galatians that can help you understand what true freedom is? You could also ponder what yokes of bondage might exist in your life. Is there anything that is preventing you from experiencing the freedom that the gospel offers? How have Christ and His gospel “made [you] free”? (Galatians 5:1).
Some of the Galatian Saints were concerned that because they were not literal descendants (“seed”) of Abraham, they would not receive the blessings promised to Abraham, including those of exaltation. According to Galatians 3:7–9, 13–14, 27–29, what qualifies a person to be the “seed of Abraham”? To learn about the blessings promised to Abraham and the blessings that we can inherit as his seed, see Bible Dictionary, “Abraham, covenant of,” and “Abrahamic Covenant,” Gospel Topics, topics.lds.org.
The Prophet Joseph Smith explained: “We cannot believe, that the ancients in all ages were so ignorant of the system of heaven as many suppose, since all that were ever saved, were saved through the power of this great plan of redemption, as much so before the coming of Christ as since. … Abraham offered sacrifice, and notwithstanding this, had the Gospel preached to him” (“The Elders of the Church in Kirtland to Their Brethren Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Mar. 1834, 143, josephsmithpapers.org). The following scriptures also indicate that the gospel of Jesus Christ was preached before the Savior’s mortal ministry: Helaman 8:13–20; Moses 6:50–66.
Studying these verses can help you evaluate how fully you are walking in the Spirit. Are you experiencing the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in verses 22–23? What other fruit, or results, of spiritual living have you noticed? Ponder what you need to do to cultivate this fruit more fully. How might cultivating this fruit improve the important relationships in your life?
Perhaps you are trying to walk in the Spirit, but it doesn’t seem like your efforts are bearing the promised fruit. Read Galatians 6:7–10 (often referred to as the law of the harvest). What message do you feel the Lord has for you in these verses? How could you use these verses to encourage someone who is struggling to live the gospel?
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
What does it mean to “live by faith”? What is your family doing to show that you live by faith?
You might introduce Galatians 4 by discussing the differences between a king’s servants and his children. What opportunities or potential does a king’s child have that a servant does not? Think about this as you read together verses 1–7. What do these verses teach about our relationship with Heavenly Father?
To add some fun to your discussion of Galatians 5:22–23, your family could label different fruits with words Paul used to describe the “fruit of the Spirit.” Then each family member could select one, define it, and talk about someone who exemplifies that fruit. This could lead to a discussion about ways your family could invite the Spirit into your home and cultivate this fruit. After the discussion, you could enjoy a fruit salad together.
There may be times when someone in your family is “overtaken in a fault.” What counsel do you find in Galatians 6:1 about what to do in such a situation?
If your family has ever planted something together, you could use that experience to illustrate the principle “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (verse 7). Or you could ask family members about their favorite fruits or vegetables and talk about what it takes to grow a plant that produces that food. (You can use the picture that accompanies this outline as a visual aid.) You could then have a conversation about blessings your family hopes to receive and how to “reap” those blessings.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.