“September 25–October 1. Galatians: ‘Walk in the Spirit,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2023 (2022)
“September 25–October 1. Galatians,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2023
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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 (see Galatians 1:6–9). 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 (see Galatians 2). Paul called these traditions the “yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). As you read Paul’s counsel to the Galatians, look for principles that can help you understand what true freedom is. You could also ponder what false traditions or other 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 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 Gospel Topics, “Abrahamic Covenant” (topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Why are the blessings promised to Abraham important to you?
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). Why do you think it was important for the Saints in Paul’s time to know that Abraham and other ancient prophets had the gospel of Jesus Christ? Why is it important to you to know this? (See Helaman 8:13–20; Moses 5:58–59; 6:50–66.)
See also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 45–56.
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?
If you are trying to walk in the Spirit but your efforts don’t seem to be bearing the promised fruit, read Galatians 6:7–10. What message do you feel the Lord has for you in these verses?
What does it mean to “live by faith”? How are we living by faith as a family?
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?
Consider discussing the difference between the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit.” To add some fun to your discussion, 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 6:1–2 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. (See the picture at the end of this outline.) You could talk about the 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.
Suggested song: “Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” Children’s Songbook, 177.