Galatians 5 Lesson

Fruit Of The Spirit And Works Of The Flesh

There is a constant battle going on between the Spirit and the flesh.

In Galatians 5:16-18, Paul writes:

  • “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” 

This begs the question, “What does it mean to be led by the Spirit?”

To answer that question, we need to better understand the opposing forces of the Spirit and the flesh.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (Galatians 5:22-23)

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

WORKS OF THE FLESH (Galatians 5:19-21)

  • Immorality
  • Impurity
  • Sensuality
  • Idolatry
  • Sorcery
  • Enmities
  • Strife
  • Jealousy
  • Outbursts
  • Anger
  • Disputes
  • Dissensions
  • Factions
  • Envying
  • Drunkenness
  • Carousing

Since God, Jesus and the Spirit are all One, following the Spirit means following God and Jesus. It means humbling ourselves, and living a life of service to God. Being led by the Spirit means we do what God wants, not what we want.

Conversely, living according to the flesh means disregarding God’s commandments, and doing whatever we want to do.

They are opposite directions. One leading to heaven, the other to hell.

It is important to note that Paul uses the phrase “Led by the Spirit” in Galatians 5:18. This scripture brings about an important question.

“Who or what are we going to be led by?”

Joshua pondered that same question in the Old Testament. Joshua was Moses’ successor as Israel’s leader. He was a leader known for his obedience, faithfulness, and dedication to God and His Word. In leading his people, Joshua challenged them with the following statement:

  • “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15.

That is the same decision that we must make today.

If we follow the works of the flesh, we will not know God and He will not know us. This path leads to eternal damnation. Paul writes in Galatians 5:21:

  • “Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

If we choose to follow God, we must walk in the Spirit. We must put God first and live a life that is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Paul writes:

  • “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” – Galatians 5:24.

God gives us free will to decide who and what we will follow. If we choose a life led by the Spirit, we 

will follow the teachings of Jesus and put away fleshly sins.

1 Corinthians 13:11 says:

  • “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”


The choice is ours to make. We must decide for ourselves who we are going to follow. Those of us that make the decision to follow Jesus and turn away from the fleshly sins of our past, will spend eternity in heaven.

  • “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” – Romans 10:9.


Dan W

There is a VAST difference between the flesh and the Spirit and our choice is not made by accident.

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Dan W

There is a VAST difference between the flesh and the Spirit and our choice is not made by accident.


One must be careful about associations. Ironically, there are those that seem to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc.) but commit the works of the flesh (fornication, etc.) . Such people are called deceivers, so it is important to test everything by considering both "flesh" AND "Spirit" when making fellowship choices.

Phillip King

This study is ver encuraging .The fruit if Spirit is important for us as Cristians in the Lords church. Thank you. God Bless


I wish to whole heart follow jesus and pray in the spirit any advice please I beleive jesus died on the cross and rise on the third day amen