The Apostle Paul encouraged the Galatian Saints to restore their faith in Jesus Christ and to trust that salvation is attainable only through Him rather than through obedience to the law of Moses.
Draw an image of a tug-of-war on the board.
What is a tug-of-war? How do you win one?
In what ways are our lives similar to a tug-of-war?
If students did not mention it, point out that one aspect of our lives that is similar to a tug-of-war is our struggle against temptation. Invite students to look for truths as they study Galatians 5 that can help them know how to win the struggle against temptation.
Remind students that Jewish Christians had misled the Saints in Galatia by teaching them that they needed to live the law of Moses and be circumcised in order to be saved. The Apostle Paul described these false teachings about the law of Moses as “the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
Invite a student to read Galatians 5:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for who Paul said brings freedom from this yoke of bondage.
Who brings freedom from this yoke of bondage?
Summarize Galatians 5:2–15 by explaining that Paul chastened the Galatian Saints for being so easily swayed away from the liberty of the gospel of Jesus Christ and returning instead to the bondage of the law of Moses. He then clarified that even though followers of Christ had been freed from the bondage of the law of Moses, that did not mean they had the freedom to indulge freely in sin.
Invite a student to read Galatians 5:16–17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for two competing forces Paul described.
What are the two competing forces Paul described?
Create a chart on the board by drawing a vertical line down the center of the image of the tug-of-war. Write Walk in the Spirit above one side of the tug-of-war, and write Fulfill the lust of the flesh above the other side.
What does “the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16) refer to? (Temptations to sin.)
How are these considered competing forces?
What principle can we learn from Galatians 5:16 about how we can overcome the temptations of the flesh? (Students may use different words but should identify a principle similar to the following: As we walk in the Spirit, we will overcome the temptations of the flesh. Write this principle on the board.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for the question Elder Ballard asked us to consider.
“All the assaults that the enemy of our souls will make to capture us will be through the flesh. … The approach he makes to us will be through the lusts, the appetites, the ambitions of the flesh. All the help that comes to us from the Lord to aid us in this struggle will come to us through the spirit that dwells within this mortal body. So these two mighty forces are operating upon us through these two channels.
“How is the battle going with you? … That is a very important question. The greatest conflict that any man or woman will ever have (I care not how numerous their enemies may be) will be the battle that is had with self” (“Struggle for the Soul,” New Era, Mar. 1984, 35).
Ask students to ponder which side they are on in this tug-of-war and which force is winning in their lives.
Divide the class into groups of two or three. Assign half of the groups to read Galatians 5:19–21 aloud together, looking for the results of “[fulfilling] the lust of the flesh.” Invite the other half to read Galatians 5:22–23 aloud together, looking for the results of walking in the Spirit. When they finish reading, invite one member from each group to list in the appropriate column on the board one of the answers they found. Invite them to continue listing their answers until the chart reflects what Paul listed. You may want to bring a dictionary to class and invite a student to look up any words that are difficult to understand.
According to Galatians 5:22–23, what fruits, or results, indicate that someone is walking in the Spirit? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following truth: The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. You may want to suggest that students mark this truth in their scriptures.)
Refer to the side of the chart where the fruits of the Spirit are listed.
Why are these blessings worth having?
Below the chart draw a large arrow pointing toward the side where the lusts of the flesh are listed. Ask students to imagine that in this figurative tug-of-war we allow ourselves to move toward the lusts of the flesh.
What happens to the fruits of the Spirit when we give in to the lusts of the flesh? (We begin losing the fruits of the Spirit.)
Erase the arrow and draw another arrow pointing toward the fruits of the Spirit. Ask students to imagine that we now allow ourselves to move toward this side.
What happens to the works of the flesh when we walk in the Spirit? (They cease to be a part of our lives.)
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals about a time when they felt or experienced one of these fruits of the Spirit. Ask them to include what they were doing to walk in the Spirit at that time. When they finish, invite a few students to share what they wrote.
Invite a student to read Galatians 5:24–25 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what disciples of Jesus Christ try to do with the lusts of the flesh.
What do disciples of Jesus Christ try to do with the lusts of the flesh? (Crucify them, or eliminate them from their lives.)
Invite students to consider what they will do to walk more fully in the Spirit. Encourage them to follow the promptings they receive so they can enjoy the fruits of the Spirit.
Invite students to think about the changing values, laws, and opinions in the world. How can we know what is right and wrong in a world where ideas constantly change? The Apostle Paul counseled the Saints and helped them understand what the Lord has provided to ensure that we are not carried away with the false philosophies of the world. Also explain that as they continue to study Paul’s writings during the next week, they will find answers to the following questions: How should children treat their parents? What does Paul say will “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16)?