“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” Galatians 5:16, NLT
Throughout this letter, Paul has been arguing that trying to obey the Jewish Law only leads to slavery (Galatians 4:8-31). But Christ has set us free (5:1), and the way to maintain that freedom is to “let the Holy Spirit guide [our] lives” (5:16), to be “directed by the Spirit” (5:18), and to “follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives” (5:25).
After all, it was the Holy Spirit, not religious rules, that brought us to Christ, and it is he who helps us see God as our “Abba”—our daddy (4:6). That is why, no matter what experiences of the Spirit we may have had, we all need to “be filled with the Holy Spirit”—literally, to “go on being filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). We need to “let the Holy Spirit guide [our] lives” (Galatians 5:16)—that is, to follow his leadings and be filled with his power.
As we do, his fruit grows in us—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (5:22-23). These are not his fruits (plural), but his fruit (singular); it is as if nine different fruits were all found on one tree. All of them (not just those we like or find easy) should be growing in us. No matter how gifted someone is, lack of this fruit is a serious indicator that they are not living by the Spirit.