Captain Obvious



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Galatians 5:19–21

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.


Whether you’ve heard it said or seen a reference to the phrase “captain obvious,” the meaning is, well, obvious. We use the phrase to refer to certain situations which do not require elaboration. Yesterday, we spent time considering how we can surrender our promises. Today, Paul addresses an opportunity to surrender some obviously bad habits.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul affirms that because of grace through Jesus, believers have been given a life of freedom. That’s the good news of Jesus. Those who have confessed faith in Christ are not bound to the penalty of sin because Jesus has paid the price. However, Paul warns them that their freedom does not mean they are free to behave in any way they choose. They must deny acts of the flesh because the way believers live is a reflection of Christ. Just as what comes out of the mouth reflects our hearts, our actions reflect our lives as followers of Jesus.

As we skim Paul’s list, we may be tempted to brush it aside and claim that those are sins we would obviously not commit. Surely, we can all agree not to participate in debauchery, idolatry, and witchcraft. However, if we look at Paul’s list in the New Living Translation, which uses more common language, we see that we are not free to lose our temper, to be selfish, or to be jealous. Being a Southerner, I’d say that Paul is just meddlin’!

Believers who are practicing the way of Christ must surrender any habits that do not reflect their lives of freedom. We must make choices. Author Stephen R. Covey, the well-known author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People puts it this way, “[we] are not the product of [our] circumstances. [We] are the product of [our] decisions.”1 If we are going to be altar’d this Lenten season, we need to be intentional in surrendering our habits. We need to be willing to place in front of God, those acts of the flesh which do not reflect the nature of Christ. Jesus did not give Himself up for us so we can abuse our freedom and continue to act as though we have not been released from sin.


Lord, may the way we live outwardly reflect the love and commitment we have made to You. We surrender to You our full selves so that what people see is a witness to Your character. Amen.


Why do you think Paul felt it necessary to list examples of acts of the flesh to the Galatians and why might that lesson be for us? What is an obvious example in your own life of an action which does not reflect Christ? Are you willing to surrender it today?

For the Awakening,
Susan Kent


  1. Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014).


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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. This post reveals the fact that our faith journey towards the consummated kingdom of God is indeed through a “small gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.” (Matthew 7:14) For if we fail to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, we will surely fall off into one of two ditches that line that road. We’ll either fall into the ditch of antinomianism (against the law) or legalism (self-righteousness). Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia addresses both of these heresies. The solution: every step along the Way requires a conscious choice to believe, submit, abide, and obey through the power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ. In other words; overcome the world, the powers of darkness and our own sin nature until the race is run.

  2. The Acts of the Flesh

    To live how you want
    Is to burry your head
    In rebellion’s sand
    And to ignore the fact
    That the kingdom of God
    Is closely at hand.
    It matters how you act!

  3. Romans 8:38-39
    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Loving Jesus and the freedom of living an abundant life should keep us from wanting to behave in the fruit of the flesh.
    If not, I would ask myself, do I love Jesus? And if so, how does He want me to love Him?

    John 14:15
    “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

    Keeping His commandants means we become a life that lives in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) by desire and not the flesh (Galatians 5:19–21) by selfish choice.

    Staying 💪’ n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

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