This Day in History: 0000-10-14

October 14 – Galatians 5:19-26

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Yesterday we talked about living in the freedom we’ve been given as those purchased by God. We looked at Galatians 5:13-18, and discovered that living in freedom requires letting go of our attempts to do what is right, or follow the law in our own power and instead surrendering to the power of the Holy Spirit within us and simply following Him.  Today, let’s finish the chapter and see what it will look like if we’re following the Spirit.

The Bible tells us that a person who is controlled by the Spirit will bear some very distinct markers.  He will produce fruit that is impossible to miss.  So let’s look at those fruits, and consider whether or not our lives overflow with His abundance. Then, let’s look at what we can do to change if the answer is no.

We all know the list, but let’s pretend we don’t.  Let’s try to look with fresh eyes and humbly consider whether our lives reflect a bountiful harvest.

Love – When people interact with us (especially brothers and sisters in Christ) are we patient and kind? Are we slow to become jealous or boastful or proud?  Are rudeness and irritability words that would never be used to describe our interactions? Are we quick to allow others to have their way when we could easily demand our own?  Are we quick to forgive and throw out the record books? Does it break our hearts to hear of injustices, and do we genuinely rejoice when we hear stories of the Truth winning a victory? Do we endure through anything, refusing to give up on others? Does our faith stand, no matter the trials we face? Are we hopeful in all circumstances?  Do people know that when it comes to our faithfulness to them they can rest assured that it will never fail?  This is love! (1Cor.13:4-7)

Joy – Does your soul delight in the Lord? (Isaiah 61:10) Would people say of you that no matter what trial may come, you rejoice in the Lord always? (Phil.4:4) When anxiety is great within you, does God’s consolation bring you joy? (Ps.94:19) Joy is a contented calm and happiness that comes from knowing that God is always working. (Jam.1:2-3)

Peace – Are your thoughts fixed on God? Do you trust Him completely? (Is.26: 3) Do you find rest in giving your burdens to God? (Matt.11::28-30) Is there no fear in the future because you know who is in control? (Phil.4:6-7) This is the peace of God that passes all understanding.

Patience – Do we have faith – hope for what we do not see? (Rom.8:24-30) Do we persevere in trials without wavering in our confidence in God? (Rom.5:2-4) This is patience – faith in God’s timing that is willing to wait.

Kindness – Do you go above and beyond what is demanded for others? (Gen.24:14) Are you loyal? (Ruth2:20-21) Kindness is giving others blessings you aren’t required to give and which they don’t deserve. (Ruth3:10)

Goodness – Do you find yourself often overcoming evil? (Rom.21:22) Is your life marked by peace? (Ps.34:14) Are you quick to serve and give to others from the blessings God has given you? (2Cor.9:8) This is goodness.

Faithfulness – Do you keep your word? Do you refuse to break your covenants? (Deut.7:9) Are you obedient to God? (1Kings2: 3-4) Can you be counted on without question? Do you speak truth? (Num.23:19) Faithfulness is all of these things.

Gentleness – Do you have the humility to treat others with patient tolerance? (Eph.4:2) Are you meek? (2 Cor.10:1) Do you comfort others and offer forgiveness easily?(Isa.40:1-2) Gentleness is quick to show grace and mercy and compassion. (Isa.30:18-19)

Self-control – Is your life lived with intention? Do you train for the race you’re running? (1 Cor.9:25) Are you quick to call out to God to save you from temptations? (1 Cor.10:13) Self-control is marked by tenacity and a life lived in power, self-discipline and victory over sin. (2 Tim.1:7)

Do we bear the fruits of the Spirit friends? If not, let’s look to those last few sentences.

Let’s consider first, do we truly belong to Christ?  If not, let’s ask Him to be Lord of our lives right this second! If we do belong to Him, have we nailed the passions and desires of our sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there? If not, let’s surrender right now to Him. Let’s humbly admit our weakness and ask Him to cover our wretched, sinful flesh in His precious blood.  Let’s ask Him to fill us with His Spirit and start right now to produce in us a bountiful harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

If we’ve done that already, though, and still find we’re lacking the victory over our sinful nature we long for, we need not despair. Are we following the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives?  If not, let’s start right now. Let’s let go of whatever it is we’re holding onto and follow Him alone.  Let’s surrender our fears and our anxieties and TRUST. HIM.

One last thing, and let’s really consider these warnings: Have we experienced just enough victory that we’ve become conceited? Or, are we looking at the victory of another and living in a state of jealousy, wishing for their walk with God rather than our own?  Finally, are we provoking our brothers and sisters in any way?  Any of these behaviors are not becoming of a heir to the Eternal Kingdom of the Lord of Lords!  They will spread like disease in the orchard of our lives and stunt the production of fruit.

Let’s surrender these blights right now.  Let’s live in victory starting today and follow the Spirit alone.  Let’s produce an abundance of the fruit of the Spirit as only His people can!