“...that I may gain Christ and be found in him...”—Philippians 3:8-9, NIV1984

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What Kind of Fruit Do You Produce?

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.—Galatians 5:16-25, ESV
There is a principle at work here that is all over the Bible. You can’t serve two masters (see Matt. 6:24, Eph. 4:17-32). You either decidedly give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, in each moment of each day, or your flesh takes over. That is the default. It may not always be black and white, and it may be a struggle, but you are either headed more toward a spirit-controlled life, or more toward a life controlled by your natural, sinful nature. But if you set out each day with the attitude, “How can I crucify my natural, selfish, evil desires, and instead, do good, love, and serve others?” your life will more consistently look like verses 22 and 23. You will be influential. Your love and service toward others will be contagious. You will change the whole atmosphere of your home, your work, your school, and your church. If you live a life controlled by the Holy Spirit, God will use you to bring the hope of a new life in Jesus Christ to others. You will affect the world!

Please note that I am not implying anything about salvation here other than to say that for one to even possibly live a life consistently characterized by verses 22 and 23, one must be saved (born again, converted) and, therefore, have the Holy Spirit living in oneself.

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