Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Works of the flesh and fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:19-23:
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

I have {very} often heard the fruits of the Spirit quoted and used in lessons, but not so much the first part of the passage. That is understandably so; the first section is a litany of various sins {it is by no means a complete list} while the last part is more encouraging and tells about what should be evident in our lives. However, the first part is still important. Read this verse:

James 4:17:
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

James 4:17 says that not only is doing wrong things sin, but not doing the right things that we know to do is still sin. We need to avoid the doing the things listed in the first part of the passage, but that is not enough. We need to actively work to show the fruits of the Spirit in out lives. We can only do that through God's help. It is the fruit of the Spirit, after all, and not the fruit of ourselves in our flesh. We can see what the fruit {or work} of the flesh is! What I like about this list is that it has not only sins like murder, sorcery, and hatred, but also things that we often consider 'little', like contentions, envy, and dissensions. The fruit of the Spirit needs to overshadow all of those sins, including the 'little' ones. Sin is sin. There is not question about that. However, sometimes it is easy to make black and white lines gray. We show a little bit of good and a little bit of bad and call it good. That is not the way it should be. Acting that way is being lukewarm.

Revelation 3:16-17:
So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.

That is how God feels about those who are lukewarm. Personally, I do not want to be that way.

This is something that I need to work on in my own life. Sometimes I think that just because I am "better" than some people and don't do the "bad things" that they do, that I am pretty good {and who is to say that I am better than anyone?}. God does not have "levels" of sin. Sin is sin. That can be a scary thought. That 'little' piece of gossip, 'tiny' bit of envy, etc. is just as bad as murder or outright hatred.

Wow.

When I really stop and think about it, I look a whole lot worse in my own eyes than I do when I just think that I am 'better'. 

What about you?

Is this an area that you need to work on, like me? 

What are some passages of Scripture that really help you?

p.s. sorry if this is somewhat disjointed. this is just how my mind works; it sometimes jumps subjects with very little transition.






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