Going Wrong or Growing Right

Going Wrong or Growing Right June 9, 2014

 Afriend raised a good question about seeing the fruit of the Spirit increasingin our lives, “Yes, but how do you do it?” 

Itfeels as if our own efforts would produce proud legalism but that just waitingon God would produce frustration and no progress.  The Apostles are bothutterly reliant on God’s help and unabashedly insistent on a joyful, deliberatepursuit of godliness.  As in so many areas, we are tempted to separateGod’s work, our obedience, and our happiness in ways that God doesn’t.

Thelist of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21 can sound strange and evenarchaic to our ears.  The Law and the Sermon on the Mount give us avocabulary to be honest about our own actions.  The Holy Spirit and lovingfriends hold up the mirror of God’s Word to call us to sanity and sight. Left to ourselves we can be blind and dishonest.

 

-Renaming:  “I’m just honest/a free spirit/passionate.”

-Balancing:  “Maybe I’m not overly patient, but I don’t do drugs.”

-Minimizing:  “My total thoughtlessness doesn’t hurt anyone.”

-Ignoring :  “What I don’t see can’t hurt me.”

-Justifying:  “I can’t control myself when…”

 

Wehave to begin by simply admitting the reality of our sin, hating that sin, andlooking to God for hope.  That shouldn’t be surprising because that’s howthe Christian life begins.

Thefruit of the Spirit in 22-23 can seem either unimportant or universal, but thatshows a lack of reflection and heart.  We can’t dismiss these qualities. Can you name a friend you value for her envy?  But how about apatient friend?  Does that quality seem small when you experience it in aperson?  We’re not only trying to make it through a day.  We need tobe inspired by seeing the character of Christ lived out and by pursuing it andseeing it in our lives.  

Sowhy not take a few minutes and meditate on Galatians 5 and 6?  Beencouraged by how God’s grace has changed you.  Be determined to grow intothe image of Christ through obedience.  Ask a wise friend to help you withone blind spot and encourage you with a specific work of the Spirit that theysee.