Fruit of the Spirit Part III
Do you know what it means to be led by the Spirit?
We are called to walk in the Spirit. This is not a Charismatic or a Pentecostal endeavor, nor is it some mystic exercise or short-cut to our receiving a "blessing." This is the doorway to spiritual maturity, being spiritually minded and guided as a Christian and a leader. What we really need to know, what the Word is focused on, is becoming righteous and drawing closer to Christ so maturity and faithfulness will result. We are made for and called to walk close to God and in the Spirit, which is evident when we display the Fruit of the Spirit!
There is a radical difference between our flesh and His Spirit. Our fallen, sinful nature is indicative of the fall of our minds and will away from God, His call, and precepts. Our intention is to move away from Him; His intention is for us to draw nearer to Him. When we do, draw near, our body becomes a vessel of Christ's living space. A call is given, to escape the corruption of the world. Our sinful nature creates the sinful desires that lure us with passion to do what is deceitful and evil. The decay of our standing in Him and of virtue will cause the decay of us and our culture. The question is, whose lure are you biting into-Satan's or God's (2 Pet. 1: 1-4; 2:14; 3:3)?
The fact is that as committed followers of Christ, we belong entirely to Christ. He purchased, restored, and renewed us and He empowers us (1 Cor. 6:19-20; 1 Pet. 1:18-19)! Thus, we need to make the commitment and determination to trust and obey Him and follow His precepts! We are called to partake of His divine nature. He gives us the power of His Fruit of the Spirit to do so, even to overcome temptations and evil. If we do not sidestep corruption and evil, we will become consumed with all that takes us away from Christ and His call to develop and mature our faith! Goodness cannot work when we are distracted away from Him. If we are not living the godly life, but rather are defending our positions from our pride, how can we lead others to Him?
How we are un-transformed: The acts of the sinful nature 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. (Gal. 5:19-21) This indicates lives that are not rooted in Christ and the absence of practicing good thinking, which will create discord, stifle, and evil stemming from a lack of accountability or a basis upon which morality can be built.
There is a stern warning here for all of us! We have a responsibility to pursue our faith development that results in a good demonstration of modeling Christ (2 Cor. 5:20)! If we ignore our call to pursue our spiritual growth, abandoning the development of our virtue and character, we will face life without God's empowerment and benefits. Even when we have forsaken Him, He does not forsake us; nevertheless, because we did not take a hold of the benefits He gives, they will not be in our arsenal or developed enough to be of much use in dealing with life. Our shortsightedness and refusal to be prepared results from taking our eyes off Christ and placing them on our circumstances and stresses, thus making us empty and bankrupt to deal with those circumstances! Do not let this myopic thinking happen to you!
The Fruit of the Spirit are the result of a life transformed by Christ!
How we are transformed: But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Gal 5:22-26) God uses His Spirit and Word to transform us; it is what He does with what we have. He sends us His Spirit, we respond. True application comes out of a changed life and leads to a life transformed!
The Spirit's divine power is available and given to us. The knowledge of Christ increases our faith and power! This is also to counter Gnostic philosophy that states the soul and body are separate and we can do as we wish with our bodies as long as our hearts remain pure. Our hope is not in what we do; it is in what Christ has done for us! Thus, through the Fruit of the Spirit, everything we need is granted to us. We have no excuse not to grow in Him. All that is important and eternal has already been given to us. What is important is what grows our faith and our spiritual formation¾the Holy Spirit, God's Word, other believers who are mature, and most importantly, Christ's work for us!
How can I get this going more? Read the entre chapter of Galatians, chapter 5, slowly and carefully, and observe what is said. Paul begins with what we are not to do and be, and then what will be produced, both good and bad, by our response to God's work in us. When we are walking in the Spirit, we produce good Fruit. When we are not, we produce bad Fruit. Can you guess that from our initial research into this, most pastors and churches do not produce the good set? This passage should shock us; if we take it seriously, we should be rebooted back to Christ! This is what the Church should be doing-good Fruit led by pastors and lay leaders who are instilled and infused with good Fruit. What seems to take place is the opposite or what Galatians tells us are the Fruits of the flesh, and the Bible clearly tells us that by doing these, we will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God!
"Does this mean I am not saved or going to heaven if I do not have Fruit coming from me?" you may ask. I can't tell; but if you love the Lord, you should naturally have some Fruit flowing, and as you grow, produce more. "Does it mean if I get drunk I will not go to heaven? Or, if I struggle with pride, as it is the quintessential thing God hates the most?" (And you thought it was homosexuality; no, it is pride, look it up.) No! What it means is to have a mindset and a lifestyle that is in direct opposition in our will and behavior and in agreement with what God has said and called us to be. Our Fruit trees of faith wither and die because we ignore His Truth of the Word and Spirit and allow our flesh to take the place of the Fruit. If the person or leader is practicing sin and is unrepentant, then it would indicate he is in such rebellion that he cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, or has never been saved-churchgoer, or pastor! Hope is still there as long as breath is in them. At the same time, this is a battle we all have as fallen, sinful creatures, as sin is still in us. So, we will have setbacks and struggles; we will not be perfect, but we need to try. What will be the outcome? Will the flesh or the Spirit triumph? This is up to you and how you receive Christ and apply His character and teachings to your life and ministry!
© 2000, 2009 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools, http://www.discipleshiptools.org/