Keep in Step with the Spirit

In our second church study of the Holy Spirit, we took up a new topic — the fruit of the Spirit.  Good fruit in our lives does not come through self development — it is a gift from God.  Our redemption has a purpose — to transform us into fruit-bearers. This is called sanctification — the process of becoming Christlike.

In Galatians we find a detailed description of what this means:

“So live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with one another, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

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.  …..

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control. ”  Galatians 16:5-22

You may take note that love is central to the fruit.  The sinful acts listed destroy love, while the fruit of the Spirit increases love.  Why would this be?  Because God is love, and His desire for us as His creation is that we love Him and love one another.  We were made to live, not for ourselves, but for the glory of God.  So,

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  Galatians 5:24

In other words, LOVE.

For more on the Fruit of the Spirit see these posts:

Let the Fruit of the Spirit Flow

Martin Luther on the Fruit of the Spirit

Increasing the Fruit

 

 

 

Make it Personal

Last week when my husband I were driving to the church picnic, I saw this sign in the neighborhood we were passing through:

Drive as if your children lived here.

When I worked as a buyer for the hospital, our boss posted a sign in the warehouse that read:

Fill every order as if your mother was the patient.

The point, I think, is that we’re more attentive and more engaged when we have some personal interest or stake in the outcome of the task at hand.  If the health of our mother, or the welfare of our children is concerned, we’ll make sure we’re carefully doing that task to the best of our ability.

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church, has some similar advice. He was speaking to them about their freedom in Christ.  They did not need to follow all the old rules and rituals.  What they ate or drank was not sinful or forbidden.  However, as God’s children, they were to be considerate of their brothers and sisters in Christ.  Some of them had grown up with these taboos (such as eating food that had been sacrificed to idols) and it pained their consciences to see others doing this.  He tells them:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

What if we made an effort to do every chore and every daily activity for the glory of God?  Wouldn’t we be much more conscious of how our actions affected others?  And aren’t those others beloved of God, just as we are?  Wouldn’t we be kinder, more patient and more helpful?  Wouldn’t we work harder to do the right thing?

Try it for a day and see what happens.  Live as if everything you do is to serving God’s purpose, because it is.  If you love God, it’s all personal.