"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want." Gal. 5:16-14
"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." Gal. 5:22-25
Have you ever felt that though you are a Christian, you really aren't experiencing a life that different from those who aren't? Besides maybe going to church and reading your Bible on occasion, is your life really set apart from the world? Does your life make people WANT to know more about God? Can people see the evidence of the Holy Spirit working in you? Is the Holy Spirit working in you?
Over the course of my journey with Christ, I have asked myself many of these same questions. And more times than I would like to admit, the answer is a humbling, distressing "NO". This does not mean that my heart does not desire these things. But Paul clearly states in the scripture above that we our sinful nature desires what is completely opposite from the Spirit. And if we aren't careful, the sinful nature will win out.
I believe one of the greatest tools of the devil is not to destroy all Christians. It is not to make our lives miserable. It is not even to get us to walk away from the faith. I believe one of his greatest tools is to make us so comfortable with our lives that we don't feel the need to be led by the Holy Spirit. That way we just operate as "Christians" without the true power the Christ offers to His followers. We are simply people living with the sinful nature and covering it up with a label.
I am not here to debate whether one can be saved and still operate in the sinful nature or not. Only you and God know where your soul stands in the scope of eternity. But obviously, just becasuse you become a Christian does not automatically mean that you are perfect. We still struggle. Paul said himself "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." Rom. 7:15 &18
God has been challenging me lately to re-examine my life. To be willing to come to grips with the reality of my humanity. I am flawed. I am subject to the same curse of sin as the rest of the human race. I am born into it. And it will reign in me every day that I do not make the concious choice to crucify it. I cannot do what I want to do on my own. I MUST live by the Spirit.
So here is my challenge. One flawed human. Eight weeks. Eight characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. Life-altering change.
Over the next eight weeks I will focus on one of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 each week. I will make it my goal to crucify my flesh daily and be led completely by the Holy Spirit. I will endeavour to give the Spirit complete reign over my life and let Him bring this fruit forth in me. I want to see supernatural results. Not love like the world loves. Love that comes only from the Spirit. Joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. Peace that passes all understanding.
I invite you to join me as I take this journey with the Holy Spirit. Let's find out together- is our life meant to be drastically different when led by the Spirit? And if so, what am I missing out on? I believe we will be encouraged and inspired to let the Spirit take complete control of our lives so that this world will see a difference in us. A BIG difference. Something that will draw them to God.
Each day I will blog about my experience, and would love to hear your feedback! I know this won't be easy- "crucify" does not sound like a pleasant thing! But I am ready to move from the mediocre to the extraoridnary in God. Are you? Let's do it!