Following up on yesterday’s entry about living an authentic Spirit-filled life, and how others are naturally affected by our being consumed by the Spirit, today I’m talking about those famous verses in Galatians chapter six.
First, we have the works of the flesh:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Note that these are works. These are things we choose to do when we walk after the flesh. They are the things the flesh wants to do, but we don’t have to do them. We choose to do them because they feel good to us at the time, and by so choosing we condemn ourselves to hell.
Every person who goes to hell goes there by their own choice. They have chosen to do the works of the flesh. We can’t complain to God that He is “sending” people to hell. People choose that path all by themselves. God, in His infinite mercy, provides a way to stay out of hell.
Notice also in Galatians five that we see some fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Fruit is a natural outgrowth of something, because of its nature. Apples are a natural outgrowth of apple trees. Apple trees produce apples, because that is simply their nature.
The fruit spoken of here is not our fruit. Remember, “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Our nature is to produce rotten fruit. But the nature of the Spirit, and thus the nature of the Spirit-filled-life, is to produce good fruit.
We don’t have to work at the fruit. He does all the work. If we provide Him with a vessel, He will fill it and the natural outflow of that filled life will be these fruit of the Spirit mentioned here.
I have heard some preachers preach that we should strive to emulate the fruit of the Spirit. They say we should try to have love and peace, then we should work hard to be patient, etc. I think that this is not completely accurate. If we have to work at it, if we have to do it ourselves, then it’s not the fruit of the Spirit but just another lousy human work. More filthy rags.
If we are indeed Spirit-filled, then these things will naturally flow from our life. They are His works, not ours.
If we are not seeing these fruit in our life, then our respone should not be to fake them (plastic fruit looks nice but it tastes terrible), but to surrender more to Him so that more of Him will shine through us.
Our Christian life boils down to this: we make the choices, while He does the work. We can choose Him, a choice which leads to surrender and self-denial, and then He will fill us with His Spirit and His fruit will be born in our life. Or, we can choose self, which leads to the self-gratifying works of the flesh.