God has given each of us the freedom to act, speak and think the way we want, but we must be alert because the choices we make could destroy the joy of that freedom. We can choose to use our freedom to serve others in love and help freedom grow or we can choose to live selfishly leading to the death of freedom through conflict, hatred, and fear.
Galatians 5:13-24 lays it all out for us. This war within in us and the direction that we’ll be taking depending on the seeds we sow. This war within us is between the desires of Self and the Holy Spirit’s guiding suggestions. One leads to true freedom the other is only perceived freedom. If we choose self we will be lead by compulsions of selfishness, self-interest and at odds with the free spirit of God. We can not live both for self and by the Spirit because they are completely against one another – one must die.
Life of Flesh
“You only live once,” they say. “Have fun, do what you want”, “it will all work out” they say. When is the last time you ignored the “do the right thing’ feeling in your gut and done what you want? The instant gratification is great, isn’t it? But did you also feel that gross guilt and shame after the feelings of pleasure was gone? This feeling of highs and lows is the life we get when we pick to live of the flesh. It leads us into loneliness, loveless sex, full of mental and emotional garbage, joyless, making empty grabs of happiness, magic-show religions, hatred, brutal temper, jealousy, continuously empty, overly competitive….Living this way is erratic and lacks self-control, purpose, and value. Living for our fleshly desires sounds much more like imprisonment within our own bodies and minds than any kind of freedom.
Hebrews 12:11 when we are tempted: “No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields a peaceful harvest of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Life of the Spirit
Living life for the fruit of the spirit is where true freedom is found. He brings gifts into our lives: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
The fruits of the Spirit leads to a hopeful life and looks much more like freedom then what happens when we choose self. What a blessing that our God wants these things for us – wants us to experience joy, peace, goodness…..But first, we have to make the choice to turn our backs on our flesh desires and find our strength in God. We don’t have the power to live of the Spirit on our own, or sinful nature is too powerful, but God can overcome or fleshly desires and help us live the free life he wants for us.
How to start living of the Spirit?
- Be aware of the flesh desires that you are continuously pulled by
- Be knowledgeable about the Power of the fruits of the Spirit (study them with me)
- Learn how to defeat desires of self with the fruit of the Spirit
- Turn to God’s Word for strength in weakness, courage, hope, and wisdom
God wants us to be free and being free requires us to love others more than ourselves, to serve others through kindness, gentleness, joy, peace…. We need to choose freedom through the giving of ourselves.
In the next few blogs, we will unpack the fruits of the spirit and the actions we can practice to ensure we are intentionally living our life with the fruits of the Spirit.