Today’s Scrip-Bit   23 May 2023 Galatians 5:25.

Galatians 5:25.         If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

And then it was Tuesday; a mostly sunny day as my computer tells me, with temps in the high teens. Now that’s not too bad for the penultimate week in May, but obviously we’d prefer some warmer times so we can get the real summer programme going. (smile) That hasn’t stopped the walkers, the runners, cyclists or the convertible tops from coming out and the lawn mowers from barking every day. But that’s how it is in these northern climes after a long, cold winter, we’re just dying to get outside in shorts and t-shirts and enjoy the bright, warm, summer weather, not worrying about snow and cold and dressing up warmly. 

Now some people might not appreciate the changing seasons, but it does have its own attractiveness. And I hear some murmurs: ‘What blooming attractiveness has winter got eh?’ (smile) Well for some winter enthusiasts that’s the best time of the year; they can go skiing, skating, and all the other fun things they do in the winter. And just for your information, I’m not one of those. (smile) 

Anyway, today I believe we should continue looking at the lusts of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit that we began looking at yesterday. And, we had decided that carnality, or our inherent human nature did not fit in with the law of God’s Spirit, which was very evident from all the stuff that Bruh Paul listed under carnality. (Gal. 5:19-21) Now, I guess it’s only fair that we should discover what’s the opposite of all those evil and heart-wrenching things. (smile) 

Bruh Paul calls them the fruit of the Spirit. ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness (kindness), goodness (generosity), faith (faithfulness, dependability), Meekness (courtesy and consideration of others), temperance (self-control): against such there is no law.’ (Gal. 5:22-23) And there you have it friends, the fruit of the Spirit; the things that Christians ought to allow to flourish in their lives, not the evil and insane things that our flesh causes us to lust after. 

Now here are some interesting and important words from the scholars on the fruit of the Spirit. ‘In contrast to the works (plural) of the flesh, which any individual is capable of performing, the fruit (singular) of the Holy Spirit can be produced only by God. Christian character thus results from “Christ living in me” (2.20). For this fruit to develop, all nine aspects of the fruit of the Spirit must mature. 

Illustration: The character of Christ is the fullest manifestation of this fruit in the New Testament. Though Jesus did not recognize the traditions of men, His enemies were unable to prove any charge against Him. Application: So today, Christians should allow the Holy Spirit to develop this character within them, so they might be blameless before others and not hinder the testimony of Christ.  (First Ref. Ex. 35:31; 36:2; Primary Ref. Gal. 5:22-23; cf. Phil. 1:6).’ 

Yes friends, the best way for us to manifest the character of Jesus is by developing the fruit of the Spirit…all nine of them. And remember it’s singular ‘fruit’ not plural ‘fruits.’  That’s when our light will truly shine and our salt will be saltier than ever! And since I know that very few of us will read those scriptures referenced above, (smile) the first two from Exodus are about the Lord filling certain workmen with the Spirit of wisdom to do His work. You already know the third reference, to the fruit of the Spirit.  

And the last are these words of comfort and assurance from Bruh Paul to the Philippians: ‘Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform (complete) it until the day of Jesus.’ (Phil. 1:6) That means if the Lord begins working on the flourishing of the fruit of the Spirit in you, He will not stop it, until He takes you home, or Christ returns. 

Now here are some more interesting words from Bruh Paul to the Galatians after telling them about the fruit of the Spirit. He says: ‘And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections (its passions) and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory (conceited), provoking one another, envying one another.’ (Gal.5:24-26) Yes, my faithful brethren, those acts of the flesh simply destroy or not allow the fruit of the Spirit to flourish in us. 

And James, Jesus’ brother gives us a very good example of how these things kill our witness and draws us away from God, rather than towards Him. He thus asks: ‘From whence come wars (conflicts) and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts (desires for pleasure) that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill (murder), and desire to have (covet), and cannot obtain: ye fight and war (battle), yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (pleasures). 

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of (with) the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be (wants to be) a friend of the world is (makes himself) the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy (yearns jealously)? But he giveth more grace (greater grace than the world’s attractions). Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh (near) to God, and he will draw nigh (near) to you. Cleanse your hearts ye sinners; and purify your hearts ye doubleminded.’ (James 4:1-8) 

Now that’s excellent advice my people. We have to draw near to God, especially in these very turbulent and confusing times, for He is the true source of our power. And neither can we refute James’ argument at the beginning when He says that our basic human lusts cause many of our problems. We either don’t ask for what we want, or we ask for the wrong things; things to use to satisfy those lustful pleasures. We all know that our God detests the proud spirit of man, so He wants us to come to Him humbly and ask for the right things; things that will uplift us, make the fruit of the Spirit flourish in us, and thus grow our testimony for Christ. 

And for those of us who are sincerely trying to do just that, let’s go home declaring (yesss!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting all and sundry know to whom we belong, lock, stock and barrel. As one strong voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with my immediate neighbours, as well as with the whole wide world! Glory be!’ 

Now friends, it’s our bounden duty to go out and share the amazing LOVE and friendship of Christ with all those we meet, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do! Much LOVE!

…though Christians must live IN the world…we are not supposed to live LIKE the world… 

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