You’ve heard the story of the young boy who didn’t speak for years. Finally one day, to his family’s amazement, he spoke a full sentence complaining about the food put before him. Astounded, his mother asked why he hadn’t spoken before. “Well,” he replied, “I didn’t have anything to say until now.”
That’s kind of how it’s been with me. I found that once I finished the 30 Day Wife Encouragement Challenge, I didn’t have anything to say. I didn’t want to write just my own thoughts; I want my posts to count for something.
Posts might still be few and far between, but my hope is that most of them (accounting for the occasional silly or just-for-fun post) will have meat to them.
I have been asked to write a devotion based on Galations 5:16-25, one of the passages speaking to the fruit of the Spirit. I would appreciate any feedback or comments on this. If this has touched you in any way, please let me know by leaving a comment.
In the modern-day version of The Princess and the Frog, the frog is transformed into a handsome young prince when the princess kisses him. This is an instantaneous and dramatic transformation that evidently cannot be undone: the frog is forever transformed into a prince without ever having the chance to return to life as a frog.
How wonderful it would be if our transformation through Christ were like that. If we could experience the Divine Kiss that transforms us from natural man to spiritual man without any chance of reverting to our natural selves, how much easier our lives would be!
Instead, Scripture tells us in v. 17 that “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,” and in another of Paul’s famous discourses, he says, “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing.” (Rom. 7:20)
So where is our hope? Is there any chance that we can live a life controlled by the Spirit, a life that is not given over to the acts of the sinful nature as listed in v. 19-21 (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)? Yes!
“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.” (v. 24,25)
What assurance do we have that Christ loves us and that we have the Holy Spirit? “God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:6) “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” (Eph. 1:13-14)
Now that there is no denying that the Holy Spirit lives within all those who have trusted Christ, there is no other way for Christians to live than through the Holy Spirit, doing what pleases God: “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (v. 16)
We know that we are living by the Spirit when we produce fruit that is in keeping with the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Or, as many commentators write: love expressing itself through joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. If we are living a life of love through the Holy Spirit, all of these attributes will be lived out in our love one for another.
God demonstrated his love for us by sending his son to die in our place and sealing us with the indwelling Holy Spirit. We show our love for God and others by doing that which pleases God: living by the Spirit and producing fruit unto righteousness.
Questions to ponder:
Have you experienced the love of Christ by receiving him as your Savior and allowing the Holy Spirit to work his transforming power in you?
How does your love for others measure up to love through the power of the Holy Spirit that is full of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control?
Yours for the celebration of life,