Monday, April 28, 2008

Galatians: not your to-do list

Carrie had the fruit of the Spirit emblazoned across her bathroom mirror. Surely, if she saw the list every morning right after her shower, she could remember to behave herself all day. She’d scrubbed fog off of “self control” several times and tried to be sure she carried “love” to the breakfast table.

The kids weren’t always much help, though, as they dragged themselves through extended bowls of cereal while she prodded them to dress for the bus.

Usually, by 8 am, Carrie’s fruit felt as fogged as the list on the mirror and she trudged through her day, defeated by her own lack of self control.

You may have the fruit of the Spirit list on your walls, too. Maybe you’ve felt defeated, too.

But take a look at Gal 5:22 again. That is not our to-do list to be checked off each day as we grit our teeth and show patience to the sluggish driver at the stop sign. This is the fruit of the Spirit.

In other words, when we exhibit any of these traits, it’s because we’ve allowed the Spirit of God to shine through. These are his traits, not ours. This is his nature, not ours.

We can’t become gentle and good by determination but by surrender. The fruit list is more of a thermometer of our heart. If we see love, joy, peace, patience, etc. in our life, it’s because we’re allowing God to reveal his nature through us.

If we see impurity, jealousy, envy, selfish ambition and the like, we’re seeing our old nature. That’s a clue that we’re not submitting to God but are choosing to follow our own desires.

Read Gal 5:13-26. For what are we called?

What’s the danger to us? (v 13)

How does Paul advise us to live? (v 16)

How can you apply v 25 to your daily life?

Journal about this passage and God’s call to you. If you are not seeing the Spirit’s fruit in your life, what’s holding you back? Can you make changes?

No comments: