~Galatians 5:16-17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
~Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Yesterday’s devotional briefly covered the fruit of the Holy Spirit displayed as we walk this spiritual journey. As I read today’s verses, I saw the remedy for nurturing and growing my spiritual fruit. As we practice these verses, we are training ourselves to walk in the Spirit of God. These are His qualities and characteristics. As we mimic Him, we work toward producing good fruit, not spotted with the world’s rottenness.
I love today’s photograph. I took this at Sweet Creek Falls in Mapleton, Oregon. Notice how the water is capturing a small amount of the sunlight through the trees. I felt that it depicted the spiritual struggle between the flesh and the Spirit that Paul was trying to explain. Paul tells us that our flesh (our old sin nature) is constantly battling against the Holy Spirit. But notice how Paul continues to tell us that The Spirit also battles against our flesh. When we are doing wrong, the Spirit lets us know it. We are not “comfortable” in our shoes. We are constantly battling – good against evil. Paul says that these two natures are contrary to each other and that we don’t want to do the things that we shouldn’t do (in the flesh). Do we fail? Absolutely! But the key is not continue to stay in this sin. If we are not bothered by the sin and continue in it, we should check ourselves – we should question why. The one who is not born again doesn’t even care that he is sinning. But to the born again believer, this is not so.
Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to examine themselves to see if they are living the sanctified life of a born-again believer. He affirmed rather than questioned their salvation in 1 Corinthians as well ( 1 Cor. 1:2; 3:1; 6:11,19-20). In 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 and 6:19-20 Paul referred to their carnality and yet called them “babes in Christ” and those whose “body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.”
He encouraged them to prove their sanctification to themselves. Nowhere do the Scriptures call believers to look to their works for assurance of salvation. Our salvation is through the Lord’s righteousness and His alone (Jer. 23:6b). We are called to look to Christ and find our assurance in Him. However, repeatedly in the Scriptures believers are called to look to their works to find out how they are doing in their walk with Christ. Yes, as believers we are to examine ourselves regularly. The purpose is to ensure that we are doing our best in our service for Christ. Christ provides salvation, the Holy Spirit provides sanctification – a separation between the worldly lusts and the fruit of the faith.
~2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
So, Christian, let’s do a Godly inventory of our spiritual fruit. Are we walking in the Spirit or aren’t we? Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us, to grow us, to sanctify us to the work of the Master?
Granted we are a work in progress and the Lord isn’t finished with us. However, we should be steadily moving forward in our walk. Paul repeated this thought process when he was writing to Timothy:
~2Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
We should not be standing still for when we stand still we give the devil an opportunity to tempt us. The longer we stay still, the more likely we will be walking after the flesh and, therefore, be walking backwards!