But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:16-25 ESV)
This is such a fascinating text. Paul compares and contrast the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. Rather than focusing on the these characteristic I would like for us to look at the wording here. What Paul does not say is, "The works of the spirit and the fruit of flesh…" rather he says the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. Why?
Works refers to that which you do; it requires energy and mental or physical exertion. It is a task, a duty, or a function. This is so interesting to me because Paul is exposing a truth here – sin, is some seriously hard work, and it will tax your spirit and your flesh.
Most people view sin as a fruit; something that is natural, grows easily, pleasant to eat, easy to digest, and is just sort of conveniently there, heck, at times even enjoyable, however there is an important detail that mustn't be ignored, this letter is written from Paul to the Galatian believers. Herein lies the revelation: For the believer, sin isn't natural, it's an imposter; a spirit-breaking, relationship-separating, spiritually taxing work that begins in the mind, hardens the heart, and manifests itself in the flesh... indeed work.
Paul explains in verse 16 that believers who walk by the Spirit will have an ability to resist the lusts of the flesh, for the Spirit of God within them will war against these soul-desires and furthermore the desires or lusts of the Holy Spirit will become the desires of the believer. Who does the Holy Spirit desire? JESUS CHRIST!
As we love, desire, and long for Jesus, and walk/live in the Spirit, this will result in the growth of the fruit of the Spirit. Keep in mind that the fruit of the spirit does not involve works, it's not something we can do. Fruit is something that grows slowly, invisibly, and mystically.
The common mistake for believers is that we often attempt to do the fruit of the Spirit instead of grow it. We overly desire other things rather than Jesus and it results in religious striving and performance.
Growing fruit takes seed which is from the Holy Spirit (hence the fruit of the Spirit), seasons of no growth and seasons of growth (i.e. Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer), and a cultivation or relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have the desire, the patience, and persistency to pursue Christ first you will surely grow good fruit.
Sat, September 11, 2010
by Darren Stott filed under