Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 54 - A Look Back

Galatians 5:16-20

After spending eleven weeks studying the Fruit of the Spirit closely, it seems strange to be looking so closely to the end. There are so many facets to what I studied that I feel like I’m back in school near the end of the year reviewing material from the beginning of the year. Because there is so much that I studied during these eleven weeks, I don’t feel like I could wrap it all up in one blog post, so I am going wrap it up over the next few days. Today, I specifically want to re-read Galatians 5:16-20 and look at some of the points that came out in the first few days of this study. Please turn to Galatians 5:16-20 and read it if you haven’t already.

As I began this study I really felt God leading me to look at what it means to be living in the Spirit verses being stuck in a legalistic trap. I had talked about how living in the Spirit could possibly mean a change of focus such as looking and living in a way that God wants us to live rather than looking at what we shouldn’t do. The Law is good because it does give us boundaries of what God says is sin; however, when we are following the Spirit’s lead we also learned that the Spirit will not lead us into sin. Please turn to Romans 7:4-6; I looked at this verse at the beginning of this study, and it means so much more to me now! According to verse 4, we died to the law…"in order that we might bear fruit to God.” Look at verse 6! “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” If I understand this correctly, we cannot effectively bear the fruit of the Spirit as long as we are bound by legalism. It is amazing how different my perspective is and how much deeper I understand this thought after studying each fruit deeper. As I looked at each fruit, I sorted through the idea that the motivation for bearing the fruit was just as important as the fruit we bear. If our motivation is legalistic and we are “acting out” each fruit, are we truly bearing each fruit in our hearts?

I also looked at the inner battle that we have raging inside us. The sinful nature verses the Spirit nature. The desires that each hold are in conflict with each other. Paul strongly urges us to live lives that are led by the Spirit. In Romans 8:5, we see what Paul says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” It is literally a mindset! We need to set our minds on what the Spirit desires and live accordingly. How do we do that? By reading the Bible and seeing what it says about the life we are to lead. This whole eleven week study has been doing just that. We have been looking at the fruit that the Spirit nature wants to bear for God. Does all this seem to have a deeper meaning for you after looking at what the Spirit nature desires?

What is your motivation to bear fruit? Are you living according to what the Spirit desires?

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