19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Today’s passage takes very little to decipher or find benefit from. Paul has been petitioning for us to walk by the Spirit rather than the flesh, and now he is pointing out the actual acts of the flesh so that we can evaluate our lives. Some of these seem utterly appalling and we’d NEVER be caught even being accused of them. However others (selfish ambition, dissensions, factions) seem to just be natural things we struggle with. In this list of crazy things we never want to be connected to we see all these little things that seem harmless (in comparison). It’s interesting how we compartmentalize our sin.
We categorize our struggle with selfishness as just something we struggle with NOT a wicked, destructive act of the flesh. Yet God chooses to set these “innocent” or “more common” struggles alongside orgies, witchcraft, and sexual immorality. My point is this: all of your sin is equally as destructive.
Iƒ you have the mindset that SOME of your sin is only harmful for you, or isn’t that bad, realize that it’s all the same! We should be working in the truth of what we have been reading. The truth that our flesh desires the opposite of God and constantly pushes us away from His plan. These sins are not “harmless” they are a giant red flag that you are not walking in the Spirit. Wether it is a momentary misalignment, or a character defining attribute if these items are present they are showing that you are yielding to the very part of you that opposes God. This is an indicator that some area of your life is defined as being in conflict with God and does not desire what the Spirit does. Your being sabotaged.
Use the list. Evaluate your life. Allow the Spirit to change you.
God show me the areas I am yielding to my flesh. Make it very clear to me as to where I need to be seeking the Spirit’s transformative character to wash over my life. Save me from sabotage.
I have found, often, that Christians seem to be unaware of this full list. Though many agree this list isn’t exhaustive they also agree that most sin can be traced back to one of these roots. I have found it useful to remind my friends what the Word says. I observe Christians sowing dissension in the vain of “patriotism” whether it be democrats, republicans, etc. A quick reminder about these verses could be highly beneficial for someone. 🙂