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.
I spoke about this on Sunday. Now I am getting a LITTLE ahead of myself, as this is built off the preceding chapters and verses but I will show my hand a bit and explain the necessity of this. Paul tells the reader that there are two realms we can be functioning in: the flesh, or the Spirit. However, so many of us function in the flesh and seemingly pretend we are functioning in the Spirit. I mentioned in my sermon that even my children are able to do this evaluation so don’t think it is a difficult task. It is this easy… if you are doing something that is defined by one of the above traits, it doesn’t matter if the premise is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ what matters is you are walking in the flesh. Paul spends this entire chapter pointing out that if our focus is ‘right vs wrong’ and not LOVE then we are incorrect. So, someone could be saying the right things but still be functioning in the flesh and (as a pastor-if they are among my flock) I would tell them they are still wrong. God calls us to seek love and relationships. Why? Because this is how we truly make a change. How many times have you been convinced of someone to change your point of view or the application of that change by someone who is just presenting facts which prove your current view as wrong? How many people watch presidential debates, or ANY debates and see the opposing party change their point of view due to the content? (the answer is none, or such a minuscule amount that it seems to be none). We are only effective in helping others if we are walking in the Spirit. So what’s the evaluation?
If your actions are in line with impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group (and there will always be some wrong doctrine) envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing… That’s the evaluation. Are you exhibiting any of these signs? If you are doing something and exhibiting these then you are trusting your sinful nature. LOOK, God made it easy. Walking in truth isn’t this super huge spiritual thing that takes depth of research etc. It is simply looking at your life and seeing if you are currently doing these things. My children do it… if they are being hateful, fighting, jealous, angry, selfish, etc. then they realize that it doesn’t matter the content of their purpose because they are communicating it poorly. EVALUATE YOURSELF 😀 Walking in truth is easy enough for a child to do it, don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking there’s some high level of education needed to get there. More education CAN lead to a sweeter relationship, but is not a requirement for obedience.
Tomorrow we will talk about the next verses:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
So… I realized today that I am writing my prayer here, which is good, but you need to be praying your own prayers. From here forward I will give you suggestions on how to pray instead of writing a prayer you’re likely reading and continuing to move on from. YOU need to be praying.
Spend 2-3 minutes praying for God to reveal in your life how you are walking in the flesh. Also pray for the Holy Spirit to make you aware when you stop listening to Him.
You have definitely walked in the flesh at some point in the last week, day, likely even the last hour. You need to start praying for God to make those moments clear to you AND then repent immediately when they happen. Repent out loud and make those around you aware of the moments you are trusting your flesh. This is how we teach those around us and begin to truly walk in God’s truth. When He makes you aware of it simply say “Oh my, I have been trusting my flesh by _______ (this would be “being selfish”, “being jealous” or whatever you’re doing.) When you do this you call to attention Scripture and lead others to realize God is active in your life and can be doing the same in their life. Please do this 😀