Overcoming my natural tendencies

Do you wrestle with seeing Christ’s character displayed in your life? Paul gives us some great insight on this topic in the letter to the Galatians. In Gal. 5:19 he says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident..” and in contrast to this, in verse 23 Paul says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is…”

This contrast of “works” and “fruit” is very striking. The flesh, that part of me that naturally wants to please myself instead of God is capable of doing many things, but the result of my works are sinful and do not result in life change.

What is the solution? Paul changes terminology to horticultural terms when he discusses the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He says the Spirit produces fruit. This description is striking for a couple of reasons. The first is that the term “fruit” is singular even though Paul gives is a long list of individual fruits after this statement. He does this to show that I should be progressing in all the fruit of the Spirit listed all at the same time. That is how we know the Spirit is active in us.

Secondly, fruit is describing something that is not the result of my effort. but is the natural result of the Spirit working in my life. Instead of striving to make myself more like Jesus, I need to yield to the Spirit so that he can progressively produce all of his fruit in me.

It is only through the Spirit’s influence in my life that I can overcome the flesh and be transformed to live like Jesus from the inside out. This fruit of the Spirit comes as a whole not one virtue at a time. My life should increasingly display all of the fruit of the Spirit at the same time. Am I progressing in all the fruit of the Spirit in my life? If not, I need to yield to the leadership of the Spirit so he can produce his fruit in me.

Father, thank you for giving me a solution to my natural tendency to sin. Thank you for sending me a helper in the Holy Spirit. As Jesus accomplished justification for me, may I yield to the leadership of the Holy Spirit so that he can produce fruit in harmony with your character.

Following Jesus with you,

Jeff

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