Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.I won't go into details ... let's just say that I struggle with more than one of them, OK? And don't forget that the list isn't exhaustive. Paul says at the end, "and things like these."
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-controlNow which would I rather have - the fruit of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit? Definitely the fruit of the Spirit. But how do I get this fruit? I can't conjure it up. I can't make myself have love and joy and peace and all those things. I can't work to earn them. It's nothing of me - that would be fruit of the flesh. It's the fruit of the SPIRIT.
You know, just like I talked about how I have a divided heart when it comes to selfishness vs. selflessness, I think I also have a divided heart on this issue too. That seems to be becoming a theme with me. Perhaps the Lord is showing me that is the root of my many issues.
Seriously. If I'm truly honest (which I want to be) then I have to admit that many times I want to indulge the desires of the flesh. There. I said it. It's true. Of course, I know that is not good and what the desires of the flesh lead to. Nevertheless in my heart there exists desire to be fleshly. And I've thought about this and I'm not talking about that struggle we all have between the flesh and the Spirit. I'm talking about an actual want to be fleshly. I don't really know why unless, perhaps, it stems from my incredible selfishness and desire for self-preservation. I think that I may be onto something here.
Yuck. Really? I mean, REALLY? Is that really the state of my heart? Yep ... it's true. I don't want to give up my fleshly desires just like I don't want to give up my selfishness. Well that's just ugly. I don't like that at all about myself. But there it is. It's true and it's not pretty.
What I can do is what Paul says in verse 16: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. But what does that look like? Once again the Lord refuses to lay out a plan, a formula, for walking in the Spirit. Crud! That's actually a good thing, I know. Formulas tend to replace faith. I know that. But if I just knew what that looked like ...
If I Google "walking by the Spirit" I'm sure to come up with tons of formulas that people have attempted to put together. But none of them work. They're all procedures and fixed methods and rules. But that's not what my relationship with the Lord is about. It's not about rules, it's about relationship. I think that's why He didn't spell it out for us. he just said, "Walk by the Spirit."
So I need to be truly walking by the Spirit. How? What does that look like for me? I have to figure this one out!