I’m glad we don’t really turn into what we eat because I think I would be looking at a bunch of coffee pots and fruit snacks. I would look like a chocolate chip cookie. But it is true that what we take into our lives and what we invest in is dictated by our passions. It is also true those things will be reflected in how we live.
Which is why Paul says in verse 19-
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident. (NASB)
But when you follow your own wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: (TLB)
It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time. (Message)
The activities of the lower nature are obvious. (JB Phillips)
When we are guided by our own morality the results are devastating. Mostly because they are guided by our moral values that we cannot keep. They change not for following Christ but following what we think, what we see in society or our reaction to what we experience in life. Paul makes a list of the results from following our inward desires.
Immorality is the result in doing things you know are wrong, impurity comes from being involved sexually outside of God’s best, sensuality comes from getting excited by what you see, touch and feel. Idolatry is following something besides God; sorcery is expecting nature or karma to give you what only God can give. Enmities develop from always thinking someone is out to get me, strife is always being at odds with someone. Jealousy is not being happy with what you have, outbursts of anger comes from a lack of self control of our emotions. Disputes happen when we don’t know how to get along; dissensions and factions come about when we partner with someone against someone else. Envy happens when we can’t even be happy for someone else’s success. Drunkenness and carousing come from not having a firm foundation in life and always looking for another way to be happy.
But when we walk in the Spirit or follow the Spirit’s leadership in our life the things that come out of our life look like actions of Jesus. We are going to look at these one by one in the weeks to come. But first notice that Paul describes acts of the flesh, wrong inclinations and our lower nature. He then contrasts this with the fruit of following the Holy Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is (NASB) But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us (TLB) But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard (Message) The Spirit however, produces in human life fruits such as these: (JB Phillips)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
The result of being led by, or following the directions of or walking in the Spirit is love.
Learn of God’s Love
We need to understand God’s love for us is not just any love but a growing expression of agape-the love that God has for people. So you don’t know what God’s love is like. Well, it is like this…
The LORD appeared to him from afar saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Jeremiah 31:3
God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Greater love has no one that this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
God’s love is an active or a love expressed in actions toward us. His love never ends or is an endless love.
It is a demonstrative love. This is how God loved us- He sent His Son and He laid down His life for us. He died for us.
The only reason we can love is because God first loved us.
We need to understand what kind of love god calls us to practice.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15
Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but He sent me. John 8:42
If God is your Father- follow Him. Learn how to walk according to His Word. Read the bible to know God and His extravagant love for all people.
When we do this we will begin to find that we can love others like God does. His love is demonstrated in open care for all people.
-Openly care for others
We have great examples from the life of Christ and from God’s Word.
John- love is used 39 times
1 John- love is used 26 times
You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45
We are to be salt and light on our pathway.
As we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit we find that we are praying for others. You will find yourself helping others without being asked. You will want good things to happen in other’s lives. Relationships will no longer include petty fighting, jealousy, envy or disputes. The Holy Spirit is bringing this about as you are walking in the Spirit or seeking to walk in the Spirit.
The Spirit is having the results that He promised in our life. It is obvious that a demonstrative love is flowing from your life instead of the other things that were flowing from your life.
Verify the Results
Listen to this from the InterVarsity Press Commentary on Galatians
“These character qualities are not a new list of laws or moral codes that must be kept; they are the result of living and being led by the Spirit.”
These flow from our lives as we follow the Holy Spirit. They are the visible results of walking in the Spirit.
What do you do when you are away from church and no one is watching you? Do you discover that you are loving others or taking care of yourself?
If you are not seeing any results you still need to learn to walk in the Spirit. You need to spend more time under the discipleship of the Holy Spirit. Some foundational things are Bible Study, Worship, serious prayer time with a notebook and pen to jot down reflections, questions from your day that you want to talk to God about.
Mark 12:30-31 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
What a great mission statement for each day. Print this out and stick it on your mirror. Male it your home screen on your phone or computer. Then practice loving God this way and seek to love others with the same love.
Take time at the end of your day to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you how you are doing or to help you do better. Take an inventory each day or at least weekly to evaluate how you are loving others. If you are being more polite to people thank God for that. If you find that you still want someone to fail so you can succeed, ask the Holy Spirit to work in that area of your life.
Are you looking to others as people who can do things for you rather than people you can help to be successful? It is time to give thanks or to cry out for help.
Asking God to help us love is just like asking God to develop patience in us. God send difficult people in our lives to develop patience. Get ready for God to send some people who are hard to love, but love them anyway. You are being discipled.
In verse 24 Paul says, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
A Christian who is willing to love and care will see acts of the flesh blossom. the one who loves will find new ways to
EXPRESS GOD’S LOVE
God is so intense in demonstrating his love toward us. Caring for others this way is a great place to start. Express God’s love through relationships. Invest in people. Love people like God does. See the best in them. Want the best for them. Pray for God’s love to melt their heart. Ask Him to melt yours so that your love can flow out of your life and impact others for Jesus.
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
How would a family member that you are at odds with respond to God’s agape love through your relationship with them? How would that person at work feel if you became an encourager instead of competition for his/her job? What would happen if you began to greet your neighbors with a smile and hello each time you see them?
As your relationship with Jesus grows; as your commitment to walk in the Spirit and be guided by the Spirit grows you are going to find yourself with a greater capacity to love and care for people.
CHALLENGE: Learn of God’s love. Openly care for others. Verify that your love is becoming more your calling card. Express God’s love through your relationships.
You will be amazed at the results flowing from your life. Keep on loving like Jesus.