Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
SING TO THE LORD
V. 25: "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep step in with the spirit"
Christian character is produced by the Holy spirit , not by the mere moral discipline of trying to live by the law. Apostle Paul makes it clear that justification by faith does not result in libertinism. Living by the promptings and power of the spirit is the key to conquering the sinful desires. When we choose the spirit living with in us rather than the flesh, we get a completely differenct set of behaviors, rather than a set of behaviors centered on “Me” , but we get a set of behaviors seeking the best of others. The law of God can be summarized as loving God and loving others. When we choose the spirit over the flesh to power our lives, we get the spirit working out of the law of God. Paul therefore ends this section by clarifying that the spirit is not against the law.
The first of the fruits of the spirit “Love” can be summarized as the sum total of all other ones. JOY: The word “chara' is used to describe the joy of a woman after the travails from the child birth (John 16.21). Serving others and God creates a satisfaction similar to the joy of a woman in child birth. It is difficult ,but worth it. PEACE AND PATIENCE: seem to go together. Patience means our ability to put up with other people's itrritating behavior. When we bear others quirks or faults, we sow peace. The best way to accomplish change in others is often through exercising patience in ourselves. GOODNESS: is a word used in the Bible to describe things that are useful, desirable, and productive. When we choose to walk in the spirit of goodness, we are useful, productive and beneficial to those around us.
FAITHFULLNESS: emphasizes walking and believing in accordance with what God says is true. We have an external focus rather than internal. We will try to live in a manner benefiting others rather than satisfying our circumstances. GENTLENESS/MEEKNESS : involves, being down to earth( humility), being quick to let things go,rather than asserting superiority, wants to help others, even when they have done wrong. But meekness is often mistaken for weakness by people.
Example of gentleness is seen in John 8 where Jesus forgives an adulterous woman brought by pharisees. SELF CONTROL: where we control our self from being ruled by our desires, but controlled by the spirit of God. Paus says: when we belong to Christ – have crucuified the flesh, its power over us is broken. Believers are no more slaves to their passions, but the resurrection power of Jesus residing within them , will strengthen them. Paul therefore exhorts galatians as well as us to reject the sinful paths, selfish desires, but to walk by the spirit.
O Lord Jesus, oftentimes, we are “me” centered with selfish desires and boasting, not able to walk by the fruits of the spirit. Forgive us, strengthen us by the resurrection power of Jesus, to be led by the spirit , and not by the flesh. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Can anyone find a law against the fruits of the spirit? Certanly not, against the spirit there is no law, and bearing one another's burdens fullfills the law in Christ.
Dr. John K. Thomas
Tabor Mar Thoma Church, NY