Today we will close out the series comparing the works of the flesh with the fruit of the spirit. Have you noticed in the New Testament very little is blamed on the demonic? The authors of the NT focus on Christ in us and how we have already overcome the devil in Christ, and how we can live from our spirit which has been recreated by the Spirit of God.
The fruit of the spirit
In Galatians 5:16-25 Paul contrasts the differences between the human flesh and the human spirit. Among the works of the flesh he lists these in v19-21: "The works of the flesh are these: Adultery (sexual lust), fornication (sex with someone other than your spouse), uncleanness (various sexual acts), idolatry, witchcraft (manipulation of others or circumstance to put yourself in a better light or position), hatred, jealousy, fits of bad temper, selfish ambition, dissensions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like that..."
Paul says they are works of the human flesh. No demons involved, this is what the human flesh can do. Satan can tempt, but the actions are human flesh. Ephesians 2:3 says we used to be sinners by nature, but now our nature has changed. In other words: Sinners sin by nature, Christians sin by choice.
Be honest and take responsibility
For instance, in I Corinthians 6:9-11 Paul lists various sins in v9-10, and then states: "And such were some of you. But now you are washed, you are sanctified, you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
Paul makes a similar list of sins in Ephesians 4:17-24 and then says: "But you have not learned Jesus following these ways. If indeed you have heard and been taught the truth in Christ Jesus, then put off the old man which is corrupted by desires which are deceitful, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man which by God has been created in righteousness and the holiness of truth..."
The flesh likes sin, deal with it. Deal with why that particular sin is a temptation to you. Wrestle with the desire for pleasure of the flesh or the depths of God in your spirit. It is a good process. Once you establish how you love the Lord and hate that grievance of sin, sin will lose much of its attractiveness. You will learn to live from your spirit...
Fruit of the spirit
In contrast to the 'works of the flesh' of Galatians 5:19-21, Paul sets the 'fruit of the spirit'. The subject is how to live out of one's spirit, so the context is indeed a comparison of the human flesh and the human spirit.
Some translations and many Christians mistakenly (in my opinion) think Paul is listing the 'works of the flesh' and the 'fruit of the Holy Spirit', but that doesn't make sense grammatically nor is it consistent with his points in this text, nor is it consistent with the other scriptures on this topic, listed above in I Corinthians 6 and Ephesians 4. Paul is comparing the human flesh with the qualities of the born again human spirit.
"But the fruit of the spirit are these: Love, joy, peace, patience (consistency at all times), goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ have crucified their old nature and all that it loved and lusted for. Since we live by the Spirit (of God) let us live by the spirit. For we should not be boastful which provokes others to envy."
Fruit is for reproduction
Paul's comparison between the actions of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit place the responsibility directly upon us to live out of our spirit man. Fruit is the reproductive means of a fruit tree. Fruit has life to eat for now, and seed for the next generation to plant in their hearts. When we live in love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness - these are like a delicious ripe fruit on a tree for someone to see, consume, and be strengthened. They will reproduce that fruit in their own lives if they take the 'seed' of that fruit of the spirit. They can 'pick' the fruit of our spirit for their situation - when we give them love, gentleness, goodness - they need that and they consume what we offer.
Our spirit is one with the Source of the fruit, the Holy Spirit who is these qualities, so if one 'picks' the fruit of joy that we offer from our spirit to them for their situation, more joy will be produced from the Source of that joy - we will never run out!
When we walk into an opportunity for the fleshly work of hatred or strife and instead allow the fruit of our spirit to dominate - that of love and joy and gentleness perhaps, the people caught up in strife and hatred consume the fruit of our spirit, our life, and are bettered - they see Christ in their midst when we live from our spirit.
For instance, in James 1:2 he says to "Count it all joy when you fall into various temptations, tests, and trials, knowing that the trial of our faith exercises patience (consistency) in you..." (Joy and patience are fruit of your spirit)
Notice he used the word 'joy', and not 'be happy'. Joy is listed in Galatians 5:22 as a fruit of the spirit. When you are faced with difficulty, focus on and 'pull up' from your spirit, joy, the joy of the Lord in the midst of trying to remain consistent, which is another fruit of your spirit. You can do it - remain consistent.
Paul said if you live from your spirit you won't fulfill the lusts of the flesh. It is that simple, and that difficult.
In Matthew 10:12-13 Jesus said when we come into a house let our peace settle upon it. Barb and I used to do that when traveling for a holiday to her parents' strife-filled home. Before we left on the trip we would take authority over spirits of strife and any demonic in that house, pray for her parents, and say to the Father; "Father, we let our peace which is from you, dominate that house and our time together, that strife and all the rest won't be able to manifest because of our peace, your peace, settles upon that house." or words to that effect. It worked every time.
The fruit of the spirit is sourced in the Spirit of God, there is no law against love, joy, peace....living from your spirit means you and the Lord can dominate in any situation, whether the people realize it or not. Some will be like Laban was with Joseph in Genesis 30:27 - he knows he is blessed but can't figure out why work is better off with you: "I have learned by experience I am blessed because of you." May that be true of all we interact with.
Live from your spirit....
New subject next week, until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org