How quick are we to judge others before prayerfully considering our own Christian walk or character? Now I’m not just asking YOU this question…I need to ask myself it too! Because we all probably know the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23, right?
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness & Self-Control.
And if we’re honest we usually can spot when someone is lacking one or more of these attributes…even ourselves. Yet how often do we ponder on the 15 points mentioned only verses earlier to let the Holy Spirit speak to us about ourselves? Please know I am NOT trying to make you feel bad, as this is only something I’ve recently done myself.
I believe God reminded me today that I am responsible for my own choices and actions – that I must focus on myself before worrying about other Christian’s walks…He reminded me of how we all as INDIVIDUALS need to seek forgiveness and a restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ…that this free gift is available to ALL as The Lord DOES NOT take any pleasure in the death of the wicked, or hold others accountable for the sins of others; even their children. Read Ezekiel 18.
He reminded me that I must FOLLOW HIM…regardless of anyone else’s journey.
That I must be CAREFUL to not think I am something special compared to others…I must test my OWN WORK, being gentle with others and NOT sewing seed for my flesh! He reminded me again of the 15 point checklist in Galatians 5:19-21 for me to consider…actually for us all to consider as children of the Kingdom of God – for I believe it is a character checklist that we all will WANT to strive for out of our love for Christ, now living lives dead-to-our-flesh and alive-in-Christ! I have been convicted personally by this list on more than one occasion and it has not been a cause of great remorse, rather gratitude that I can then pray, ask for forgiveness where I’ve fallen short, and also ask for help and strengthening in the area/s. I urge you to prayerfully consider this list too, letting Jesus speak to you…
The works of the FLESH are:
(Sorry if this is blunt, but I am trying to keep this post short and HONEST!)
1. FORNICATION: Okay, so are you having sex outside of marriage? This is fornication. If you are in this situation, put simply, your flesh is number one before God and God does not tolerate this. God expects purity from His people and scripture defines the only pure sex is between a married man and woman. I’m sorry for this bluntness but God expects to be number one and this requires sacrifice. When you give up your flesh for God, He will step in and meet every deficit and grow you so much closer to Him than you could ever imagine.
2. IMPURITY: Leading on from the last point is impurity or contamination. This can be a variety of things like even one’s thoughts. Impure thoughts that are crude, smutty, lustful, corrupt, degrading, undignified – bad thoughts contemplated long enough lead to the action! Cut them off by prayer in Jesus Name.
3. LICENTIOUSNESS: This means lacking moral restraint, especially in regards to sexual matters. You know the person who thinks they’re okay with their sexual behaviour because they haven’t gone ALL THE WAY…well this point says otherwise. If you’re in this situation, please don’t feel condemned, just repent and don’t do it anymore! This point also means going beyond customary limits…you know those old-fashioned ways…this is why deep down our conscience tells us we’re not acting right anyway, regardless of culture.
4. IDOLATRY: This is having anything else as number one before God. It can be an actual statue or false-religion idol in a place of prominence or things like our job, money, clothing, jewellery, shoes, a hobby, sport, people, family, friends…I could go on and on. When God is number one our lives actually have such a better balance and we have more love for others than we could have imagined and it keeps growing…He is just so good!
5. SORCERY: Yes, this makes the checklist and covers witchcraft and any modes of seeking information or advice from other sources than God and His people. Like astrology, numerology, mediums, tarot card readers, spirit guides, spiritists, white-witches and so on… These people serve the enemy…simple! And God does not mince words on this topic…just do a google search on scripture and witchcraft or consulting mediums…much teaching is available…people who claim to know no better have simply not read scripture for themselves.
6. ENEMITIES: So this weird word covers feelings or an internal reaction that makes a person basically toxic against others. It’s okay to be against something and to even take sensible steps to fight for justice but this type of opposition is poisonous. It is opposition which presents itself in hatred, loathing, bitterness, abhorrence, malice, feuding, conflict, hostility, rivalry, revenge. It’s when a person forgets the grace God has extended to them and to live in humility; extending understanding, forgiveness and grace to others.
7. STRIFE: Are we someone who causes or starts arguments? Are we a troublemaker? Do we feed off drama? Do we bait others or manipulate situations to stir up trouble and get our own way? Even our own spouse? Enough said.
8. JEALOUSLY: This is where your flesh convinces you from irrational fear that you could lose something to someone else. You may be jealous when your spouse is chatting to another person for example. You may be jealous of a new friendship your child has made as you’re afraid your relationship with them will suffer. You may be jealous of a new co-worker due to their talent, afraid they may surpass you at work and this could result in you treating them poorly, jeopardising your witness! God does not want you to live a life of fear, rather one of joy and trust in Him!
9. ANGER: As stated anger is okay…it’s normal. God gets angry but never sins…that should be our benchmark! Do we treat others with respect when we are angry…our spouse, family, friends or kids? Sometimes repenting is even necessary to those close to us whom we’ve lashed out upon when angry…even if the anger was justifiable, as we still need self-control during times of anger.
10. QUARRELS: Yes, this is listed separately as we may think, “Well I don’t punch people when I’m angry!” But anger does not produce God’s righteousness. God blesses those who work for peace – they will be called the Children of God. Scripture basically says in proverbs it’s better to live alone than with a quarrelsome wife…and in 2 Timothy it states The Lord’s servant must NOT be quarrelsome! Yes, some food for thought here! This is not to say some complaints aren’t legit…but perhaps you need outside help if you can’t work them out maturely.
11. DISSENSIONS: This is disagreement, contention or quarrelling but more so in regards to an organisation…yes, so this would include church. Are you humble, do you submit to the authority above you in church within reason? When struggling with those above us in church we have a choice to speak out hastily or self-examine and perhaps speak privately with a trusted, more mature Christian for counsel.
12. FACTIONS: Logically this follows dissensions…because dissensions can ultimately lead to factions. Rebellion, disunity, falling-out and breaking away into a smaller group are not results of godly character. The enemy wants to cause division within the Church…don’t become a pawn in his plan. Yes we should not stay under submission to someone who preaches heresy; does not uphold scripture; or is obviously a hypocrite, but for other matters of disagreement we should take our time to discern what God is saying or trying to teach us in this situation.
13. ENVY: Yes that other person may be better looking than you…have more money than you…have a great marriage or kids…have a great career…is always smiling...has a talent you wish you had! SO WHAT? God looks at the heart remember? How’s your heart? Are you somehow envious of your pastor? Work on your own relationship with God; let Him remind you of how special you are to Him and mould you into the person He wants YOU to be! I should note ancient authorities add ‘murder’ to this point…remember Cain with Abel? Envy is dangerous!
14. DRUNKENNESS: Once upon a time this would have been so obvious but sadly not anymore…especially in Australia where a gathering (or Barbie) isn’t usually complete without an excess of alcohol and getting ‘smashed’ to have a good time! We also all know what getting drunk leads to…less self-control, uncontrolled emotional outbursts and abuse of one’s body or others. Other scripture says it okay to drink but NOT to get drunk. Alcohol can destroy lives as many alcoholics will testify to – and in today’s day and age we know this will also extend to street drugs like Meth.
15. CAROUSING: This is the binge drinking or drunken stupor partying. The ‘pub-crawl’ – so this covers those of us who think it’s okay if we drink heavy only occasionally to ‘have a good time’. Scripture says getting drunk is an unrestrained fleshly indulgence. We need to be led by the Spirit and not our flesh.
Feel free to print this post out as I know it is long so that you can prayerfully come back to it in quiet times with The Lord. In His peace and grace to you, Melanie.