“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Galatians 5:22-26 NKJV
We continue to plod through the throes of the global pandemic, and with each passing day we hear of some other person who has become ill with the virus that seems to never go away. Fortunately the symptoms these days are minor, and those infected get over it quickly. Thankfully, we have become accustomed to dealing with it, and the dire reactions of the past have gone away. At least we hope so.
Sometimes, I wonder if that is a good thing. While I definitely do not want to go back to the overreactions of the past two years, I see some danger in ignoring the problem all together. There has been some good learning that has come out of all of this, and there are values that bring great benefits.
In the spiritual realm, there are also symptoms that indicate the presence of the condition of our souls. These are characteristics that mark us, and indicate our destiny, whether it be eternity with Jesus, or eternity in hell. As I prepared the meme for my local church, I read the ever familiar passage in Galatians chapter five, which details the fruit of the Spirit.
Over the years, this passage has become a constant guide for me in examining myself, looking for symptoms of salvation, signs that I am truly born again. Likewise I am looking for signs of sin, of those things that do not reflect the presence of the Holy Spirit in me.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV
I am as diligent to look for those things, as I am to look for the fruit of the Spirit. When I see the things I do not want to see, I am quick to run to the throne of grace, seeking forgiveness and the strength to once again walk by the Spirit.
Back in my working days, I used to keep a plaque, which now resides in my home, near the door of my office. I worked with very difficult people, and I needed that reminder before I even left my office. I have found that it is easy to display the good things under ideal circumstances, but it is a more accurate test when I encountered those who are difficult, or in opposition. If fruit is present under duress, it is real and ones place in the beloved is confirmed.
Brothers and sisters, we are walking daily in a sick and dying world, with so many people bearing the crippling symptoms of sin sickness. They go about with no hope, no recourse, and those around them are in denial as to whether they are really sick at all.
As we go forth, let us be always in a state of checking ourselves, never taking for granted that we are presenting the fruit of the Spirit that indwells us. Let us seek guidance in the word of God, reading it, being examined by it, that it show us the hidden parts, bring them to our consciousness, that we can make changes.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV
Let us also be mindful that we will give and account. Each of us, born again, will stand before the Lord at the Bema seat, giving a full accounting all that we have done, all that we have thought and every motivation of our hearts. Every slander, every bit of gossip, every lie we will have told those we love will be examined, and nothing will escape.
As we prepare for that great moment, let us practice by showing whose we are to those we hope to reach with the Gospel. As ambassadors of Christ, we are being watched, examined by an unbelieving world. In the coming days, weeks, months, and perhaps years, we will be under pressure, brought on by the evil one, in the hope of destroying our testimonies.
It is of the utmost importance that we resist, as the souls of those who oppose us are on the line. Let us be constant in remembering that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, for those sent against us are pawns o the evil one and used, that we strike back and destroy, when we should love them and bring the message of healing.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV
We must do all to stand!
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