Summary: Paul tells us how big a difference the choices we make have upon our spiritual lives. We can choose to WALK IN THE SPIRIT or to LIVE IN THE FLESH
TIME is one of the number one enemies of our faith. Recent generations, especially in the western world, have deceived themselves into thinking that time will never catch up to them. Because of medical breakthroughs disease will never get us. Science will answer our questions and find some way to prolong life for many more years. Television and movies will keep us distracted from thinking about thinks that would worry us.
Hebrews 9:27 is as true for this generation as it was for any other: ‘It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment’.
This is the worst possible news for a person without Jesus but the most wonderful news for someone who knows Him as their savior.
Two different choices we make make all the difference.
In Galatians chapter 5 Paul tells us how big a difference the choices we make have upon our spiritual lives. We can choose to WALK IN THE SPIRIT or to LIVE IN THE FLESH. The difference is called the ACTS OF THE SINFUL NATURE or the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
These are life the ROADSIGNS of life showing us which direction we are headed.
When I was a kid our family owned one of those station wagons that had the seat at the back which faced out the back window. I seemed to always end up there. There were certain rules for sitting in that seat.
First was to not open the tailgate when moving. Second was to not make eye contact or gestures to the traffic behind you. Third was to not care that you had no idea where you were going. All you would see was the back of the signs that had to do with the direction you were going and the front of signs for where you were going away from.
We often live in denial of the directions we are headed in life but if the signs going the opposite way say love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control then we can be assured that the signs we are not seeing the refer to the direction we are headed come from the other list Paul gave us.
Jesus said to His disciples that ‘By this My Father is glorified that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples’.(JN 15:8). I am so glad that He did not say we had to go and PRODUCE MUCH FRUIT but we only have to BEAR it. He will produce it through our lives if we are surrendered to Him. But if we do not surrender our lives to Him then we will NATURALLY begin to ACT out in our sinful natures with the things Paul listed.
CHOICE #1: ACTING OUT OF OUR SINFUL NATURE:
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
It is amazing how similar this list is to all the things you could choose to watch on American television most any day of the week or to find in any movie theater at any time. As a culture we have chosen to EMBRACE THIS LIST and as Christians in this culture we are very vulnerable to falling prey to no longer seeing these things as sinful practices.
Harry Poll wrote about time. "Within the memory of some of our older members (of American society) men worked 12 hours a day, six days a week, and still had time to be neighborly, go to church and actually live life….People were not too hurried, always had time to visit. The school and the church were the focal points of community interest. People had time to think, to pray, to read the Bible and go to church.
"Now we have a 40 hour work week, travel in cars, have our telephones, radios, TV sets, books, magazines, newspapers. We have gadgets and gimmicks for easy living and have less time than ever before. We go, go, go and having gone, find ourselves worn out and restless. The leisure time provided by a 40 hour work week is squandered in endless going and overindulgent living."
"It doesn’t make sense. The church is caught in the middle of this whirling, feverish, restlessness. A 60-minute service is too long, two services on the Sunday are too much.