Summary: Do you observe that you tend to get better or worse(bitter, angry and anxious) when difficulties come in to your life? Is your life more characterized by triumphs or turmoil and tension? Irritations have a way of bringing a sense of frustration that leads

Exchange Self-Destructive Tendencies With Spiritually Fruitful Traits (Gal. 5:16-23)

Too many people allow themselves to fall into self-destructive practices out of ignorance, neglect or spiritual indiscipline.

Some people need to know when to admit mistakes. Take for example what not to put in a résumé:

These are blunders from real résumés

"My intensity and focus are at inordinately high levels, and my ability to complete projects on time is unspeakable."

"Education: Curses in liberal arts, curses in computer science, curses in accounting."

"Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store."

"Personal: Married, 1992 Chevrolet."

"I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse."

Illustration: Get the right perspective. When Goliath came against the Israelites, the soldiers all thought, "He’s so big we can never kill him." David looked at the same giant and though, "He’s so big I can’t miss."

God Can Make It Happen (Victor).

Paul wrote, "Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh sets itself against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh for these are in opposition to one another so you cannot do the things you desire. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are these which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper) selfishness, divsions (dissensions) factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like. I warn you... that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Gal. 5:16-23)

Do you observe that you tend to get better or worse(bitter, angry and anxious) when difficulties come in to your life?

Is your life more characterized by triumphs or turmoil and tension?

Illustration:Illustration:A monk joined a monastery and took a vow of silence. After the first 10 years his superior called him in and asked, "Do you have anything to say?" The monk replied, "Food bad." After another 10 years the monk again had opportunity to voice his thoughts. He said, "Bed hard." Another 10 years went by and again he was called in before his superior. When asked if he had anything to say, he responded, "I quit." "It doesn’t surprise me a bit. You’ve done nothing but complain ever since you got here."

Source Unknown.

Many great congregations have suffered from people with divisive attitudes. The Lord has placed each of us in His body to be lovingly united in spirit, intent on one purpose, striving together for the faith of the gospel. Minor disagreements often escalate into huge differences that could easily have been overlooked for the greater good of Christ’s kingdom and righteousness.

Irritations have a way of bringing a sense of frustration that leads to the self-destructive tendencies that Paul describes in the Gal. 5:19-21. Grievous words stir up muddy waters that tend to cloud one’s decision-making ability.

Application: Criticisms wound hearts and lead many to become bitter, discouraged or vengeful. Unresolved tension can bring depression, a loss of energy and a depleting of one’s strength. Unless, we pro-actively choose to be led by the Spirit’s constructive traits the self-destructive tendencies of our selfish human nature will wreck havoc on each of our lives.

Quote: Real Christianity will make salty differences in our family, in our waking up, in our work, in our relationships, in the way we spend our money, and in the way we spend our leisure time. Real Christianity is not casual. It is dynamic. It goes beyond mere intellectual assent to correct doctrine. Real Christians who want to know real Christianity, who are not content with games and masks and only images of the truth, must rise from our comfortable pews and leave our ‘one stop Christian service centers’ and go out into the world and make a salty difference!" (Guy Rice Doud, Joy in the Journey)

The following are some guidelines to help us exchange negative self-destructive traits for positive Spirit filled attitudes, actions and tendencies:

1. CEASE AND REPLACE - Make a list of some of the common self-destructive habits that may characterize your life and prayerfully replace them with what is Spiritually positive:

A. Cease criticizing and start affirming others by accenting their positives. Dick Enberg, the famous NBC sports announcer recently spoke at an ivy league college graduation and said, The two most important words in the English language are "Thank You." We live in a world that is desperate to be acknowledged, respected and appreciated.

Quote: Donald R. Hubbard - "The enemy can utilize the mouth of even Christians to criticize and bring discouragement into the hearts of many. We behold the splinter in another’s eye before we remove the log from our own eyes."

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