Summary: We please God by following the Holy Spirit and allowing the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out.
Have you ever tasted or smelled chlorine? It’s that wonderful smell we smell when we get near a swimming pool. It is designed to keep bacteria from growing in the pool and making us sick.
Those with pools know how important it is to get the right balance in the water between too much chlorine and too little chlorine. I remember a swimming pool at a campground that I worked at many years ago. It turns out that after spending a good deal of the summer in the pool, the chlorine levels were probably not sufficient to keep out bacteria from which I mostly likely got a pretty good case of pink eye.
If you are on a cruise ship you will often taste chlorine in the water and coffee because the seawater that is used on board is heavily treated so that it is usable for human consumption. But, I drank my coffee anyway. Chlorine is used to filter the bad stuff out of water.
Some of us perhaps are “blessed” with hard water or we like to have clear and no-taste water. So we have purchased either a filtered water pitcher (we have one of those) or a faucet-mounted filter. The filter contains different kinds of things that are designed to filter out chemicals and other impurities through chemical reactions that come as the water comes in contact with the filter. The result then is usually water that is safer (and tastier) to drink.
My point is this: As we continue to address ways that please God we need to know that there is a spiritual filter that our lives must continuously pass through to better please Him. That filter is named the Holy Spirit. One of the ways that we please God is by following the Holy Spirit and allowing the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out.
In our text for this morning we have three ways this filter changes the spiritual composition of our lives. Each of these ways allows us to please God.
First, the Holy Spirit “filters” our character as we obey Him and as we do so the fruits of the Spirit that are listed in verses 22 and 23 become evidence of a life that is pleasing to God.
Fruit is used in the Bible as a metaphor for the kind of life a person leads. Jesus told the Disciples in Matthew 7:20, “The way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.”
This verse appears in a passage in which Jesus warns the Disciples about those who say one thing but their lives demonstrate something else. But, this verse also carries a truth about all of us. What kind of fruit does our life bear these days?
Have you ever heard the statement, “So and so has lived a fruitful life?” It is a statement about a person who has lived well and lived true to their beliefs.
We please God when these important traits – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control – begin to take root, blossom, and grow in our lives, and that of our church, as well. But, these fruits come to life only as we allow the Holy Spirit into our lives and cooperate with Him.
Pastor Ed Wood shared the results of an extensive survey conducted some time back here in the US with the question, “What are you looking for most in life?”
“ When the results were compiled,” noted Wood, “the analysts were surprised. Most of them had expected answers that would suggest materialistic goals, but the top three things that people wanted in life were love, joy, and peace—the first three fruits of the Spirit!” Isn’t it interesting that we buy so much, we do so much, we try so much, and we go so many places to find something that God wants to give us?
God is pleased to give us these qualities in our lives. He wants to give them to us! He wants our lives to be fruitful and meaningful! But it requires our surrendering to His Holy Spirit so that these character qualities become active and authentic in our lives. This is possible as we daily tell the Lord that we are His and that we will do what He asks us to do through His word the Bible and through our obedience to the work of His Spirit in our lives!
Another way that the Holy Spirit filters our lives in order to please the Lord is through the strengthening of the ability to “let go of our sinful passions and desires.” What does this mean?
It means this, “We are in a battle between right and wrong, good and evil.” Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:12, “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.”