Summary: Each of these characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit is a part of God’s character. They describe Him, and therefore, how He relates to us. Because it is our goal to become like God in His character, it becomes our responsibility to respond to people t
February 1, 2004 Galatians 5:22-23
“The Spirit-filled Life”
Spirit-filled people overcome temptation.
“...live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify ... the sinful nature.” vs. 16
Spirit-filled people have to fight their natural desires.
We aren’t born patient, are we? When a baby wakes up in the middle of the night & is hungry, or its diaper is wet, it doesn’t lie there & think, "I know Mom & Dad are tired. So I’ll just wait until a more convenient time to let them know that I need something to eat or my diaper changed." No! That baby cries impatiently & continues to cry until it receives the attention it demands.
Have you ever traveled with a child? A little 4-year-old boy was traveling with his mother & constantly asking the same question over & over again? "When are we going to get there? When are we going to get there?" Finally, the mother got so irritated that she said, "We still have 90 more miles to go. So don’t ask me again when we’re going to get there." Well, the boy was silent for a long time. Then he timidly asked, "Mom, will I still be four when we get there?"
“They [the Spirit and the sinful nature] are in conflict with each other” vs. 17
Neither patience, nor any of the other 8 parts of the fruit of the Spirit are our natural reaction to the people and situations that we face. When we came to Christ, we received a new nature – but the old nature is there too. And they are constantly fighting against each other. They want different objectives. They handle things in different ways. So because these things are contrary to our nature, it’s not going to be easy to live according to these standards. But it is possible. And it even becomes second nature to us the more that we yield to God’s Spirit and put these things into practice.
Spirit-filled people don’t face judgment.
“...if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” vs. 18
“...there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1,2
“Against such things there is no law.” vs. 23
Last week, using the examples of love, joy and peace, we saw that each of the parts of the fruit of the Spirit are based on our beliefs, are commanded in Scripture and are empowered by the Holy Spirit living inside of us. In our own strength, we cannot force ourselves to produce this fruit. Our responsibility is to yield to the Spirit and let Him produce godly character and actions in us.
As we examine three more aspects of the fruit today, our main goal is to see that each of these characteristics is a part of God’s character. They describe Him, and therefore, how He relates to us. Because it is our goal to become like God in His character, it becomes our responsibility to respond to people the way that He responds to us.
1. Patience is the power of the Spirit-filled life.
“...do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” Romans 2:4 (NIV)
That is why God doesn’t knock Osama Bin Laden into [the Crab] Nebula or send a lightening bolt to fry evil men, because He wants them to come to repentance and be saved. – Joe Bedy That’s why some of you who are sitting out there living in sin having yet faced God’s wrath. It’s not because you’re pulling something over God’s eyes or getting away with it. It’s because is more interested in redeeming you than in destroying you.
“He [God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. ... Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation,...” 2 Peter 3:9,15 (NIV)
There is probably no more patience requiring station in life than that of a parent. We, as parents, are required to suffer long.
A mom & dad had a son who was a freshman in college. He blew off his freshman year. He wasn’t very responsible, didn’t make good grades, squandered his money, & finally came back home. His parents told him, “If you go back to school you’ll have to pay your own way.”
So he had to work that summer & not go on the family vacation to Greece. That was part of his punishment. When the rest of the family went on vacation, mom sent him a postcard, “Dear Son,” she wrote. “Today we stood on the mountains where ancient Spartan women sacrificed their defective children. Wish you were here.”