Summary: If we would develop the Fruit of the Spirit we must walk in the Spirit. This message helps one learn how to walk in the Spirit.
WALK IN THE SPIRIT
Not everyone who calls themselves Christian is producing Fruit of the Spirit.... Did you know that? It’s available to every Christian, but I hope you have learned by now that there’s nothing automatic about the Spirit’s ministry. Every believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, and every believer has the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence, but neither of these guarantees that we will experience all the Spirit’s benefits.
If we would develop the Fruit of the Spirit we must walk in the Spirit. Through the old fleshly nature’s desires Satan attempts to lure us into living in the old man which causes the deeds of the flesh to show themselves in our life. Yet if by our free will we submit to God’s Spirit and crucify the flesh day by day we will walk in the Sprit. If we walk in the Spirit we will exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit and not the impulses of the flesh.
The Fruit of the Spirit is not an optional extra in the life of a believer. It is the evidence that the Holy Spirit is in residence and working to make us more like Christ each day. But how do we ensure that the Fruit of the Spirit is growing in our lives and is evidenced in our lives? Verses 24-25 tells us how to experience Spiritual victory.
I. THE CRUCIFIED LIFE, 24.
II. THE SPIRIT LED LIFE, 25.
The catalogues of vices and virtues in verses 19-21 and 22-23 respectfully set the background for every Christian to come to two conclusions. We should crucify the flesh, verse 24 and should surrendered to the Spirit, verse 25. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Paul next explains what believers, those who are walking with Christ Jesus, need not be responsive to the flesh meaning humanity’s fallen, corrupt and sinful nature. How can we not be responsive to our old fallen nature? We must crucify it. Note, will you, it says here we crucify the flesh. It is not only something done to us (2:20) but something we must do also. It is a deliberate putting to death. Mark 8.34-35 clarifies this act for us. "He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. (35) "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it." (NAS)
Metaphorically we are to nail the desires and passions of the flesh to the cross and leave them there. We are to turn from our sins and willingly nail our sinful nature to the cross. Christians have been set free from sin’s power over us and no longer have to give into it.
Only criminals were condemned to die by crucifixion and our old nature is to be treated as a criminal. Death by crucifixion was lingering but it was certain. When we nailed the old nature to the cross by coming to faith in Christ we began the process of the gradual, but certain, death of the old nature. That death will be complete in heaven. When a criminal was crucified he was left to die but soldiers kept guard to ensure no one took him down before he died. We must leave our old natures on the cross to die and not allow them back off every so often.
[ATTITUDE CHECK] In a television interview, a Christian spoke of a certain well-known man as having a "solid relationship with Christ." That statement raised a large question mark in my mind since the man’s life is marked by vulgar speech, alcohol abuse, and flagrant womanizing. I felt the need for evidence that he hates his lifestyle and wants to be different.
The Bible clearly shows that the inner being of a Christian is a battlefield where sinful desires clash with the indwelling Holy Spirit. Sometimes sinful tendencies win, but it is in the attitude toward sin that the genuine believer and the pretender show their true colors.
The counterfeit Christian is quite comfortable with his sin. But the child of God hates his sin, confesses it, and desires victory over it. This is because "those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires". The Christian can find true peace until he confesses his sins and repudiates them. As he relies on the Holy Spirit, he enjoys a pattern of victory over sin.
What about you? Take time for an attitude check. Are you comfortable with sin in your life? If you are, you need to examine your relationship with Christ (2 Cor. 13:5). To love Christ is to hate sin.