Lifelines:

Does our life line up well with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)? Will someone who reads that list think of us? It is the kind of life that many dream of having but few find. Flesh and Spirit battle for dominance. One makes those attributes impossible, and the other makes them inevitable. These qualities come as a result of responding to the right stimulus.

There is a conflict within each of us. Flesh or Spirit? Which one will be the overriding principle for our decision making and action taking. It all starts in our mind. We tend to pass the buck. I acted as I did because of circumstances. It is the Eve excuse. That serpent made me do it. The Adam excuse. That woman made me do it. No, the truth is that we choose. Things happen. We react. Either flesh or Spirit will determine how. Each has its own set of outcomes.

Deception always lingers on the edge of our thoughts. Someone (Wonder who?) is always telling us that it is okay to act in unspiritual ways. It is not. There is a harvest that comes with that sowing (Galatians 6:7-8). Seeds of carnality bring a crop of corruption. The Lord rescued us from that, but poor choices will take us right back to it. Spiritual seeds germinate and grow into a harvest of eternal life. It is our choice which we want but not how to achieve it.

The fruit is attractive. The process is grueling. Shrugging off those longings that are prompted by our human side wears us down. Fatigue weakens our resistance to acting on impulse. “Pray,” Jesus said (Mark 14:38). It is a tough war. One side of us is committed and ready. Another is feeble and fumbling. We pick which one will control us. Temptation is everywhere. We sidestep one and run into another. Look for the escape route. God promised that there will always be one (1 Corinthians 10:13), but we have to find it.

We must set our minds to it. A half-hearted commitment will eventually be no commitment. A spiritual journey is filled with continuous self-denial, daily cross-bearing and absolute devotion to re-enacting His way, not ours. It is also filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). A bumper crop of the fruit of the Spirit awaits those who sow spiritual seeds. We cannot have one without the other. How is your harvest?

Call to Praise Scripture: John 13:34-35

His word on it: 1 John 3:18

Sermon: “Aim High”