Read Galatians 5:13-26
We are called to be free, Paul writes, but he never says that this freedom will be easy. It is a free gift, but becoming free of the “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension and factions, envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like” can be incredibly painful. When sin grips our heart, the Evil One does his best to keep it that way.
Thankfully, our God is stronger! When we turn to Him and rely on Him as we rid ourselves of sin, He provides the strength to stand firm. That does not mean that it will be easy, but that it is doable.
As we remove sin from our lives, we must also take on the fruit of the Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” It can also be painful to adjust our lives to the fruit of the Spirit. We have to humble ourselves to a place where we put others above ourselves (v. 14) and crucify our “flesh with its passions and desires.”
As we spend more time in the Word and cast aside the ways of the world, the fruit of the Spirit will become more natural, but there will always be room to grow and we will always have to fight against our sinful nature to become more like Jesus.
When I think of godly men and women that I know, I immediately think of the way they love me and others around them. Their joyful spirits and the peace they demonstrate in relationships paired with their patience when I don’t understand something makes me gravitate towards them. Their tolerance in love, the way they treat people and how they work to do good works to honor God, how faithful they are to their people and most importantly to God, and the way they control themselves is inspiring. I want to be like them.
Today, pick one of the fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Then invite God’s Spirit to make that even stronger in your life. Maybe you struggle with patience; today is the day, with the Spirit’s help, to work on patience. Surrender to the Spirit of God and set aside the deeds of the flesh.
Maybe you take one each week for 9 weeks and work on it. Just imagine what would happen in your life and the lives of those around you if you took this challenge!