Tag Archives: Galatians

Let the New Creature Live!

Galatians 6:15-18 (KJV)

15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen

Paul  concludes his letter with a very straight forward conlusion. He says the only thing that matters for being in Christ is that the new creature shows up. This new creature is not one that walks after the flesh but he walks in the spirit. This new creature does not display the things of this world that so often destroys but it displays a fruit of the spirit which brings life. The fruit are alive and active in everything that he does. This new creature does not take glory for itself but gives all the glory to God. This new creature is not of this world and does not answer to any authority in this world but answers to the authority of Jesus Christ and lives in heavenly places.

But this new creature must to live in this world. It must rise above difficulties and trials that come its way in this world. It should walk in joy whenever Trials Come Along. It should have peace instead of anxiety. It should have unbounding patience towards everybody that it comes in contact with. Gentleness and goodness should exude from its body and its mouth at every turn no matter what the circumstances may look like. This new creature will have faith that is undeniable both in God and in those people that it comes across. It will walk in meekness knowing that it is to esteem others more highly than itself but also knowing that inside it has the power of almighty God at its disposal. And this New creature will display self control in every area of its life so that the message is brings is always calm and reassuring.

This new creature will never have corrupt communication proceed from its mouth but it will minister grace to the hearers with every word that it says. This new creature will think on things that are just, pure,  lovely,  true and honest.   It will always listen to the good report and not the bad report. It will look at things that are virtuous and praiseworthy in those around it and not focus on the negative. This is the mindset that will always be prevalent. This new creature will be content in whatever state it is in.

When we walk according to this rule peace and mercy will follow us. What more could we ask for it? When we have peace following along behind us turmoil will avoid us and we will see that God is always at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We will place those things in His hands and know that He will bring good about through them. This piece will pervade every other emotion that we have so that we will always trust God in every situation. And we will trust him because we know that He will have mercy upon all those who follow him. His Mercy will saturate this new creatures life more and more as he grows in Christ.

When we get to this point in our walk it is like we bear the mark of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life is so infused in ours that we always walk in the place of grace and mercy. There’s never a moment that we doubt God is working in our lives. When we trust in that new creation He has put within us we know that the old man will be defeated and the new man will rise. We know that the Holy Spirit resides within our body because we are the temple of the Holy Ghost. We know that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is always on our side and will always come to our rescue. There’s not a day we doubt in our mind about this so peace and joy is always by our side.. what a wonderful place this is to live.

Paul ends his letter with the same salute that I will give you.  May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

We have come to the conclusion of Paul’s letter and I am at a loss what direction to take this blog next.  But I know God will guide me where He wants this to go, so  keep watching for what will come next.  Whatever it is, I will learn from the words He gives me as much as you will, I am sure.

Be blessed

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Give all the Glory to God

Galatians 6:11-14 (KJV)

11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

The first thing He says was here and said that he wrote this letter by his own hand. Typically a scribe would take down word for word what Paul was saying in his letters. But for the Galatians he decided to write this letter himself and it seems like he must have had large handwriting. It’s not that this letter is very long because the letters to the Corinthians are much longer. I think he’s talking about his handwriting, that he writes in a large fashion. He wanted to make this point because he wanted them to know he was really emphatic about this point concerning the law and circumcision.

At the beginning of Paul’s letter to the Galatians he spent a lot of time talking about the fact that circumcision was of the law and he was trying to minister the grace of Christ. The people who are coming around telling them they need to be circumcised were telling them a lie. They wanted them back under the law. Now towards the end of his letter he brings up the subject again. This is how much emphasis Paul wants to put on the subject of the law versus Grace. This battle still rages in the church today. The law vs grace. Saved by grace or saved by works, which is it? To me, it’s saved by grace and kept by works. There can be no other price paid for our salvation – Jesus paid it all. Thus, we do not have to do anything to recieve that salvation except to exercise the faith that God gives to every man and place that faith in Jesus Christ. Once we have done that, works of mercy should result from our lives, and we have become new creatures in Christ..

It’s also interesting to me that this of the letter comes after he talked about walking in the spirit and not walking in the flesh. In verse 12 Paul says the only reason there is to be circumcised is so you can glory in the flesh. In other words he is equating circumcision with Walking In the Flesh here. If they were going to do that it would be because they wanted to be recognized for the fact that they had done this thing. He points that those people who were telling them they needed to be circumcised were not keeping the rest of the law. They were only concerned with people keeping that one point. But keeping one part of the law does a person no good! If you’re going to keep one part, you need to keep it all. If you’re living under grace, that is not a concern.

We see this in churches today as well. There are all kinds of rules that govern this church or that church. Having Biblical doctrine has become “uncool”. So we have decided to follow our own gospel and made our own rules to be a Christian. Some might say you must receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, others will say you must be baptized to be saved. Some say you must tithe, others will say you must do work for the church to be saved. In any case, they are trying to put you under the law, not under grace.

Grace is all about God, not all about you. Grace is what called you out of darkness into an understanding of what the gospel means. Grace is what drew you to admit you were a sinner and needed a redeemer. Grace is what helped you recognize that Jesus was the only Savior. Grace was what reached into your heart and turned that stony ground to a soft clay. Grace is what began to mold and shape your heart and mind into the new creation Christ wants you to be. And grace still works today inside you to help you work out your salvation with fear and trembling. It’s all about grace, not about works.

They wanted to glory in their flesh, to be able to say the did something to be saved. But heaven forbid did any of us should ever try to glory in our flesh, or preach a message that might change their lives and then we take the glory for it. It is God that does all of it not us. He may give us a dynamic message. God will move in a mighty way and heal people and deliver people and people might get saved. We all would love to see that kind of a service in our church. But heaven forbid when that happens I should think something of myself. Let me never glory in the flesh but always turn all the glory to God and all the things that He does for us. That’s what Paul is saying in verse 14 God forbid that I should Glory.

There is no place for Glory in my life. I am a sinner and it’s only by the precious blood of Jesus Christ that I can even live a good life. He gives me strength. He gives me hope. He gives me love and joy and peace. He gives me these things so that I can give them to others. And above all things He gives me mercy and Grace. When I see His mercy and Grace alive and active in my life, I often start to weep and say Lord why me. Why do you care so much about me. Why do you lavish your mercy and grace on me. I am undeserving of any of it. Yet you shower me with blessings every single day. I cannot count the mercy that you have in my life. I cannot count the times that your grace has caught me off guard. Precious savior may I always only glory in you. May I always give you the praise for what you have done in my life May I always make sure that everybody else knows that it’s you who’s working in my life. It’s you that’s healing me from this cancer. It’s you that is giving me the strength in my legs to go on. It’s Only You Lord.

If you are getting the glory, STOP IT! Give all the glory to God. He deserves it!

Be blessed.

 

Keep Doing Good

Galatians 6:9-10 (KJV)

9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Do you ever just want to be the bad guy? I mean come on! All this doing good gets boring once in a while doesn’t it?  There’s some people you’d just like to slap or maybe even punch them in the face. After all, they offended you and they deserve it! You shouldn’t have to put your goody-two-shoes on every single day!  You shouldn’t have to be the nice guy or gal and forgive them and make like nothing happened! I mean if you offended them just think of the Facebook post you’d see!  I know there are times that I’d like to just go out and party with the rest of them. Have 3, 4  or 5 beers, maybe some wine!  Just have some fun and go crazy. It’s tiring being a nice guy and a good guy all the time. It takes a lot of work

I hope I’m not the only one that feels this way.  I might be alone and opening myself up to criticism. There are just times that I feel that way. But I get over it quickly when I think about all that God has done for me.  He never gave up on doing good to me!  Why should I give up on doing good for others?  Those people that come against us and are out there living the wild life will reap what they sow. You know the old saying – what goes around comes around. There truly is nothing new under the sun (Eccl 1:9). Things just go in cycles and eventually everyone will get their due reward.

Our responsibility is to plant seeds in other people’s lives. You never know which seed is going to sprout and grow.  You never know what effect you have on somebody.  Maybe you baked them a pie or waved at them when you were going down the street. These good deeds will not go unrewarded either.  Jesus says we will reap if we don’t faint – if we don’t give up – if we don’t stop doing what He’s asking us to do. Those words “if we faint not” are important because it tells us that we need to keep on doing the works that Christ gives us to do.  To faint means to grow weak in those things and not have the strength to continue to do them.  When we get into this position mentally we run into trouble.  God really wants us to accomplish what He set us out to do and that is doing good. Phil 1:6 tells us the God will complete the work that He began in us.  Remember the fruit of goodness?  It was the one that did the will of God around other people. Is that a  fruit that you are cultivating in your life?

So what opportunities do you see on a daily basis? Doesn’t it seem like there’s always somebody you can help?  My wife has to make some strawberry pies and needs the strawberries cut up. So I’m going to do that today.  I have the opportunity and I’m going to do good this morning.  I have to put up some curtains to block off a section of the front foyer so that my granddaughter can sleep there when she comes up the next couple weeks.  That’s doing good. I really can’t tell you how many times I’ve done good already today because I lose track. I do try to take every opportunity to do good.  How about you? Is it a priority in your life to help somebody else today?

Is it a priority in your heart to help people within your own church family?  What talents do you have that you could share with others.  Remember the early church of Acts?  here is the description of that church

Acts 4:32-35 (KJV)
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Granted, this is talking about their possessions.  I believe that they also shared their trade abilities. They are the abilities we possess, after all, so they are our possessions.  God has given them to us, not to hoard but to share with others.  He has also given them to us to earn a living.  He wants us to use wisdom to decide when and where we can share them with fellow believers pro bono.  God will reveal that to us if we prayerfully ask Him.  Once again, this is part of doing good, which we should never cease from doing.

Bless Those Who Teach You

Galatians 6:6-8 (KJV)

6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting

How are you at letting your pastor know that you enjoyed his sermon? I would say many of us probably do okay with that. But this verse tells us to take it one step further. He says we should communicate good things to those who teach. We should tell our pastors why that message was good for us and what we will do to improve our lives because of his message. Did the message speak to an area where I was struggling, or something I was dealing with? Perhaps his message gave me inspiration in my studies. I know many times I tell me Pastor his message inspired a message I was to preach. Or he inspired a poem (which sometimes I write as he preaches because I will forget it after).

The same thing applies to our Sunday school teachers. How does the Sunday School lesson apply to me? How can I put it to use in my life? What areas of my life can be improved because of that Sunday school message? Am I involved in the lesson that day, answering questions that are asked? Do I take the time to read the lesson ahead of time? All of these things will be a blessing to your teacher.

I can speak from experience that there is no more encouragement and edification for a Sunday school teacher or minister then to hear what truth somebody pulled out of their message. It shows that we were listening and that we were listening with intent. It shows that we are teachable and interested in hearing what they have to say. It lets them know the Holy Spirit is moving on hearts and minds through the message. This is powerful in letting them know they are hearing from God and delivering something good for the hearer. Believe me, as a minister, it is easy to wonder if you reached anybody sometimes. I realize it is only our duty to present what God has given us. But it is hard when no one says anything after the service. It’s not that our pride needs to hear the words. It is just confirmation to us that God has worked through us to touch the people.

One thing that you should not do is tell them what they did wrong. That should be done in a private setting especially if they aired from the truth because it might take a longer discussion and no one should be privy to that except you and that teacher. There is a time and a place for correction, but you better make sure you study it out before you go to am Pastor or teacher and tell them they are in error. Then make an appointment with them and let them know you have some questions about their message. Go in love and ask the questions as you search for the truth. I have also done this with my Pastor, and usually find that I am wrong in what I thought he said. I then thanked him for the clarification, and he thanked me for pointing it out the misunderstanding. It turned out to be edifying for both of us. The main thing we need to do is to edify them that are communicating good things to us by communicating good things back to them.

Now think about who else teaches you. How about your wife? Do you learn lessons from your children, no matter what age? How about your bosses at work? This should not only apply to people that are teaching the word although that is what Paul is referring to. We should communicate good things that we have learned to those that are special and important in our lives. This will do the same thing for them as it does for a minister or Sunday school teacher. Let’s do all we can to encourage those that teach us in life.

Verses 7 & 8 we have all heard over and over again. The things that we do will come back to haunt us or bless us. Which would you prefer getting? I look at all the people that sow negatively all the time and I wonder if they realize that all they’re doing is multiplying the negative things in their life when they do that. I wonder if they realize that if they would just start contemplating the good things and the mercy that’s happening to them instead of the bad things that their life would turn around and improve. It might take some time but we will always reap what we sow in every area of life. I was just having this discussion with my daughter this morning. My middle daughter is going through a tough stretch in life right now, and she has been sowing more negativity than I have ever seen her. We both agreed that she needs to try and pick herself up in that area. I talked to her a little bit this afternoon, but we got interrupted before I could get to this., She said she’d call me back and I hope she does.

I think people forget what impact a simple Facebook post can have! It is a wonderful medium, and I love to use it, but I do not use it to post my personal life very often. I use it to update people on my cancer progress (which is very good by the way), post my poems, and occasionally some updates on house projects or family events. Rarely do I use it to voice my political concerns, sports loyalties or religious viewpoints. Ven more rarely will I post my moods or feelings. People misinterpret thing, they take them the wrong way, the read into things and make up their own stories and gossip from a simple Facebook post. Let’s all be careful what we put out there. We will reap what we sow!

I love this medium (WordPress) because we choose who we want to follow and stay in our comfort zoned or maybe go a bit outside when choosing. Most times the comments are constructive and on target. I have run across very little spam. It’s a safe environment to air your views if you like. If people want to stay away from it they will!

I like especially that the portion on sowing and reaping is after the listing of the fruit of the spirit in the previous chapter. We talked about this when talking about the Fruit of the Spirit. When we saw joy we will reap Joy. When we sow peace we will reap peace. As we do these things in every area of fruit we will find those things come more alive in our lives. That’s why Paul goes on to say that if we sow to the flesh we will reap of the flesh and those things will corrupt us. If we sow gossip we will reap gossip. If we sow backbiting we will reap backbiting. If we sow negative thoughts we will reap negative thought. But if we sow of the spirit everlasting life is the result. I think I’d rather take the latter

There is no end to the list of things we can sow and reap. Our task is to sow good things into other peoples lives. This includes our communication (verses 6-7) with others. It includes our disposition around others. Every area of our lives is governed by the law of sowing and reaping. We often tend to apply it to our financial resources only. I pray you will not do that anymore. It does cover that area, but there is so much more to it. Walk in the Spirit and allow this truth to build you up in the Lord continually.

Be blessed!

Guard Against Pride

Galatians 6:3-5 (KJV)

For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

For every man shall bear his own burden.

Am I deceiving myself? When anyone thinks that they am something special or that they have accomplished mighty things by themselves they are deceiving themselves. Others may think they are a special person, or have special gifts and talents, and that is fine.  They might see gifts flowing through that person and realize God has blessed them in certain ways, and in their eyes that person is special.  But when they start believing that in their special-ness, and start to verbalize that belief, they are in trouble. Everything good that we do and everything we have comes from God. When we start to take credit for it then pride is rising up within us.  Pride will always deceive us. We must guard against the appearance of pride in our lives.

You cannot get rid of this pride.  It is an element of our flesh.  You can only learn to control it, but first you must acknowledge it is there.  Until you do that, you have lost the battle.  Once you acknowledge it is there, then you can start to guard against it.  The best way to guard against pride is to have somebody who will help you watch for it. It must be somebody you can trust and that you allow yourself to be accountable to. It always comes down to your decision to listen or not to listen. In my case my accountability partner is my wife. She sees pride in me very quickly and very easily. She knows when it is rising up. When I went through my struggles years ago with pride I came home and I gave her permission to point out pride anytime it came up in my life and I promised her that I would listen. Through these last 10 years I can’t tell you how many times my pride has crept back up. And every time she has corrected me I have listened.

How can she tell that pride is creeping up? My pride will manifest in several   ways.  The first is know-it-all pride. I demand that I know better about something and I boast that I know the right way. I demand in my way be listened to despite her saying that it will hurt or it’ll do damage. Or I might diminish someone else’s ability.  These are all signs of know-t-all pride.  Plus there’s the most obvious one – the person who always says “I Know” when you are trying to help them correct something.   They think they know, but since they have not done anything about it yet, they really don’t know.  I was there and still find myself there a lot.  When I get in these situations, my wife is quick to point them out now.  When I listen to her I can look back and see how I was wrong and I go and ask her forgiveness. This is the one I struggle with the most.

Another area of pride is needing to be in control. I was always a very controlling person. I had to have my way, or I had to have my way followed.  I want to direct the choir, and I haven’t the foggiest idea what we are singing! But I’ve learned it it’s much better to roll with the punches so to say. It is easy for her to point out when I get controlling because once she says something I usually recognize it right away and I back off. In most cases I have not been given the authority to be in control. Turns out I’m robbing that authority from somebody else. I must guard against this all the time.

These are the two types of pride that I struggle with the most.  Some other types are vanity, a haughty spirit (arrogance),  unapproachable pride, spiritual pride, and so on.  I challenge you to ask God to show you the ways pride rises up in your life. I pray God will send an accountability partner to you that can help you with your pride so that you do not think you are something when you are nothing. The last thing we need to do is to be deceiving ourselves.  Because when we deceive ourselves, we certainly deceive others.  Deception is never God’s  way!

Proving your own work is not prideful. It is showing that we have done the research and done what God has asked us to do.  God desires to work through us to accomplish His means not our own. So when you are looking over the works of your hands, the words that come out of your mouth and the thoughts that are in your heart, who gets the glory for those? When you prove these things out, do they bring glory to you or to God? If they are bringing you glory then there is something amiss. But if they are bringing God glory then your work is proven and you can rejoice in it.

I often get many compliments on the beauty of the poems and songs that God gives me and I write down. It is imperative that I do not think these songs and poems come from me. I cannot start to think that I created them.  They are not the work of my mind and my words, they are God’s. When I start to think they are mine, I am in trouble.  It is then that I will start to accept the glory for myself. It is my obligation to deflect all the glory to God and let people know that these words were given by God and I am just a vessel. Even

Now we come to what seems like a contradicting from verse 2 where Paul writes that we should bear one another’s burden. He now says we should bear our own burdens. But both are true. We need to lift one another up with intercessory prayer and help others through the trials and tests that they face. That is one of our primary calls as Christians – top intercede.  Another is the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:11-21).  Both have to do with bearing the other persons burden.  At the same time we must make sure that we are walking on the straight and narrow. We must be doing what God is asking us to do and not becoming proud or boastful about it. Then we are putting the other person first and not ourselves.

If we are not bearing our own burden then we will find ourselves drifting away from God instead of drawing near to him. There is no middle ground. You’re always going one direction or the other and I have convinced that if you’re falling away from God you’re not bearing your own burden. You’re not studying the word as you should be or you’re not spending time with God In prayer. You’re not praising Him as you should be. You’re taking the glory for yourself instead of giving the glory to Him. That’s what happens when you don’t bear your own burden. These are all things that you should be doing on a regular basis. And you should be doing them with joy but God loves a cheerful Giver. He loves it when you give yourself to him wholeheartedly.

Through your day today remember to bear your burden and bear your brother’s burden. Imagine if you’re bearing his burden and he’s bearing yours on a daily basis!  When trouble comes, you are there to help each other through.  When the storms arise, you offer a safe haven to talk and weep about the pain and suffering that is going on.  When it’s time to rejoice, you rejoice together.  Neither of you think of himself as better or superior, and n either of you take credit for the success of the other.  That goes to God!  This is how it should be.  This is the love of Christ manifesting itself in our lives.

 That’s really all Paul is after here.  He wants us to follow Christ, and give of the love that He gave to us.  Let us all go and do so!

Restore Your Brother

Galatians 6:1-2 (KJV)

1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Is there anyone reading this who has not, at one time or another, been overtaken in a fault? I would guess at one time or another, we have all stumbled in our walk with the Lord. The Greek word used here is paraptóma, which means a falling away, lapse, sin or trespass. In the KJV, it is usually translated offence, while in other translations it is commonly trespass. It is from the root word that means to side-step or fall back. The meaning we can take from it is that this person has fallen back into a previous sin, or has become wayward in their walk with the Lord. This person has been overtaken and needs help.

Throughout the Bible, God warns His people about this kind of condition. In the Old Testament we see this addressed several times. In Deuteronomy 28:14r, Moses tells the people not to turn aside from the commands of God, not to the right or the left to serve other idols and other gods. After finishing their wandering in the wilderness, they are told not to veer to the right or to the left from God’s law (Joshua 1:7). In Proverbs 4:27, turning to the right or the left is equated with doing evil. In every case, we are looking aft a person who has wandered off the path toward God. And Paul says it is our duty to restore them!

I’m going to get very personal now because it is the best way I can tell you how this works. In the past, I have had a problem with pornography. It got so bad that I was looking at things on company computers. I had they keys to our various locations, and I would travel there early to fulfill my lust. I even printed things out on our top of the line copiers. To top that off, I am the one who wrote the company policy the dos and don’ts of computer usage. My actions were the height of pride. I thought myself above the very rules that I had written.

When it was discovered what I had been doing, I was immediately terminated. Twenty years down the drain. When I got home, I called my wife and asked her tom come home early from work. I then spilled it out to her. She said we needed to get with my Pastor, so we did that as soon as he was available – the next day. I had lied to him too, and he was deeply hurt. He said to give him a little time to think about what to do next. I had disgraced him and his church.

The result of his inquiries was a place called Pure Life Ministries. PLM was a destination for people with sexual sin, especially those in leadership in a church. I would have to raise a lot of money up front, be gone for at least 6 months, and leave my family behind. But my Pastor said I would never set foot in his church again if I did not go. With the full support of my wife and family, I went and it was the best thing I have ever done for myself and for my family.

Meanwhile my wife decided to go back to a church we had gone to before for 10 years. They accepted her in with open arms, and when I returned they accepted me as well. No questions, no love lost, no regrets. I told the Pastor at that church why I had been gone and it did not phase him in the least. They loved us back into God’s grace. They strengthened my wife so she was strong enough to see the whole thing out. This was 10 years ago.

Today, we are still at that church. I am back in ministry and free from the sexual sin that had made me turn to the right and the left. My wife and I will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary this November. While our marriage suffered tremendously, we still love each other. My kids are all wonderful and loving. Had it not been for those people who restored us when the world came tumbling down around us, we would have tumbled along with it.

This is what Paul is talking about. There is a saying that the church is one place that eats its own wounded. I have seen this happen as well. Someone falls into sin, and the church turns its back on them. They want top cast out the person who has sinned. Yes, Paul does talk about this in Corinthians, but he is talking about continual open sin. Not a slip or fall. Jesus tells us to go directly to a person who is overtaken in a fault. If that does not restore them, we should take someone with us the second time. If that does not work, then bring it up before the church. Finally, they should be asked to leave the church. Without following the right steps, we are walking to the left or the right of the law ourselves.

The other danger is that we will be drawn away into our own pitfall. If we allow pride to set in, and turn against the one who is struggling, we are guilty as well. That is why Paul says we should restore them in the spirit of meekness. Meekness helps us to understand it is God who is doing the restoring, not us. As we allow the spirit of God to work through us, and put our own thoughts and ambitions behind us, all of us will be the better for it. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap!

Bearing each other’s burdens means we uphold each other, encourage each other, forgive each other and love each other. I love Ephesians 4:29 in this context:

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

That it may minister grace to the hearers. That is what we are supposed to be – ministers of grace. We were given an incredible amount of grace. We should be giving that grace to others. How do we minister grace? We walk in the Spirit, displaying the fruit of the spirit at every turn. How do we do that? We stay close to God ourselves, not turning to the right or the left.

The end of verse 2 says that by doing this, we fulfill the law of Christ.  You might wonder how obeying these two simple verses fulfill the law of Christ.  There is so much more that we can do.  What about winning souls?  Opening blind eyes?  Praying for the sick?   Feeding the hungry?  Clothing the naked?  How does this fulfill the law of Christ?  It’s really quite simple.  The law of Christ can be summed up in one word – Mercy.  When we show mercy, we are doing the work of Christ.  His whole mission was Mercy.  He was Mercy in the flesh.  When we are doing the Father’s business, we are doing mercy.

My mercy guide your every thought, word and action.  Let everyone see that you are all about mercy.  Let mercy be the deciding factor in every decision you need to make.  Let mercy reign!

 

Crucify the Flesh

Galatians 5:24-26 (KJV)

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

After telling his readers about the fruit of the spirit, and how they are necessary to our walking in the spirit instead of in the flesh, Paul goes one step further.  He says we who follow Christ have crucified the flesh and the affections and lusts that go with it.  To really get a grip on what Paul is  saying here, we have to understand what crucifixion does to a person.  It’s easy for is to say we need to just die to those things.  It is an altogether different thing to say we must crucify them.

All of us most likely have a picture of what crucifixion looks like.  A cross is the typical method by which this torture is carried out.  Make no mistake – this is torture.  A person is attached to the cross by nails through their wrists and upper ankle.   The position of the spike is important because the bone structure around it must be abled to withstand the weight of the person and also provide the strength for the person to pull or push with those extremities.  A very small step is usually under the feet of the victim so they can push themselves up on that perch to breath once in a while.   The cross is then raised up and dropped into a whole, causing the victim to feel the pressure of the restraints all over his body.

Now it is a matter of time.  The position of the victim is that he must push up with his feet to breath, but he can only maintain that for a short period of time before he mustfall down.  His arms then have to hold his weight.  Eventually, the shoulders give out and come out of the socket.  This makes pulling himself up even harder and more painful, so he droops down, conflicting his chest so he can barely breath.  Usually the cause of death is suffocation – the victim just cannot breath anymore.  The pain is unbearable all the time and it is most likely a welcome relief when death finally comes.

Anyone who says it is easy to get rid of our desire to fulfill our fleshly desires is fooling themselves.  First of all, we cannot do it ourselves – we need Christ as our strength to rid ourselves of these things.  If we try to do it in our own strength, we will most likely fail.  Some things God takes away – I believe that.  God took away my filthy tongue when I got saved.  He has since taken away my alcoholism and my drug abuse.  I am so glad He took those things.  Those were easy for me to get rid of.  But there are other things that keep haunting me, keep coming back up in my thought life.  These will take more – these will take crucifixion!

Crucifying those things mean that I deny them air.  I deny them sight.  I deny them hearing.  I deny them through all my senses.  It takes a complete effort throughout my entire being to overcome these things.  Things like pornography, lascivious thoughts, enjoying inappropriate jokes, making rude comments – all of these take a concerted effort on our part to be gone.  This is why Paul uses the term “affections and lusts” when telling us we must crucify the flesh.  Other actions and mannerisms go easy compared to these.  Believe me, I am a living example of that truth.  If you have any experience with pornography you will know exactly what I am talking about.  If you do not, it will be hard for you to understand how this insidious sin gets inside those of us who have fallen into it’s clutches.  If you know someone who has, be gentle and loving.  It is a lifelong battle.  Crucifying that flesh is not a pleasant thing, and they need all the support they can get.

Once we have arrived at the point that we can live in the Spirit, we must also walk in the Spirit.  It is not enough for us to just live our own life in the Spirit, separate from the world.  We must walk in the Spirit day in and day out.  This is how we plant those seeds we talked about so frequently when discussing the Fruit of the Spirit.  It is our duty to go out and be fruitful!  The world needs to see the fruit on display often, because the world is sorely lacking in these wonderful things God gives us.  They will only see it if we walk in the Spirit all the time.  Put aside your wicked tongue and walk in the gentleness and goodness of a tamed tongue.  Throw out your need to be recognized and treat others with the patience and meekness God has instilled within you.   And by all means show Love, peace  and joy wherever you go!

Last but not least, in his urging us to walk in the Spirit, Paul tells us to put down our pride.  He tells us to stop seeking man’s approval and to stop envying each other.  He tells us to not be someone who provokes others.  The Fruit of the Spirit has nothing to do with those things.  We are to be peacemakers, lifting up others ahead of ourselves.  There is no room for pride in someone who Walks in the Spirit.  We will quickly find ourselves following after our own gain if pride is left to unchecked.  I beseech you to ask God to search your heart, and to remove every bit of pride that rises up against the Spirit and it’s Fruit.  Only God can reveal this to you.