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Over the past few months I’ve been meditating, studying and praying over the attributes of God because I desire to know my Creator, Abba Father, more intimately. While doing this, God has given me the desire to know the attributes He calls all who live by the Spirit to live by. The attributes He enables all who believe in His Son, Jesus, to have.
Galatians chapter 5 tells us not to get caught up trying to justify our actions within the law. We are to faithfully follow Jesus, who is all about relationships. We are to act in a way that mimics how Jesus lived while here on earth. Our lives are to be pleasing, glorifying and honoring to God, our creator and sustainer.
We should not blame others for our actions because we are each given freewill and the ability to make choices. Do you choose to be persuaded by the lies of Satan, who wants to steal, kill and destroy everything good? Or do you choose to look past the frustrating, hard, painful, sorrowful circumstances you may experience occasionally throughout your life? Which do you think is pleasing to God- causing confusion or bringing encouragement to others? Which do you prefer, being confused or encouraged?
We are reminded that the freedom we are given through Christ Jesus was not so we could gratify our desires, but rather to humbly serve one another in love. The law we are to focus on and live by is to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to treat everyone, regardless of how they treat us, the way we wish to be treated. Would you rather receive love, grace and mercy from those around you as you stumble through difficult times in your life? Or would you rather everyone around you have high expectations and demands regardless of the your personal struggles?
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:26
Galatians chapter 5, verses 22-23 is where we find the Fruit of the Spirit. Over the next 9 weeks I will take a look at each attribute to see what it should look like in our lives as we live them out in our every day lives. Today I’d like to look at verses 19-21 and verse 26 where we are given attributes not to live by, which are as follows:
- Sexual Immorality~ Going beyond proper bounds with our bodies
- Impurity~ Doing things to please man, not God
- Debauchery~ Lack of restraint, easily allured from your duties
- Idolatry~ Placing something above God
- Witchcraft~ Seeking wisdom, guidance and understanding from something other than God
- Hatred~ Intense dislike or hostility toward
- Discord~ Lack of harmony with others, being harsh with others
- Jealousy~ Desiring what other have
- Fits of Rage~ Violent anger toward another
- Selfish Ambition~ Doing things to help yourself not others
- Dissensions~ Quarreling with others
- Factions~ To purposely cause division
- Envy~ Being upset others have things you desire
- Drunkenness~ Overcome by power
- Orgies~ Uncontrolled gratification of desires
- Conceited~ To flatter and talk about yourself above others
- Provoking~ To purposely annoy someone
I don’t know about you, but I struggle, on a regular basis, with many of these attributes. I often find myself feeling jealous when hearing of others doing things or going places I wish I could. Sometimes I purposely do something to annoy someone just because I can and I find their reaction funny. It’s cheap entertainment. The word debauchery sounds like such an evil thing (at least in my mind it does). But I must confess, I’m easily lured away from my duties. SQUIRREL! Which attribute listed do you struggle with most often?
The wonderful news is God does not expect us to change who we are or stop being who we think we need to be. God knows we can’t. As we seek to know God, study His Word, spend time with Him in prayer, He and He alone will change our heart. This will cause a ripple effect that will cause our thoughts, words and actions to change. The attributes of the old will fade away as the new attributes of the Holy Spirit, the Fruit of the Spirit, will pour out of us naturally.
My prayer for us today~ Father God, You know our heart and our deepest desires. I pray You would show us an attribute of ours that does not bring glory to You and help us replace it with an attribute that honors You, Amen.