Life or death?
Which one would you choose?
I would think you would choose life, but you may not realize that you are actually choosing death.
Let me explain...
Yesterday, my family and I went to hear one of my good friend's preach.
He brought a very convicting message and we were blessed to hear it.
Our reading was Galatians 5:16-24:
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
A little fact about me: I can be very indecisive. Sometimes it's very hard for me to make decisions. It's a problem that I'm working on, that's for sure.
My friend, as he was preaching, made me realize that decision making can be quite easy.
He said, "reduce it down to the simplest form...does it feed the spirit or the flesh?"
I had never thought of it that way.
When I am making a decision, I should focus on my motive.
Am I doing this for me? Will it bring me closer to God or will distance me from Him? Will it feed the Spirit or my flesh?
He said something else that really stood out to me...
"Choose the spirit...it frees you from the law...it's impossible to be perfect."
A lot of people think that Christianity is all about rules. You can't do this, but you can do that. Actually, it's not that way at all. Jesus has freed us from the law (10 Commandments). The 10 Commandments prove that we can never be perfect and we desperately need Jesus, only Jesus was perfect. Being a Christian, is not about doing good works, it's about being in relationship with God and following His will. When we choose the Spirit, then good works should become natural to us.
I can't wake up one morning and say,
"Okay, I am going to be kind, patient, gentle, good and have self-control today."
It doesn't work that way, because I don't have the power to do that since I am imperfect. I am sure to mess up at some point, because I am sinful creature. BUT when I make a point to be in the Spirit (meaning reading the Bible, praying, being in community with other believers, worshiping), God will help me to be all those things because those are the fruit of the Spirit. Those are things that can only come from being in Christ.
Just like watering an apple tree....you have to give it all the nutrients it needs in order for it to bear fruit, but if you don't it is sure to die.
I have to water myself with God and He will bring the good out of me.
He is the only one that can.
Does that make sense? I hope so.
That is living in the Spirit, but what about living in the flesh?
Well, "living by the flesh leads to unintended destruction/consequences."
If we choose to live by our selfish desires, consequences are sure to follow and not good consequences either. When we live in the Spirit, we produce good consequences. When we live in the flesh, we produce bad consequences.
These consequences are unintended because I doubt that anyone wakes up in the morning saying, "I want to go to prison today." I highly doubt that people seek a life of bad consequences on purpose.
I'm sure if you were to ask a prisoner if he/she wanted to end up there, they would probably say no, but because of a selfish decision they have found themselves in a prison cell. Whether it be drugs, alcohol, lying, cheating, stealing...these are all choices of the flesh, not of the Spirit. Doing those things may satisfy you at the moment, but in the long run, it can only lead to destruction. When you choose the flesh, you are heading for death. Maybe it's not physical death, but more importantly it leads to spiritual death.
Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
So when you go to make a decision which will you choose...
Spirit or flesh?
Life or death?
Who will you serve - you or God?
This week's reading for the year long reading plan:
Today - Leviticus 14-15
Tomorrow - chapters 16-18
Wednesday - chapters 19-21
Thursday - chapters 22-23
Friday - chapters 24-25
Saturday - chapters 26-27
Sunday - catch up day, if needed!