Do you know the feeling… you read and read and read in the Bible, constantly listen to the teachings, and even think you pray quite a bit – but even so, you feel like God is far away – or rather you just can’t feel the freedom and joy, we have been promised…
I was just sitting here reading in…
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
Walking in the Spirit I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Because it is not about WANTING to give things up… WANTING to stop criticizing, slandering, sexual sin, immorality, and perversity; idolatry and occultism; hatred, arguing, and envy; short-temperedness and selfish ambition; cliques and jealousy; drunkenness and orgies.
I have seen Christians who are totally “on fire” on the surface, who have had huge problems with sexual sin, anger, and all the other things – and they experience anything but peace.
…but if we keep reading, it says precisely that what the Holy Spirit brings out in us is: love, peace and joy, patience and charity, goodness and faithfulness – men note that we only get those things after we “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” and made the choice of “I WILL” – and then, as we struggle to let go of everything listed as a sin and choose “I WILL”, we will open the gifts of the Spirit one by one.
– if we try, every time we feel slighted, to instead bless, help, and reach out, then we are actually taking on the devil and conquering territory for Christ instead.