Interestingly, today Blackaby picked up on the marriage theme that I was thinking about earlier. His analogy is thus:
When you walk in harmony, love and complete sacrifice of yourself to your family, each person experiences all you are and have to offer day after day.
I like that. Especially the “experiences all you are and have to offer” part. That is what I think my relationship with SU is approaching. After 26 years of marriage. So it comes as no shock to me that my relationship with the Holy Spirit is not as well developed, for the simple reason that I haven’t put nearly that amount of time or effort towards it.
His main point today was that if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I will produce fruit. He included a short exercise to write down my own observations of the fruits of the Spirit as listed in Gal 5:22,23. As listed in the NET translation, they are:
love, ï»¿ joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,ï»¿ gentleness, andï»¿ï»¿ self-control.
Did okay until I came to self-control; that is an obstacle for me, always has been. The others I can readily see the impact that the Holy Spirit has had on but that self-control thing, it’s just my nemesis.
For some reason, I wrote down “don’t confuse gentleness with softness or weakness”. I think that is probably because people tend to think that because I’m so laid back and easygoing that I as weak. They soon find that I’m not but it does bug me once in a while that people think that.
Another thing that I jotted down is that “there are descriptions all over the Bible for how to live as Christ”. Obviously that is because one of the things I hear constantly from the guys in my class and elsewhere, what does it mean? Reading through Galatians 5:13-26 today reminded me that it is really easy to know, if you want to.
Galatians 5:13â€“15 It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch outâ€”in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?
16â€“18 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?
19â€“21 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.
22â€“23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchardâ€”things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
23â€“24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for goodâ€”crucified.
25â€“26 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.