Fruit of the Spirit, Part IX
Galatians 5: 16-21
Here is a list of the vices of sin that abuse others and us and should not have a hold on us. They cause us to hurt and in turn, hurt others. These are unjust and all they do is bring us unpleasantness and bitterness. When this happens, we must seek to break the bonds that destroy others and us. Our beliefs must affect our behaviors; our language must affect and reflect our faith. If not, our faith and thinking are skewed or even absent (Eph. 4:31; James 1:19-20; 3:9-10).
· Sexual immorality. Our word "pornography" comes from the Greek word "porneia." This is any kind of sexual function outside of a husband and wife. This includes lust, which is the evil desire that traps us and brings down others who are around us-the very opposite of God's call for us. The world sees this as "un-blamable," an obsession to be freely and universally allowed and practiced. Today, we make excuses saying it is genetics; creative excuses were fathomed in the ancient world too. ("I was made that way.") I guess the genetics excuse is nothing new! This is the violation of the seventh commandment.
· Impurity means moral uncleanness, as to be callous and unconcerned with truth or the true benefit of self and others. The Christian life is also about being responsible! Our human tendency is to persuade others to agree with our views. This leads to corruption, and all that is evil. God's purpose is to get us in line with His views, which are pure. Yet, so many Christians spend their time as pursuers of argumentation and not pursuers of holiness (Eph. 5:3-4)!
· Debauchery means open display of public sin, like being shameless; this is unrestrained indulgence, seeking sinful, physical gratification, or giving in to one's desires. This leads to being merciless and unscrupulous in one's dealings with others and causes us to injure others out of spite, meanness, or revenge.
· Idolatry and witchcraft, meaning worshiping things that are not God, because we cannot serve two masters. When our attention is divided, we cannot be attentive to either one. We may not bow to physical idols today, but we may have what is worse, the focus on possessions and power. They become our idols and we worship them (1 John 5:21). Our identity, and personification of who we are becomes branded by what we have, and not who we are in Christ. When this happens, all of our Christian life will be affected. Those around us will get the wrong impression of Christ as He is reflected in a skewed way (Rev. 9:21; 18:23).
· Hatred. Here, it is extreme dislike that leads to antagonism towards other groups in the church because of race or wealth or position or anything. This causes the destruction of current and paternal quality relationships; it kills, causing wars and revulsion of church and society. Being hateful will put an end to our effectiveness in being a reflection of Christ's character and call.This is a call to be in control of our temper as the steel containment vessel for the sinful nature we all have. The Holy Spirit will restrain us but only in the parameters of our will to control it (Rom. 8:11; 2 Thess. 2:6; 1 John 4:4). Remember, temper is a valuable commodity that we are called to cultivate and care for; so, do not lose it!
· Discord, meaning unjust conflict, injustice, quarreling, disorder, and chaos from a spirit of disunity rooted in pride. This blocks harmony and forgiveness among us because of our active conflict creating factions and hurt. This is also how we use words for vainglory, to deliberately slander, malign, and not to seek the truth.
· Jealousy is being envious and or distrusting toward others because we are being self centered and not focused upon Christ. We become hostile toward others, intolerant, inciting rivalry and unfaithfulness. We are also tempted to compare ourselves with others and often, that leads to our putting others down. It is also envy, the thought that leads to the action and the desire to take what is not ours from others (the 10th commandment!). Be aware that jealousy, un-forgiveness, and envy will incite your anger. Expect it, and have a plan to handle it (Proverbs 3:31; 6:32 -35; 23:17; 27:4).
· Fits of rage and anger, uncontrolled temper, malice, slander, and filthy language are the vices of sin that abuse others and us and should not have a hold on us. These are unjust and all they do is bring out our unpleasantness and bitterness. When this happens, we must seek to break the bonds that destroy others and us. Our beliefs must affect our behaviors; our language must affect and reflect our faith. If not, our faith and thinking are skewed or even absent (Rom. 13:13; Eph. 4:31; James 1:19-20; 3:9-10). God is demanding us to control our anger. Why? Because it incites violence, it destroys relationships and community, and it does not solve problems. It closes off our minds and hearts from God and others, and keeps us from seeing and understanding God and His instruction (Prov. 14:29, 15:18; 16:32;29:11; 22; Eccles. 7:9; Matt. 18:15-17; 21:12-13; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 4:25-27).
· Selfish ambition comes from our pride and attitude that we are better than another. This signifies not just taking advantage of a situation, but mowing others down in a bad way or bad motive for evil's sake. This means we are self-focused by our own hearts and minds, and not God's, so there is no room for anything else, such as "good." This mentality then overflows to everyone else like peer pressure, dares, thinking solely of what's good for "me," extreme excess and personal pleasures, and how to infect others. It can be from going too far in bargaining at a market to having more than what is just in any dealings with others. This is common in people from rich to poor, taking advantage, not seeking to get a good deal. Taken too far, it hurts and takes advantage of the weaker, less fortunate person (Phil. 2:3).
· Dissensions, is quarreling to the point that we are in rebellion toward God, even if we are just rebelling against His other children because we harbor hurts and refuse to forgive and thus line up for war instead. This is because we focus on what we want and not what God wants or what is best for our families and church. If we are prideful or have personal agendas contrary to God's, we will fall short of growing in Him and at leading His church. We will not practice the leader love to the people He brings us to love and care for and thus will inspire them into rebellion and apostasy (1 Sam. 15: 23).
· Factions show us that we can become so consumed with arrogance, insolence, haughtiness, and regarding others with contempt, as if they were unworthy of any contact with us because we feel we are better than anyone else that we create division in our homes and in our churches.
· Envy is the desire to have what others have, their gifts or positions or possessions, and seek to manipulate or put them down. Paul called an envious person an idolater. He said to put to death covetousness, which is idolatry (Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5).
· Drunkenness refers not just to the abuse of alcohol or any bad substance, but also to the loss of perspective that God is Sovereign, and Lord. This causes greed and self-interest to become our "lord." Is our purpose in life governed with godly goals and direction, or with darkness? This question will determine how we respond to this passage and to life! What kind of light do you let in and let out?
· Orgies refer to any great excess, not just sex and multiple partners, but also to over-eating and Bulimia, or power. This was considered common practice to the Greeks; they were excessive in everything that was bad. They used the rationale that they were pleasing their gods, yet it ended their civilization and led to the Dark Ages!
This list of vices also tells us that God loves holiness and love, as both produce justice, and He hates sin and any form of discord or strife. From this, we can learn that without love being received and expressed in holiness, there can be no justice or hope for the righteous and faithful, even in a church.
Questions to ponder:
The Fruit of the Spirit is essential to growing a healthy and lasting relationship with God and others as well to grow your church. These bad fruits of the flesh do the opposite! You can examine these descriptions of the rotten fruits, look up the Scriptures, and then ask yourself these six questions:
- Is this Bad Fruit working in me?
- How do I exhibit this sin in my daily life?
- How does this Bad Fruit affect the way I respond to others-especially to the ones I love?
- What triggers this Bad Fruit to be exhibited in me?
- How can I make this Bad Fruit go away, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
- Think through the steps you would take to put this Bad Fruit out of your life and relationships? Consider the examples from the passages in God's Word.
And do not forget to be in prayer during all of this. Have someone you trust hold you accountable or get in a small group to learn and practice.
© 2000, 2009 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools, www.discipleshiptools.org/