It’s been 16 years since I made a commitment to Christ; a road of many lessons, and yet I’m now praying that God teach me how to pray, how to love, and how to trust Him. Lessons that should’ve long been learned, but that he wasted no time in starting. This is where He has been leading me…
Galatians 5:19-23 details two things:
1. Acts of the flesh: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and like things
2. Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
A Closer Look:
Here is a list of definitions for ‘acts of the flesh’ terms. These are the things that God asks us to avoid/refuse in our lives.
- an excessive favor toward self
- feelings of hostility
- a hostile state; opposition/resistance
- quarrel, competition, rivalry
- jealousy; trying to maintain or guard something; resentment against the success or advantage of others
- mental uneasiness from suspicion
- fits of anger; fits sprouting, from displeasure, from a wrongdoing
- discord, disagreement, division
- upset over, or desire/envy for, others success/advantages/possessions
- intoxication or marked by intoxication; tipsy
- sensuality, obscene, indecent, or lust; unrestrained or excessive indulgence of sexual desire, or intense desire
- sexual obscenity, indecency, or defilement; indecent talk or writing
- art, practice, or spells to exercise supernatural power through evil spirits
- rowdy parties, wild festivity, or unbridled indulgences of any evil act
After doing this research I had to reevaluate some of my actions for sure. I’m not perfect.
– 2 Cor. 12:9 – My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Learning First Hand:
– James 1:2-3 – Count it all joy… for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
The same day, that I did this study, I was tested. It’s thirty minutes before the weekend starts, and I’ve spent the day pondering a certain subject. I ask a friend a simple question and receive a response that cuts at my person. Furthermore, I couldn’t question the intention of this cut, because it was thrown as they shut the door behind them; leaving me to fester. I tried to brush it off telling myself they had a rough day, but the more I thought about it, the angrier I became. By the time I got home, the weekend had started and I thought I would never calm down, so I decided to pray. “God, be with so and so, de-stress them, and continue to teach them.” Not so bad a prayer, but it just made me madder. So, I prayed for myself next, “God, I forgive so and so; help me learn to turn my anger into love.” Not so bad either, but I was extremely mad by this point. Then this verse popped into my head: “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” – Luke 6:28. So that sparked a new prayer. “Lord, bless so and so,” and as the words left my lips the anger lifted! The weekend was saved! Satan, the reminder, tried to bring it back to mind here and there, but part of forgiving is forgetting. I chose to forget each time. I thought I had done it right! But a few days later when I saw them again, I realized I was giving them the cold shoulder. They quickly diffused it with fun and games, but that was enough to expose the stench of my flesh. Obviously there is a underlying issue at play in me. Upon evaluation this is what I found…
Renewal of the Mind:
- God honors a prayer based out of the ‘fruits of the spirit’, not out of the ‘acts of the flesh’. God honored my prayer of blessing, not my prayer of vengefulness.
- I can trust God’s word to be true and healthy. By blessing my enemy, my anger left.
- “Vengeance is not mine but the Lords” – Romans 12:19. God’s only command is to love.
- Avoiding someone is not love.
It’s baby steps, but He is definitely showing me how to pray, how to love, and how to trust Him. Soon enough we’ll be running the race!