Need a little encouragement in the middle of your week? Start your Wednesday's off right! Renew your spirit and refresh your soul.
If you are wondering what the opposites of the fruit of the spirit would look like, well here you have it. We all have evil desires but when our flesh is ruled by the Spirit and not our own desires, we can have the character and strength to overcome.
The Holy Spirit who lives in us believers equals power and freedom from this list of chains. So again how do we know the difference between a follower of Jesus and a claimed believer of Jesus...by their actions. If a person's words claim peace but actions sow discord are they really led by the Spirit? If someone is constantly spreading hate and walks around filled with rage are they really living like Jesus did? While some of these sins may seem obviously wrong, others may be a little harder to distinguish. When a person's ambitions are solely motivated by their own selfish gain with no regard on how they may affect others, they would not be loving the people around them.
As easy as it may be to pick out these evil traits in others, admitting our own vices may be a little harder. The apostle Paul gives us a pretty strong warning. "those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." The risk of a "do whatever I feel like" lifestyle has some serious consequences. Would it be worth losing eternity in Heaven? Would it be worth missing out on the life-giving relationship with Jesus both here on earth and for eternity? Jesus wants us to experience the riches of heaven here on earth, right here and right now. "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" Mathew 6:10. But we shouldn't want to live a pure life just to get to heaven. We would sadly be missing out on the life-giving love a relationship with Jesus has to offer both for now and eternity.
Just remember, the Bible is not just a set of rules to restrict us. God guides us to stay out of our way. Sometimes the "carefree" decisions we make cause a lifetime of pain and consequences. God is trying to help us avoid those heartaches before they even happen. I would call that love, wouldn't you?
*Take a look back from last week's blog post on the fruit of the spirit to compare.