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Seeds of the Kingdom

Keeping in step with the Spirit

by Liz Griffin

29 October 2008

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Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:24-25, NIV

Paul is pleading with the early believers in Galatia to serve one another in love(Galatians 5:13). The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbour as yourself,” he told them(Galatians 5:14). He explains the conflict that goes on in the heart of a believer. There’s a war between the sinful nature and the Holy Spirit living within. When the sinful nature is winning we destroy relationships with our attitudes and behaviour. He draws attention to such things as conceit, envy, selfish ambition and jealousy as well as more obvious sins such as sexual immorality, witchcraft, and drunkenness. Paul then makes this stunning declaration; ‘Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires,’(Galatians 5:24).

The problem for me and you is this - have we done that? I’ve often heard teaching about the nine aspects of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. People have said we don’t have to strive to produce this fruit. The Holy Spirit will produce it in us. Yet I see in this passage that the Apostle Paul expects his new converts to crucify the sinful nature if they want to belong to Jesus. ‘How is it to be done?’ is my next question. How do we ‘keep in step with the Spirit and live by the Spirit’?

We need to pray and ask the Lord to make us aware of any attitudes inside us that are not pleasing to Him. Let Him show us any conceit or pride we have that makes us look down on others in judgment, thinking ourselves better than them. Do we, in our heart of hearts, have envy or jealousy? Do we think others are being given preferential treatment? Do we really care about how others are getting on, or are we too absorbed in our own problems? The Lord will surely answer these prayers from our heart. Then we need to ask forgiveness and allow the Lord to show us a better way of thinking. He will show us how to love others, bless them, and see them as He does.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, please show me the areas of my sinful nature that I need to put to death. I’m sorry if I’ve been allowing myself to become arrogant and proud, and if I’ve been harsh and judgmental towards others. Help me to deal with anything that you show me. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Liz Griffin lived for 20 years as an expatriate in South Africa, Bahrain and Japan, as her husband Paul worked for an international oil company. Paul and Liz became involved with Ellel Ministries in 1991 as part of the ministry team and joined the full-time team at Ellel Grange in 1995. Paul and Liz teach and minister to those seeking healing in their lives and together have written two books, 'Anger - How Do You Handle It' and 'Hope and Healing For The Abused'.

 

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