The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace and all the other attributes listed in Galatians 5:22. David also tells us in Psalm 23, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.’ Jesus said, ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10). There are many more references in scripture pointing to the godly benefits of living by the Spirit. It seems so wonderful when we read of the blessings God has for us, but do our lives reflect the experience?
In Romans 7:21 we see Paul’s dilemma in trying to live a godly life. ‘When I want to do good evil is right there with me.’ Can we relate to this? Why do we find it so difficult to live good, blameless lives? We have a choice: to walk by the Spirit or by the ‘flesh.’ The obvious answer is that we choose to walk in the Spirit. But how can we do this?
We make daily decisions with our minds, what we do, what we want. We choose according to our preferences, and satisfy the body by doing what pleases us. That’s why so often we do the wrong thing in God’s sight, because we’re acting out of our own will - doing what we want. If we follow the leadings of the Spirit we won’t submit to our own feelings, because our love for God draws us out of ourselves and closer to Him.
Living the life of Jesus is not an act of will power or trying to obey a set of rules. This invariably results in failure, followed by the feeling that we’re not good enough. No, we need to recognise that our old self died on the cross of Calvary with Jesus. `For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3). When we come to realise this, a spiritual transformation takes place, not based on feelings, but upon the very reason that Christ died - to crucify our sinful nature and give us a new life.
We’re now living in this new dimension. ‘The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20). No longer living for ourselves, but for Him.
This is the abundant life Jesus came to make available to us, with all the blessings of the Holy Spirit that go with it.
Prayer: Thank you Father for life, life beyond the death that You died for me; life with You at the centre. Lord, I want to walk with You always, because You took away my sins and restored my self. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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