Monday, September 15, 2008

Life by the Spirit

Sometimes I can tune out things if my heart isn't there... I grew up in the church and sometimes you hear things so much you (or I guess I) tend to think I already know that one... Lets take for example, "The Fruit of the Spirit" When I hear that I immediately go into this mode in my head... yeah, yeah, yeah...I know all about the "Fruit of the Spirit"... "Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control"... I even sing Steve Green's version in my head from all my years of hearing the, Hide "em in Your Heart, series with my kids... Anyway... I had a friend call me today she was going to teach on "The Fruit of the Spirit" tonight and she said, "Emmy, listen to it out of the Message"... she went on to read it to me. Now, I don't know why sometimes I need things shaken up a little to break the familiarity (too much church baggage, I guess)... but I was like, WOW! God used it to really speak to my heart! It was so powerful!! After I got off the phone I immediately looked it up and reread it, meditated on it, prayed through it... Oh Lord How I Long to Live by your Spirit!

Life by the Spirit (The Message)

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

Galatians 5:16-26 (The Message)

AMEN... that is all I have to say!

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