I’ve been reading a book for pastors as I prepared for our series on the fruit of the Spirit, and it is revealing to me some of the pitfalls of my own character. I’m praying that through the series, every member will look inwardly, too.
“This is good for _______. I wish they were here.”
Well, instead of wishing everyone else would change, how about you start with the one in the mirror. That’s the only person you have control over, anyway, so it seems like a good person to start with.
Your character matters.
We’d church discipline someone for overt, unrepentant adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, or witchcraft.
Should we do the same for the other sins listed in Galatians 5:20? Here’s the dictionary definition first, and then a definition in everyday language in italics:
- Hatred – enmity, hostility. Doesn’t work well with people.
- Variance – contention, love of strife. Always has an opposite opinion.
- Emulations – to be hot, fervent, jealous, angry. In a huff about stuff.
- Wrath – tempest; to move impetuously. As in boiling water. Deeply unsettled. Can’t make them happy.
- Strife – those who seek only their own; rivalry. “No one’s good enough.”
- Seditions – a separate faction; division; separation. “Some of us have been talking, and…”
- Heresies – a form of religious worship, discipline, or opinion from within the group (not a schism that has broken off and separated). “I’m here, but I disagree.”
- Envyings – Pain felt and malignity conceived at the sight of excellence or happiness. “I don’t care what other GOOD is happening, I want…”
The Holy Spirit’s work is obvious. Someone walking in the Spirit doesn’t have to fake it.
Conversely, when the flesh wins, these are the kinds of things we see.
Galatians 5:16-17 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Character matters. And your character is formed by walking in the Spirit and not fulfilling the lust of the flesh.