A taste of FAITH, a touch of LAUGHTER.
Message, March 17, 2008 Kyuquot, B.C.
Read: Psalm 71
Look at Galatians 5:16-26 NKJV
Look at that list in verses 19-21 carefully!
How have we lived in the past, and how are we living today?
Have we lived in the flesh? I think it’s safe to say that we have ALL lived in the flesh. Most of us have a rather colourful past, which some of us would be surprised to hear about. However, are we STILL living in the flesh in some of these ways even today?
Read it again, especially verses 19-21!
Here it is in another version. This time it’s the New Life Testament.
Galatians 5:16-26 (New Life Version) (NLV)
Copyright © 1969 by Christian Literature International
16 “I say this to you: Let the Holy Spirit lead you in each step. Then you will not please your sinful old selves. 17 The things our old selves want to do are against what the Holy Spirit wants. The Holy Spirit does not agree with what our sinful old selves want. These two are against each other. So you cannot do what you want to do. 18 If you let the Holy Spirit lead you, the Law no longer has power over you. 19 The things your sinful old self wants to do are: sex sins, sinful desires, wild living, 20 worshiping false gods, witchcraft, hating, fighting, being jealous, being angry, arguing, dividing into little groups and thinking the other groups are wrong, false teaching, 21 wanting something someone else has, killing other people, using strong drink, wild parties, and all things like these. I told you before and I am telling you again that those who do these things will have no place in the holy nation of God. 22 But the fruit that comes from having the Holy Spirit in our lives is: love, joy, peace, not giving up, being kind, being good, having faith, 23 being gentle, and being the boss over our own desires. The Law is not against these things. 24 Those of us who belong to Christ have nailed our sinful old selves on His cross. Our sinful desires are now dead. 25 If the Holy Spirit is living in us, let us be led by Him in all things. 26 Let us not become proud in ways in which we should not. We must not make hard feelings among ourselves as Christians or make anyone jealous.”
In corresponding with a young mom recently, I was struck by something. How easy it is for us to forget the follies of our youth. The young lady said this of her children.
“You know how teenagers can be!!!!! They think they know everything and the parent is always wrong!!!! You know that phase in their lives that I am talking about!!! I had a chance to sit down and really think of where my kids’ heads are in their life. I realize too that they could be just as hurt and angry as I am, and they don’t really know how to deal with what life hands them. I can’t tell them how to deal, cause what’s right for me might not be right for them. As hard as it is for me to say, I am going to have to let them find out what that is. I have to step back and let them live their lives and make their own mistakes. I can’t fix or shield them their whole lives. I guess that is the hardest part of being a parent, huh????”
I wonder how God feels about us, His children, at these times? When we think we are right, when He watches us, knowing we can’t handle it, but we aren’t about to ask Him for help or listen to His advice, when He watches us go ahead and make our mistakes, because He has given us free will to choose to do so.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
That letter was a cry from the heart of a young mother. Can you hear her struggle, her grief and her pain? Thinking about this letter, and reading it over, I wonder if I can hear the cry of God’s heart also, as He grieves over us, and some of our own behavior.
“My child, you think you know what is right and you don’t want to listen to Me. I know you are hurt and angry and you don’t know how to deal with what life has handed you. You won’t listen, so despite the fact that I have given you guidelines to follow, you insist on choosing your own way and you will reap the consequences. I can’t fix that for you. It’s hard to watch you stumble and fall, but I can only love You and be there for You, always, Your Father in heaven.”
So, what is important for us to do? How do we become this person of character that God wants us to become?
We have been accepted by the Father. We have been forgiven and welcomed home.
How can we now be agents of His holiness? How can we be a source of holiness?
Can we see the sick and the maimed around us not as hot spots of “contamination” but potential reservoirs of God’s mercy. Will we extend that mercy? Will we be conveyers of grace, not avoiders of contagion? We can, like Jesus help make the “unclean” become clean.
How? We can do it because of God’s great grace, for He now dwells within us, and we have the full potential to live by the Spirit, and not by the flesh.
Galatians 5: 22-26 again, New Life Version.
22 But the fruit that comes from having the Holy Spirit in our lives is: love, joy, peace, not giving up, being kind, being good, having faith, 23 being gentle, and being the boss over our own desires. The Law is not against these things. 24 Those of us who belong to Christ have nailed our sinful old selves on His cross. Our sinful desires are now dead.
25 If the Holy Spirit is living in us, let us be led by Him in all things. 26 Let us not become proud in ways in which we should not. We must not make hard feelings among ourselves as Christians or make anyone jealous.
How are we doing? Have we nailed our sinful old selves on His cross? Have we really done this yet? Are our sinful desires now dead? Are we allowing ourselves to be led by Him in all things?
I was praying about something one day recently and I caught myself saying this:
“Father, honour me as I honour You……..”
I know what I meant by this, but for one moment, I caught the full horror of what I had asked! Did I really want this? (Father, honour me as I honour You ?) Did I really want God to honour me as I honour Him??????
HOW do I honour Him? How MUCH do I honour Him? Hmmm. Not very much and if I’m honest….hardly ever.
No, heaven forbid that I ask God to honour me THAT way! I quickly came to my senses and corrected my prayer.
“Father, cause ME to honour YOU as You honour me.”
Why the change?
Because God honours me so much more than I honour Him. He gives me breath each day, food, protection, and mercy. He is the God of infinite grace, who honours me on a daily, minute by minute basis.
Can I grasp and hang on to verse 22 and 23?
22 But the fruit that comes from having the Holy Spirit in our lives is: love, joy, peace, not giving up, being kind, being good, having faith, 23 being gentle, and being the boss over our own desires.
That’s what God wants.
That’s what would honour Him.