The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatian 5: 19-22
It surprises me that after all these years of living life and relating with all sorts of people, there are still moments when I see things in myself that I thought I had dealt with, or have not even been seen before. Sadly, I must confess, I refer to baser human traits rather than the more noble ones.
Baser traits seem easier to arouse and the people who arouse them are often fellow Christians. There is an obvious irony there!
In Galatians 5 Paul makes it clear what an unacceptable life looks like and he contrasts this with a life that reveals the fruit of the Spirit … love, joy, peace, forbearance and etc. I wince when I read this because the first list is not eradicated and the second needs a lot of work.
Paul’s answer to this contradiction is to “keep in step with the Spirit” whose guidance we are called to live by. The Christian life, despite knowing that we have been saved by grace, still requires a daily Spirit led discipline. It requires prayer and Scripture reading but also more than that. It needs that active decision to “keep in step with the Spirit.” There needs to be active choices to do the right and honourable things and make the wise and Godly choices and respond in Christlike ways. For most of us this is not an innate way of living. Well, it certainly isn’t for me.