Galatians 5:1 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Have you noticed that everything that is considered ‘excellence’ requires effort and work? Music, sports, writing, college, cooking, careers, parenting, marriage, gardening, etc… it makes no difference. Excellence doesn’t happen by accident. Each area of endeavor has its own requirements of things to be learned and mastered. They all have standards that identify what excellence is.
Donna makes a bread pudding to die for. The recipe came from a master chef in New Orleans that we got at a sales conference 20 years ago. There are 10 different ingredients in it including pecans, raisins and coconut – and a marvelous sauce to go with it. The recipe has nuances, such as the nature of the bread used, that are critical to the outcome. It is warm and moist – not dry or mushy – and the flavors are amazing. It doesn’t happen by accident.
Excellent, Christian lives don’t happen by accident either. We need to understand what constitutes such a life, what must be done to develop it and cultivate the desire for it to happen. The Holy Spirit is central to all of this. We must listen and respond to what He shows us. A major arena of our lives in which He will continually work with us on deals with the desires of the flesh. These are identified in many places but let’s look at those identified in Galatians 5:19-21 (New Living Translation)
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
These are all ‘skunk factor’ land (see Tuesday Dec 27 Devotional) – and will undermine and overcome our efforts to live a Christian life. Their impact is far worse than just making us ‘smell’ bad. They will radically affect who we are. These are things to run from – just as you would from an approaching skunk with his tail raised. They are the antithesis of walking in the Spirit.
To be continued…