Freedom Comes with a Choice, Walk with God. Part II

As we pick up where we left off last week – the main idea is that life is full of choices.  There is no escaping the fact that we must make choices from the mundane of which toothpaste we are going to use before going to bed to who we will marry and spend the rest of our lives with.  Any day can bring you a 1,000 plus decisions to make.

The Apostle Paul sets us 2 dynamic choices – to follow after “the flesh” (our selfish desires that lead to sin) or follow the Spirit (God and the fruit of the Spirit that lead to life).  The wise person will have a long view in life and not make hasty decisions.

Galatians 5: 22-23

Paul employs a popular metaphor in fruit when describing the fruit of the Spirit.  By using the singular fruit he is making it clear that the Spirit of God brings attributes into our lives that are interconnected and to be seen in community rather than as standing alone.  Much like a cluster of grapes – they are connected and yet can be experienced one by one.  There are 4 aspects of the fruit of the Spirit that correlate with actual fruit and give the metaphor weight.

1.     There is a sense in which the fruit of the Spirit (like actual fruit) needs to be cultivated and grow.  For example, begin with love and do acts of kindness toward others as a result of forgiving someone.

2.     There is an inevitable sense to the fruit of the Spirit.  Like a farmer that plants a plumb tree – in time, he can rightfully expect to see plumbs growing.  God in His work restores us and we are changed into His image – it is a process that He will start and see through to completion.

3.     The fruit of the Spirit is rooted in the work of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives and not merely an expression of our personality traits.  He changes and shapes us from the inside out – the root cause of our transformation is the Holy Spirit.

4.     The fruit of the Spirit much like real grapes grows together in a cluster.  I believe a link between all the fruits is self-control – it must be exercised in order to make wise choices that lead to the cultivation of the other fruits.

God is after your heart, this is the essence of grace, this incredible work of God is from the inside out.  We are being transformed.  Salvation is the complete work of God to redeem our souls raising us spiritually from the dead and giving us new life. 

We are now working out our salvation – given freedom and new life – we must learn to handle it by following the leading of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.  Paul is reminding the Galatians and us in this generation that we are responsible for what we do with our freedom.

You have the Holy Spirit in your life – the One Who inspired Scripture – gives us understanding and wisdom to make good choices in life.  We’re now able – able to choose the best from among good.  John 14 reminds us that He will teach us and bring things to mind to help us follow and live for Jesus.

BIG QUESTION:  Will you listen to the voice of God over all the other voices screaming for your attention?

This Week – walk with God in the Spirit – in a relationship don’t degrade it into project.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”  Romans 13:14

When my family was young, we used to enjoy camping in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  In order to have a successful camping trip we needed provisions like food. Without food we couldn’t stay in the woods very long.  What the writer of Romans 13:14 is getting at when he writes “make no provision for the flesh”, he means to take anything with you into life that could sustain your sin.  Cut off it’s food supply.  Choke it out and leave it without oxygen.  In short – kill it.  It’s a pretty severe and aggressive teaching; however, sin is an aggressive foe that will stop at nothing to destroy one’s life.

What are those things in your life that encourage you to be selfish?

·       Media (blogs, YouTube, music etc) – they can wear you down and get in your head/heart.

·       Relationships that are destructive – you may have been led to believe you’re the center of the universe by those closest to you; that’s a lie.  It will ultimately leave you disappointed, unfulfilled and angry.  Don’t let people into your life that lead you toward works of the flesh as opposed to fruit of the Spirit.  You must make choices.

What are those things that lead you to be more selfless?

·       Serving others.  How can I serve others in my life, community and home today?

o   Guatemala Mission Trip in Feb with Lakeside?

o   Clean your room and do the laundry for your family (every day service opportunities).

·       Paying attention to the needs of others and meeting the needs as you’re able.

This isn’t - beat yourself up.  This isn’t a look in the mirror and berate or hate yourself deal.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.  Galatians 5: 23-24  This is God’s calling today.

The struggle to be free can be just that – a struggle to shake off the comfortable, familiar and easy bonds of selfishness in order to pursue Jesus. 

You can walk with God.  He wants you to walk with Him.  He loves you.  He invites you. 

When you walk with Him you will find real joy in living.

It’s worth the struggle.

Vince Armfield