Yesterday I started reading a devotional on the Fruit of the Spirit and attempted to write a blog post about the subject. For some reason it was so difficult for me to write that I set it aside.
I had an aha moment today as I read. It had to do with my own involvement. Beyond the verses spelling out the fruit are these two verses:
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.Galatians 5:24-25 (ESV)
Can I honestly say I have crucified my passions and desires? Am I keeping in step with the Spirit? The answer to both is: I’m not sure. I picture myself stumbling along behind the Spirit, trying to catch up, or I imagine myself hiding behind a tree sneaking into my backpack to grab a candy bar instead of waiting for the feast he has in store for me.
What I’m beginning to understand is that what I’m carrying around in my backpack has no nutritional value and can spoil my appetite for the spiritual sustenance my soul craves.
It scares me to think I need to be involved in the process of following God. Even though I don’t trust myself, I depend on myself for my progress and survival. But isn’t that why over and over throughout scripture God says, “Trust me.” He is continually spelling out what he wants, and what he wants is our participation, our involvement. Look at these next verses.
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.2 Peter 1:3 (MSG)
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.Luke 11:9-10 (ESV)
In my vision my backpack holds all my supplies that I have gathered to help me be successful in my trek through this life. Whether it is knowledge, or coping mechanisms, or a good amount of sweet treats. I also pack around some heavy rocks I’ve picked up along the way — hurts, loss, and brokenness. The Holy Spirit is calling out to me, “Sandy, that backpack is weighing you down. Why don’t you take it off and leave it behind? I’ve got all the supplies you need for the journey.”
Can I set it down and leave it behind? Isn’t that what it means to crucify the flesh? The saying applies: “It’s easier said than done.” I think it’s time to start imagining how light and free I can be without that weight on my back and start anticipating with excitement, what beauty and joy lie ahead.
I hear God saying…
So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up.Isaiah 41:10 (VOICE)
In conclusion: to be involved, to participate, and follow the Holy Spirit in obedience is the the best path to take. And to leave the backpack (the past) behind is the best way to travel.
Grace & Peace,