Fruit Picking–Galatians 5 final

My wife always picks great fruit. When she is at the produce Dept, She is like a savant—perfect apples, grapes, pineapple…She tells me it is pretty obvious.  She talks about firmness, texture, color and other factors that from her view make the choices obvious and easy.  Well God tells us that there are clear factors for judging fruit in us as well.

The life we lead is a very public thing.  What we say, how we respond and our obvious focus and bias speak volumes to others about who and whose we are. If our lives are filled with selfish, impure and evil things, to others it is obvious we are not following any God but ourselves. And guess what, the world is perfectly OK with that. But if the world sees from us things like Love , Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness gentleness, faithfulness and self control—well that stands out.  As his children, we should resemble him. Our fruit should resemble his fruit. As we battle each day, we need to check color, texture and firmness and ask what fruit is noticeable.  Help me, Lord to not be a Banana!

God Bless You

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Following Which Leader–Galatians 5 continued

It is simply black and white.  Either you walk in your own power and attempt to guide your own journey or you walk in the spirit and allow God to direct your path.  They are mutually exclusive paths. S often we seek to hedge our bets.  We want God to lead, but then we also want to keep some measure of control (just in case). The problem is that the two paths are in constant conflict so trying to merge them causes chaos.

If we choose to direct our own path, we will suffer the consequences of being drawn into the old entanglements we used to cling to.  We all tend to move toward what we know.  BUT, if we walk in the spirit and allow Good to lead, we will not be entangled and we will experience the peace of freedom. There is no in between,  If we try to lead—God will allow it. He will let us walk into the struggles we choose.  But, when we then realize we cannot do it on our own, he is ready to lead—if we allow him.  He does not hold a gudge and is always ready to lead if we allow it.  Start today—start now ask him to take the lead! You will be so glad you did.

God Bless You

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Free to be Free- Galatians 5 part 1

There is no hidden agenda with our Lord.  So many people are working with a hidden agenda.  They speak words and do things that send a message, but within their hearts, there is a hidden agenda.  The lack of trust, their past mistakes or the simple fear of the unknown leave people guarded and less than transparent. Even within the religious community–both in early church and through today, traditions  and rules help to promote personal agendas and bring glory to men and not to God.

Jesus set us free to be free from those hidden agendas.  It was vexing to Paul to watch groups try to put man made rules in place to control the church. We come to Christ to be free from the bondage of sin and the world culture.  Why then would we simply change slave masters and begin to serve rules and traditions instead.  Paul was clear—You are free to be free.  Don’t let men change that.  Seek God and Him only and enjoy a life that is amazing. Don’t simply exchange slave masters—walk and be free.

God Bless You

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Child of Promise–Galatians 4 part 2

It is great to be a Child of Promise.  Like Isaac, who was born when Abraham was 100, God promises us an inheritance of heaven–if we simply believe.  Ishmael, Abrahams 1st son, was born from a slave and no matter how mighty or resourceful he may have been, he was not the chosen lineage of Abraham. Ishmael could have performed every deed known to man and still would not have been the child of promise.

We are the same.  We have been chosen by God to be his adopted children.  It was not based upon our behavior, which was sinful and in rebellion to God, but it was because of Christ’s sacrifice and our willingness to follow him. As we do, we are freed from the slavery to sin and to the world culture and transformed and become his adopted children. It is the greatest gift that can be given—one that we should never take likely. 

 Thank You Lord for choosing me as your own.

 God Bless You

 28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”[f] 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

Coming of Age–Galatians 4 part 1

Understanding the significance of Salvation is critical for doing life.  In the early Church, the traditions, sacrifices and mystery of the coming Messiah were significant cultural issues as well as spiritual ones.  All the worship of the day included the doing of things to achieve spiritual significance.  So the thought of salvation by grace was not only difficult for the Jews, but for every culture.  Paul summed it up with a picture of being an heir.  Prior to being of age Heirs were under the authority of their Guardian,  All the rules of a trust had to be followed so the heir could someday receive his inheritance.  Yet, while he had to follow the rules of the trust, it did not define who he was.  It was the same with the early church. All the Jewish tradition and rules were not designed to define the people, but to prepare them for becoming the Son’s of God.

It is still the same for us.  We are not defined by following rules.   We are defined by following Christ. He saved us by grace and leads us to by transformed into the image of God.  He guides us to be free from the bondage the world continues to entices us with.  He does not make us more saved or more his son—that is simply who and who’s we are.  The guidance is simply a father’s attempt to allow us to enjoy our inheritance.  Simply put, we are called to enjoy our lives of freedom and not try to earn our place as his children.

God Bless You

What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces[a] of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[b] Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

 

 

God’s Children-Galatians 3 Final

Being someone’s child is not a thing you do—it is simply a function of who you are. The reason God has chosen to make us his children is to free us from the bondage of performance.  The “Children of Israel” followed God from Egypt to the promise land and through the desert for 40 years and, as the bible records, did not behave very well.  None the less, God’s commitment to them never diminished, he always stuck with them.

When Christ came and gave himself for us, he simply expanded the relationship from a national commitment to one that crossed all boundaries. If we follow him, we will be his kid’s. He will love and care for us as a father does. He will make no distinction related to race, gender, tradition or other human distinction. He simply adopts you as you are–to allow you to become free from human bondage and prepared for an eternal life with him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says it best, “If anyone is in Christ they are new creations; the old is gone-the new has come.” Trust him and become a Child of God not a slave to the world and its rules.

God Bless You

23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

It’s the Promise, Not the Law-Galatians 3 part 2

So many in the early church could not understand how one could be saved by grace and still have reverence for the Law. They either continued to cling to the traditions and legalism of the Jewish faith; or they walked away from rules and did whatever they wanted becoming selfish and hedonistic.  Paul was simply trying to change the focus from the law to the promise.  The promise was  that if we believe God and simply follow Christ—we will be saved.  That new life will affect our actions and desires—but those new actions will never replace the faith in God’s promise. Why the fine distinction? Simply put, people have short memories—once they begin to behave like Christ, they forget why and begin to believe it is the new behavior that makes them saved not the faith.

 Yes, this is where I insert—it is still the same today!  Even two thousand years later, we still forget why we have become new creations (Faith in God’s Promise).  We begin to abandon our old habits and lifestyles, as our act is cleaned up, we begin to receive recognition for the difference.  The recognition spurs a strong desire to do better and more. That brings more recognition and soon we are back into the cycle of the behavior being our object of faith rather than God’s promise of salvation.  Continue to seek God and his promise—You will be different, but, not as a means to an end…It will be the end itself!!!

 God Bless You

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[h] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.