Tag: works of the flesh

Foolish competition!

Scripture reading for March 26: 2nd Samuel 1-4

When a leader dies, there is often a struggle for one to fill that place.  The Bible declares that it is God who raises up leaders and brings them down, too. (Psalm 75:6-7)  The flesh, however, harbors a spirit of competition.  It wants to exalt “self” and take over power, take over position, and have it’s own way.  This leads to factions, murder, and war.  A house divided against itself cannot stand! (Matthew 12:25)

Years before, the Lord had anointed David to be king.  David set up his kingship in Hebron as the Lord directed him.  (2nd Samuel 2:1-3)  David did not try and take over all of Israel or to destroy Saul’s house.  He was a man of character and knew God placed him where He desired.  Ish-Bosheth, son of Saul, was made king over the rest of Israel by Abner, the commander of Saul’s army.  There was competition between the two groups for power.

This competition took a deadly turn as Joab, commander of David’s army and Abner, commander of Ish-Bosheth’s army met one day at the pool of Gibeon.  A contest of hand to hand fighting resulted in the deaths of 19 of David’s men and 360 of Abner’s men!  (2nd Samuel 2:30-31)  The war between these two factions went on for a long time.  David grew stronger and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.  (2nd Samuel 3:1)

Galatians 5:19-21 describes the works of the sinful nature. Some of these are dissensions, factions, envy, and selfish ambitions.  These sins cause competition and the resultant discord and evil.  When we center on self, as opposed to God’s will, trouble always results.  In the case of David, he had already been anointed as king by Samuel.   Saul’s offspring, Ish-Bosheth and his commander Abner, refused to listen to the Lord.  The result was competition that caused the death of innocent people.

Today, examine your own life for these works of the sinful nature.  Are you filled with envy over a person who seems to have a job, position, or relationship that you would like or feel you deserve?   Do you have desires for power or position that come from an inner need for recognition?  Give these to the Lord and allow Him to search your heart and bring peace.  He is able to place us where we need to be to accomplish His plan for our lives!  (Galatians 5:22-26)

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Live by the Spirit!

Scripture reading for December 1st: Galatians 1-6

Have you ever had a battle with your flesh?  Was your will power enough to win the victory?  Could the Law help you overcome your desire to escape the battle?  Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians to help them overcome some religious false teachers who wanted to mix the law with grace.   They felt that all bases must be covered to make God happy.  Paul had a simple solution.

“You were called to be free.  But don’t use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.  The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”  So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Galatians 5:13-16)

Paul encouraged the Galatians to live in freedom by living by the Spirit.  The Spirit indwelling us brings the life of God into our inner man.  We are not under the law, which can only reveal sin and stir up our flesh to break it.  As we live by the Spirit, we live a life of love, serving God and others.  We put off the acts of the sinful nature that used to plague us and ultimately would keep us from the kingdom of heaven.  (Galatians 5:18-21)

We allow the Spirit to develop fruit in our lives. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-24)  The Spirit is in harmony with God the Father and Jesus Christ and produces no conflict or division with man or God.  When we live by the Spirit, the sinful nature doesn’t have a place in our life.

Living by the spirit brings a harvest of eternal life!  God cannot be mocked, what we sow we certainly will reap.  (Galatians 6:7-10)  Doing good and seeking unity and restoration will produce a good reward.  We don’t work for the reward, but are assured of a harvest if we don’t grow weary.  This requires faith and patient endurance.  Living by the Spirit is the positive antidote to trying to keep the law to earn our freedom.  One leads to eternal life, the other to condemnation!

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