Now, we are to live as though the Spirit of God lives in us. The Bible tells us that before this life altering event, we were once doing the horrible deeds of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21 enumerates this list of horrors. All of us used to belong to one or more of these categories before God saved us. We were partakers in immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery (for example: witchcraft/New Age/Eastern Mysticism), enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these” (Galatians 5:19-21b).
The Holy Spirit immediately begins turning us away from those things, which unfortunately begin increasing their temptations and presence right up close and personal, in our faces. Here is where staying close to the Lord, through reading and studying His Word, prayer and going to some form of assembly (home or formal church) are the pillars. No truly saved Christian will reject the Word of God. Truly saved Christians have to be taught the value and the mechanics of prayer so they will know how to communicate with our Heavenly Father. This process can only work if the saved start attended good bible-believing and bible-preaching churches, that believe in Discipleship.
There is a school of thought that a person does not have to go to church to be “spiritual”. Not only is this unbiblical (“do not neglect the assembly of the saints”) but unwise for the person engaged in this spiritual neglect. It is one thing for doctors, nurses, gas station attendants and others who work on Sundays to not be able to go to service. Many larger churches have Saturday night services to accommodate those who are unable to be in church on Sundays. So, it is another thing to willfully disobey the Lord and stay away from the fellowship of fellow believers, as well as unwise as to accountability, true spiritual maturity and service to the Lord.
The Bible basically instructs us to “walk by the Spirit and we will not carry out the desire of the Flesh”. This is absolutely 100% correct. DL Moody says “The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible". Modern life is full of enough sin, temptation and distraction. The only way to beat this is to methodically, effectively and clearly walk away from falling into disastrous sin, is to walk almost 24/7/365 with the Lord, so as not to grieve the Holy Spirit. The word “almost” is key here as nobody will be perfect, until we are completely with the Lord after leaving this life.
The depth of depravity and degradation from which we emerged at the point of Salvation gives way to a whole new world of permanent inner peace and a joy, which are both indescribable. The newly saved Christian is supposed to be able not just “hold those great thoughts and experiences” but use this newfound passion for the Lord to grow in Him. This growth is supposed to then lead, to Spiritual Fruit, which will then be a blessing to as many others as possible, and the Kingdom of God in general.
We get a perfect illustration of how we should live from the Lord Himself in Ephesians 5:15-21, which says:
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
A lifestyle, powered by Christ, such as this (among many other similar characteristics) brings a combination of solid permanent blessings, that embed themselves in our souls. Just like Moses when he came off the mountain and his face shone so brightly, that he had to use a veil so as not to scare the disobedient, our lives then become a reflection of the Holy Spirit working in us.
Calling them the “Fruit of the Spirit”, the maturing authentic Christian exhibits the following attributes:
- Love (agape love for all people, like the Love God shows us – John 3:16)
- Joy (not a feeling of fleeting “happiness”, but a confident satisfaction in our own spirit – Nehemiah 1:10)
- Peace ( “My peace I give to you, not as the world gives…” John 14:27)
- Patience (we should now be more of a listener and a friend. )
- Kindness (service and compassion)
- Goodness (proactive in spotting needs and moving towards giving a hand)
- Faithfulness (loyalty to God, commitment to our vows and loved ones)
- Gentleness (just like the meek and loving Savior – Jesus Christ)
- Self-Control (the more spiritual mature we grow into, the most 2 Timothy 1:7 is evident – we don’t sweat the small stuff).