For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. – Galatians 5:17 ESV
If you don’t know you’re in a battle, then you are most likely losing it! Are you aware of the inner battle? The battle between flesh and spirit. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (Romans 7:18-19) Paul makes it analogous to ‘schizophrenia’ to help us understand, it is like 2 different people living inside of him. One is the OLD MAN, the former self who used to live for his own desires, his own needs. And there is the NEW MAN, the NEW SPIRIT, the one that was BORN AGAIN. Like Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3; Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Leader, are you aware of this battle? Do you consciously wage it daily? Paul writes extensively about this battle: The expressions “old man” and “new man” occur in basically four places in Paul’s letters, namely, Romans 6:6; Ephesians 2:15; 4:22-24; and Colossians 3:9-11. And here in the 5th chapter of Galatians he takes another stab at it and compares the FRUIT of the SPIRIT with the WORKS of the FLESH. In other words; the bi-product of which one is in control. An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life: “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Conduit, which one are you feeding? If you are NOT actively waging this battle, if you are NOT uncomfortable enough in this world to be AWARE of this battle- by default- you are feeding the flesh. How do you know by the OUTCOME, by the fruit that you find at the foot of your tree, of your cross? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23 The Greek word translated “fruit” refers to the natural product of a living thing. Paul used “fruit” to help us understand the product of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is produced by the Spirit, NOT by us! The Greek word is singular, showing that “fruit” is a unified whole, not independent characteristics. Yet, like physical fruit needs time to grow- we need the process of sanctification to help us grow. Like a successful gardener must battle against weeds to enjoy the sweet fruit they desire, we must constantly work to rid our lives of the “weeds” of our old sin natures that want to choke out the work of the Spirit. As we give the Spirit more control of our lives, He begins to do in and through us what only He can do – to shape us and grow us to look like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). Therefore, the presence of the “fruit of the Spirit” is evidence that our character is becoming more like Christ’s. Today, let’s CHECK into the battle and see what others are experiencing as they walk with us, as we walk with HIM!