But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. – Galatians 5:16-24 ESV
Follow the FRUIT TO THE ROOT! Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can saltwater produce fresh. (James 3:11-13) Like comes from likeness! There is a body of evidence that can tell us what is beneath the surface. If you want to know if something is good, look at the body of evidence in their life. If you were to be walking in the winter, in a snow covered plain and you saw baron trees covered in snow, you might wonder what type of trees these are. As you are walking along trenching through the snow, you feel something under your feet, you reach down and remove the snow covering and you see some old rotting apples, you would assume you are in an apple orchard, because of the fruit on the ground. That is the same way our Father judges us and the same way others can know what is on the inside. If people were to look at the FRUIT IN YOUR LIFE, what would it say about THE ROOT OF YOUR LIFE?
Leader, in this passage it is easy to see the ROOT, by looking at the FRUIT. Even though the Bible calls the WORKS OF THE FLESH, it is FRUIT! Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, put it this way: A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. (Matthew 6:45) Works of the flesh are sin. These works of the flesh are a ‘Gauge of UNGODLINESS’. Depending on how many of these manifest and at what level of activity or intensity will show you how far away from God a person is. Adultery, lust of others spouse, or the lust of another when you have a spouse. “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28) Fornication; sex outside of marriage- mental or physical. Uncleanness; having evil thoughts and/or actions. God says that homosexuality, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion render a person unclean. Lasciviousness; being improper in your actions and your communications or going around scantily clad, inducing impure or lustful thoughts and feeling toward you from another person. As we go through this list you will see why we must be BORN AGAIN to enter the Kingdom of God, because our FLESH IS WEAK!!
Conduit, Idolatry is reverence or devotion to anything that is MORE than what you have for GOD! And would include praying to saints, statues, seeking wisdom or info about your future from any source other than God. Witchcraft; dealing with any types of spirits, whether black or white- outside of the HOLY SPIRIT. Hatred; bitter dislike and ill-will against anyone, holding grudge, unforgiving, keeping a POUND OF FLESH. Variance; conflict, arguing, fighting. Emulations: resentment against another, excelling at the expense of others, jealousy, envy, COVETING what they have! Wrath: vengeance, determined and lasting anger- for 400 years, or for 4 hours. Many of these can fall under STRIFE; seditions, heresies- sound bible doctrine rejected, and a false doctrine is taught in place of the truth. Much of it comes down to STRIFE: struggling in opposition, contest for SUPERIORITY of advantage-selfish gain. James addresses the foundational sin of STRIFE; For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (James 3:16) The Good News is that a SPIRIT transplant creates a HEART transplant and it changes the FRUIT! “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. (John 15:1,4) The Fruit that comes from this abiding is from the ROOT, from God: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Remember GOD IS LOVE and if LOVE IS YOUR ROOT, then GOOD IS THY FRUIT! Peter tells us that “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1Peter 4:8). He echoes the proverb, “Hatred stirs up strife but love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12). Some think that one person’s love can blot out another person’s sin. The only love that can cover sin in that sense, is the love of Jesus Christ. How is your fruit? Get back to the ROOT!