Friday, December 31, 2010

Choosing the Good Part in 2011

As we approach another new year many people reflect on the year that has passed and make resolutions for the upcoming year. Several years ago my pastor had a wonderful suggestion regarding resolutions that I have incorporated into my life which I wanted to share as it has been a tremendous blessing. He said instead of making lists of things you will and won’t do, ask the Lord to help you develop one of the fruits of the Spirit in your life. The fruits of the Spirit are found in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

Of course, each one of these fruits would require several blog posts to detail accurately in terms of all they entail and all that the Lord would have us become. Given this, I wanted to suggest that you read a series of messages by John MacArthur on the fruits of the Spirit so you can understand what to pray for as you seek to have the Lord manifest His Spirit in your life. The link I have included is to his Website. In the search field type in “Galatians vol 02” and read or listen to the last two messages and then type in “Galatians vol 03” and read or listen to the first two messages and you will have a thorough understanding of the fruits of the Spirit and how to practically walk in the Spirit.

I have found over the years that as I have sincerely approached the Lord and sought to demonstrate a particular fruit, the Lord has brought circumstances into my life that has allowed me to shape my life toward that virtue. I will admit that this is not easy. Be prepared that if you ask for patience, the Lord will bring about events that will try your patience but take heart in the fact that in addition to molding you into a more patient person, the Lord will also show you the beauty of that fruit and how it ministers to others. As John MacArthur says, “The contrast [in the book of Galatians] is between legalism and living a Spirit filled life or walking by the Holy Spirit. The believer does not need to live legalistically under a code of written law, under a system of ceremonial routine and ritual, he can simply walk by the Holy Spirit indwelling him and fulfill what God always intended for man in terms of holiness….The more legalism you apply to your Christian life, the more you choke the Holy Spirit. Because what you're doing is you're eliminating the necessity of His ministry. Plus you're creating a sort of a spiritual hypocrisy. Jesus said if the Son shall set you free you shall be free for real. Leave it at that. And allow the Spirit of God to produce the works of holiness as you simply walk by the Spirit.”

I realize that the above quote is quite a large concept to get your head around, especially if you are a new Christian so please take the time to read his messages as he will go on to explain each concept he introduces more thoroughly.

I have found in my own life that I am no longer interested in behavior modification which is largely dependent on me and my list of do’s and don’ts which typically make up a new year’s resolution list. I am more interested now in serving the Lord wholeheartedly and committed to living in obedience to Him as that is where the abundant life is found – in Him.

If you decide to ask the Lord to help you live out a specific fruit of the Spirit, please comment and let me know all the Lord is teaching you. I would also like to pray for you as well.

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