Jesus carried all of the things that we needed to get rid of up on the cross with Him. Do you have guilt? Jesus is carrying it up on the cross. Do you need forgiveness for wrongs you have done? Jesus is carrying them up on the cross. Is your past, or even things from the present, haunting you? Jesus is carrying all of the old things up on the cross.
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:8-9 | One way or another we are going to get weary. Do you want to get tired chasing things to please yourself, or do you want to get tired doing good and looking forward to eternal life? All of us feel exhausted from time to time. We have physical limitations to how many hours we can work, or how long we can go without sleep. But we also can grow weary in our spirit. We can be discouraged as we serve the Lord and see no results, and can lose heart from the criticism or judgments of others. However, these are the times we are to keep looking forward — we have eternal life! More than that, as we look forward we continue to move forward. It may be slow-going and demanding, but God provides both strength and times of rest, and the promise that we will make it. Do not give up. God’s peace comes to us every day. Do not give up. The power of the Holy Spirit is always present. Do not give up. Jesus promises He will give us rest. Do not give up. Our future is eternal life as children of God. Keep doing good, do not give up!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 When we look at this beautiful series of attributes, we can only marvel and rejoice at the ways in which God’s Spirit works in our thoughts and hearts. Goodness: Rightness, or righteousness. Our hearts and minds are filled with the virtue and mercies of God. Faithfulness: Being full of faith, trusting fully. Yet even our faith is a result of the working of the Spirit, and He helps it to grow. Gentleness: We have power and strength, but we deal with others and the situations around us with humility and compassion. Self-control: Our desires and passions are not focussed on ourselves, but on loving and pleasing God. It might be called “self”-control, but it is only through the working of the Holy Spirit that our hearts and minds give up control and turn it over to God. All of these originate with the Holy Spirit, and the starting point is love. God wonderfully loves us, our relationship with Him and our joy, peace and all the rest flow from that love.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 Christians are often seen as followers of rules: don’t do this and this and this. The Bible certainly makes clear there are certain behaviors which are wrong. God says we avoid those behaviors not by feeling guilty about them or constantly judging ourselves and others, but by getting rid of them with something better. We can try all we want in our own efforts and will, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we truly get rid of these old ways of doing and thinking. We are forgiven and redeemed, and now new things are taking their place. Love: The deepest care and affection. God’s relationship to us is defined by His love for us, to the extent that He wants to be with us always and works out everything for our best. We take this by example to love Him in return, and expand that love to others. Joy: The comfort and delight that comes from God’s love and grace for us. We are loved and forgiven, and God takes joy in us as well. Peace: We are assured of God’s love and care in our lives, therefore we are content and can replace worries and anxieties with our trust in Him. Patience: God has been patient with our failings, to the point of sending His son to take the punishment we deserved. When we are filled with love for others, we will respond in this same way. We are slow to judge or get angry, in fact we even find ways to care for whoever is causing us to get upset. We are also patient in all our circumstances, because we have the peace and joy or realizing God is directing our lives. Kindness: Again, we are to reflect the kindness which has been presented to us through God’s grace. What God has shown and given to us, we are to bring to our relationships with others. We are to follow the example of Jesus in all these things. But God knows we are frail and naturally inclined to go against these things, so He has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us, empower us, and to replace these old ways with new ways.