Galatians 5:19-23 “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 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.”
Wow! What a powerfully vast contrast!
Great to be together again! I am sure we have all heard the saying “home is where the heart is.” Let’s give it a little twist for the sake of illustrating our scripture for this blog. The heart is the home of our personal garden, the garden that we display to those around us, our character, the “fruits of our spirits, or lack thereof.”
Let’s pray! Our gracious and merciful Heavenly Father, we come before You again this week to seek Your forgiveness and promise of everlasting life. To ask for the power to surrender to Your purpose for each of us, and through surrender, embrace the privilege of partaking in the Gospel Commission. Day by day, Father, continue to direct our ways, our comings and goings, and keep us steadfast in our devotion to You. Your will be done, and Your understanding be known in this blog today. In Jesus holy name, Amen!
The first 2/3 of our scripture is an uncomfortable mouthful of practices that, in the not so distant past, used to be “behind closed doors practices” – our family skeletons were keep in the closet so to speak. You get the gist of what I am saying… Now, however, the doors have been thrown wide open – all secret indiscretions blatantly on display. So much of the Biblical “bad practices” checklist is regarded as status quo. It has become commonplace for many to wear their indiscretions like badges of “dis”honor, to flaunt their wrongdoing, daring anyone to speak out against them.
Thankfully, praise the Lord, we have the brilliant contrast of the last 1/3 of our blog scripture. The fruit of the Holy Spirit! Getting to that portion of Galatians 5 is like a breath of fresh air, like stepping out of a cloying, stagnant, stench filled place into the fresh air after a cleansing rain. The contrast is overwhelming in its relief.
Comprehending the startling contrast and better choice between the two heart gardens – heart conditions – is obvious to most when looking through the light of Christ righteousness. It just seems logical, a happier path in life. But, for those lost in this dark world, without the glorious light of salvation, the better choices are harder to see. The correct path is so obscure, so hard to distinguish in the impenetrable darkness prevalent at this time in history, that many yearning for – they know not what – fail to find their way to higher ground, a heart garden rich in the fruit of the Spirit. It is these souls God calls us to reach, these souls that need a loving, compassionate hand to guide them to the foot of the cross, to guide them to the life Giver. God is calling us to just such a noble service.
In his book Satisfied, Mark Finley stated, “God invested everything in you. What have you invested in God? He gave it all in the Gift of His Son, Jesus. All that we bring to Him is an empty, broken vessel. Jesus wants to live in that vessel.” Do not delay in surrendering to His perfect purpose for you. Don’t wait until you feel you have sufficiently patched and cleaned out your vessel, surrender now. You see, brothers and sisters, the more cracked and marred your vessel, the more Jesus’ light is able to shine forth and be poured out. Come now, just as you are, and marvel at the outpouring of the Devine – what a perfect plan, a perfect purpose for each of us.
Before you were born, God knew you, He had a purpose for you. Jeremiah 1:5 May you richly experience His purpose in the garden of your heart. This is my prayer for each of you.