Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Gal 5:16-26 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature 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, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Sitting around in Byker with some veryvery good friends discussing this passage. "Which of the fruits of the Spirit do you see most in eachother's lives?" One of them (who will remin nameless) when it gets to my turn says exactly what I'm thinking. There are a lot more of the 'acts of the sinful nature' evident in my life than the 'fruit of the Spirit'. I like to think they were joking when they said it, but I have to admit it's true. So naturaly, in my normal way, I went into a massive sulk and lashed out and stomped and cried and pondered how much better everyone is than me.

Except I didn't.

Because something about the whole thing made a little bit of sense. I needed to hear this. I needed to see it in this way, but I didn't feel hopeless. I didn't feel rubbish (well... maybe a little). I didn't stomp OR whine. I didn't even run away and sulk. That would not have helped.

"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires"

"Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature"

Who's responsibilty does it seem to be to crucify the flesh? From the look of the above, it's mine. (Oh dear.) So how exactly do I do that? It says it right there. not to gratify that nature.

Sorry if this is a bit elementry to you all, but I'm only just starting to get this. Apparently, if you don't want to act in a 'Sinful Nature' kind of way, the answer is to not act in a 'Sinful Nature' kind of way. Tempted to gorge yourself way over and beyond what you need? well... Dont. Choose to put down the pie (or the bottle or whatever). Something good happening to someone else in your life that twists you up with Jealousy? Well, choose to act the oposite way. Celebrate that good thing. Join in with their joy. I won't go through them all but you get the idea.

Since that Bible study I've been trying to choose. I can't choose how I feel, or what I want. I can however choose how I act and how I respond. I can choose to follow along with every thought and desire that pops into my mind, no matter how unhelpful, counter productive or plain unhealthy it is. Or I can choose to do the right and healthy thing. In other words to "keep in step with the Spirit" and I've found that when I do my feelings actualy change too. Which is a wonderful feeling.

I know there's more to it than this, I'll hopefully be adding more thoughts in future blogs.