Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sobering Thoughts on a Dolly Morning

Hey Everyone!

As we prepare to get rained on for the next couple of days, let me rain on your parade a little bit with a meditation that has been kicking my rear end lately. Take a look at this partial list of the sins of the flesh listed in the book of Galatians:

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 NLT)

Okay, Okay, I know that you haven't dusted off your sorcerers hat in a long time, but, if you are like me, some of the other ones nailed you right between the eyes.

*Impure thoughts, anyone? That is still a battle I fight everyday.

*Hostility? Only towards people who drive slow...or fast, and have 25 items in the 20 or less lane at Walmart. Oh yeah, that's everyone in New Braunfels.

*Jealousy? I struggle with jealosy and envy with other ministries who seem to be succeeding more than I am.

*Outbursts of Anger? Hello, I have kids. And my fuse with Amy is way too short.

*Selfish Ambition? As much as I would love to think this isn't true of me...

*dissension, division? This was the problem for the church in Galatia. Every church struggles with it to a point.

Okay, now here is a list of the fruit of the Holy spirit that are suppossed to be evident in our lives:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
(Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)

Alright. Now, with both lists in mind (and dont shoot me - I don't write the mail, I just deliver it), which list describes you more accurately?

Is that not a humbling revelation? For those of us who teach and lead it has even stronger implications:

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.
(James 3:1 NLT)

In the past, I would have said the solution was to "do better" and be more like the second list than the first. But I am realizing that the second list is only reachable through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit in my life. Where is it? Why don't I experience it more fully? Why don't you?

What do you think?

Song of the Week

From the Lead Singer of Mercy Me

Aparrently he has two hymn solo projects out. I love the treatment on this song, so I may pick up the others, too.


john m said...

Well, it sounds like someone is "hungry". And I don't mean did you leave room for desert,your starving. But there is good news. Jesus said, blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. We can't be filled with the Holy Spirit if we are filled with self righteousness. Realizing we are not righteous is what will make us hungry for it. When we are hungry really,really hungry, when being righteous is more important than being popular or being successfull, or getting ahead then we will be filled. I think you are on to something Pastor. Maybe soon we will all be as hungry as you are. Thank you, for being real.
john m.

Charles said...

This one hurts!

Not much to say other than, I'm sorry Lord. I think these versed need to be memorized, committed to the heart. So that when we are tempted to act in these ways, the Holy Spirit will speak to us with Gods word on how we should act. Thats my challenge to myself this week, now these verses well.

Also we have talked about sanctification in the past and the difference between legalism. We want to be perfect in the word and be as Galations 5:22-26 says, but we must not let this world tempt us not to be. Thats where it gets challenging. I have heard it said before that to make a habit it takes at least 21 days of doing that same act. Perhaps the next 21 days I should practice Galations 5:22-26 as much as I can?

May God Bless you this week,

Keith C said...

Convicting Sermons, hard hitting blogs? What Next Pastor Phil, Congregational confessions. :)

Fruit of the Spirit is something that comes from the Holy Spirit, and only from the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16-17 tell us prior to the fruit verses this:

"16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions."

As I read and meditate on the verses, it reminds me the last two verses in Romans 13. This is the NLT translation.

"13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires."

Charles, I was told by Mark Jones a awesome Christian counselor who is clinically trained, it takes as many as 6 months to change a behavior or deep seated habit!

We must take our weakness to Christ, seek the Spirit's strength and do as Paul says in verse 14 "don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires."

Sin starts in the mind and is either accepted by the heart or rejected by our heart long before it becomes a flesh issue.

Just my .02 cents!

Pastor Phil, I am encouraged and and strengthned by your desire to seek God personally and corporately!

Peace & Blessings

Kat said...

Yikes, Mr Miller, I was thinking the exact same verse when I was reading Pastor's post: "blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled." Praise the LORD for that promise! If we hunger, we WILL be filled!

Pastor, it's so true, the fruit of our sinful nature is obvious and way too common. Pastor Keith really hit the nail on the head when he mentioned the desires that war within us. I've been learning a lot about how my actions and thought processes are a direct result of my desires. So if I sin, it is because of evil desires within me.

Romans 8:
5"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

9"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you."

Thanks for praying for me while I was in PERU!