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My Message to You About the Hostility, Confusion & Chaos in Our Lives
Let me encourage you in this time of moral decay and cultural erosion.
At one time, I lived my life in bondage. I was a slave to sin, under the control of the evil one.
The New Testament offers us several lists of what it looks like to be in slavery to sin. One list, found in Galatians 5:19-21, includes the following indicators that we are under bondage:
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.
Why are these things considered to be sinful? It’s because they do not reflect the nature of Jesus. His nature is the nature of a servant. He’s the one who defined himself by saying “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
So, when we reject him, we immediately embrace selfishness. And when we embrace selfishness, moral decay begins to define us. And when moral decay begins to define us, we are on the path to death.
“Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The bottom line for humanity is that we can only be fulfilled when we follow him and imitate him by the power of his Spirit. Anything outside of that produces a life filled with chaos and hostility. This may explain, by the way, the current situation in the world today. When large chunks of a society reject life in Christ and pursue selfishness, cultures begin to erode. It begins with an individual here and an individual there, but it’s like gangrene; it begins to infect everyone sooner or later.
However, I’ve already made the point that I don’t consider it my job to change the culture. Instead, my task is to appeal to one person at a time to consider the possibility that there is a better way to live — one that involves bowing down before the God who loves us. My argument is rooted in what has already been revealed to us in scripture: that a person who submits to Christ as Lord of his life will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The good news is that the indwelling of God’s spirit in a person produces its own natural fruit. And this fruit is the exact opposite of the fruit produced when the enemy is in control of a person. Instead of selfish ambition, drugs, drunkenness, immorality, and things like that, we begin to see another kind of fruit that results in a beautiful life.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
One spirit naturally produces confusion and hostility. The other results in the beauty of a life characterized by love, joy, peace, and the like.
The fruit we bear, however, isn’t produced by our effort but by who we decide to follow. If we don’t follow Jesus, we follow Satan by default. There is no middle ground here as if I could say, “I won’t follow Jesus, but I won’t follow Satan either.” Not following Christ is following the evil one. Following one results in death. Following the other results in life.
As a result, I’ve chosen to follow Christ, and in following him, my life has become far more beautiful every day that I do tag along after him. And in the process of daily submitting to the Spirit within me, I am being transitioned from hopelessness to incredible hope. I’m not a better person than the one who does not follow Jesus — I just follow a better God, and that God has changed my life for the better. Whatever good in me is not the result of my effort, but the result of God’s Spirit working in me.
I can promise you one thing: I sure enjoy the fruit of the Spirit far more than I did the works of the flesh.