Tag Archives: Fruit of the Spirit

OUR DESIRES

Our desires can be godly and can be ungodly. A Christian and indeed a sane person is expected to be able to determine doing what is good and edifying rather than doing that which is unedifying and therefore ungodly. Titus 2: 11-12 says “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.” (KJV). By certain operational definition or usage desire and passion are synonymous like a feeling of sexual desire. When perverted, it becomes ungodly whereas sexual desire between lawfully wedded couple is a way to satisfying each other ‘s legitimate controlled passion. King David was perpetually desiring to please God such that even when he sinned, he never waited to be forced to confess his sins to God and ask for forgiveness as we see in Psalm 51. He had passion for having God to be his guide, strength and armor, and that was what enabled him to defeat the much dreaded Goliath and put the Philistines to shame. Conversely, he desired to have Uriah’s wife who he saw bathing afar off at a time he ought to be at the war front. The desire or passion or love by infatuation that ruled his heart was ungodly as the woman was not his wife. Not that he did not realize it was sinful, the irrational desire led to irresistible action that followed. It earned him the wrath of God that manifested in various calamities that befell his household. These included the death of the child born out of wedlock, Amnon raped his half sister, and was killed by Absalom. Absalom staged a palace coup that forced David into exile for a time. David lost his most dependable confidant or counselor called Ahistophel and Absalom ruined his own chance of possibly becoming king over Israel. 2 Samuel 13: 22- 18: 9 (NIV)

Nabal had passion for for amassing wealth. He only wanted to be getting and not to be giving to benefit others. The Nabal-David encounter reminds us of the consequence of ungodly desire. God blessed Nabal and David helped to care for his sheep in the wilderness; but when David asked for some food for his army, Nabal bluntly refused with disparaging remarks about David. David wanted to avenge the wickedness of Nabal but Abigael, Nabal’s wife prevailed over David. A few days later Nabal died. David had to thank God that saved him from taking revenge, because it is God’s saying that “Vengeance is mine.”

Any action that does not conform with the fruits of the spirit can be classified as evil desires or ungodly passion like lust, covetousness, or gratifying the desires of the flesh. Ephesians: 2: 4-5 is very relevant to this discussion. It is expected of believers to fear the Lord and make every effort to have positive desires and passions to be able to fulfill the admonition in Galatians 5: 16-17 that says: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires (lusts) what is contrary to the Spirit” (NIV) This discourse is aptly summarized in Galatians 5: 19-21 on one part and 22-23 on the other. There is therefore a dichotomous relationship between the acts of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissection, 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.” Samson, the Nazirite, dedicated to the Lord from the womb lost his anointing because of his uncontrollable lust (desire) for Delilah. King Nebuchadnezzar’s desire and lust for power made him berated God that enabled him build an empire and got sentenced to become an inhabitant of the forest for seven seasons interpreted to mean seven years. Daniel 4: 28-32.

¬†SELF CLEANSING (The Way Forward)

In the earlier post, we tried to define self cleansing as renewal of one’s mind by doing away with all sinfull thoughts, words and deeds with the help of Jesus Christ through theat is our Comforter. What do we need to do  in order to foster renewal of our mind. We also alluded to physical cleanliness in the first part of this post but God’s focus continues to be on the heart.  God used this criterion before asking Prophet Samuel to go and anoint David as King of Israel designate. Even Saul, later  Paul of Tarsus was subject to God’s scanning his mind and had known that he was a veritable vessel unto God’s honor. Whatever he did was passionately and resolutely done. God’s choice of David and Paul was accurate and as God placed them on their respective assignment their individual intrinsic life-style justified their choice. As vessel unto His glory and honor.

The way forward into how man can cleanse himself is first to recognize that it is not the labor of our hand only that will enable us fulfill God’s demand on us for holiness. Man’s effort has to be dependent on the cleansing blood of Jesus, who by eternal design offered himself without blemish as sacrificial lamb to enable man receive pardon. It thus requires focusing on Christ  to purify the conscience from godlessness and strictly worship the living God. Indeed according to the law of Moses, nothing was made pure without the blood of animals and birds. It is believed even unto the time of Christ and beyond everything was purified with blood, and without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.  Hebrew 9: 11-15 (KJV) attests to this submission, that the blood of Jesus is now and forever more the only acceptable sacrifice unto God to be able to receive our needed forgiveness. “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctified to the purifying of the flesh: How  much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise  of eternal inheritance.”

This is why it is important that in spite of a person’s good work, it is still necessary to believe in Jesus Christ. God declared it at His baptism  in Matthew 3: 17 (KJV) “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” The same idea was echoed in other synoptic gospel chapters Mark 1: 10-11 and Luke 3: 22.  Apart from the prophesies of Prophets of old, John the Baptist came to declare the arrival of the promised Messiah.  He had these to say: “He (John) was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  BUT AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, TO THEM GAVE HE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, EVEN TO THEM THAT BELIEVE ON HIS NAME” On the mount of transfiguration, the need to believe in Jesus Christ, was reconfirmed in Matthew 17: 5 (KJV) “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him”.

No believer should engage in self-righteousness;  therefore there has to be a demonstrable dependence on the righteousness of Jesus Christ. One needs to earnestly ask for it and had been promised that it shall be freely given. Ability to fulfill this aspect of Christ-like attitude of showing the fruit of the spirit, by God’s grace, will make one succeed in fitting into the mould of  life described in II Corinthians 5: 17 (KJV) that says: “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. To be able to bear the fruit of the spirit is difficult but certainly not impossible.