As we continue to delve into Scripture we find a lot of recurring and reinforcing themes that we, as Christians, are not only to follow but to try to put in everyday practice. Love, being the most dominant of them all: Fruit of the Spirit (that will be evident in those lives that are found in Christ): Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Self-Control, Faithfulness, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-Control. The problem with this perfect map of discipleship that the Word gives us is that we, on a daily basis, give in to the old self (the old-sin nature). Either by our own desires and/or helped along with demonic influences in the very things that we so desire - for some: Lust, power, hate, selfish ambition, vain conceit. In other words, the Fruit of the Sinful Nature.
There are two very dominant things that we find in the book of Philippians besides the Secret to Life (contentment - another post) and that is unity in the body and putting on Christ (the humility of Christ).
Philippians 2 New International Version (NIV)
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Do Everything Without Grumbling
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
For me, it is clear that when we take the humble approach of Jesus Christ we find a self-less attitude and begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our every day lives. Thinking of others more than ourselves. Caring about the needs of others instead of bearing the fruit of the sinful nature: Sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish-ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness and orgies.
We can easily sit then and say that we do not bear this fruit, but when we dig deeper into how Jesus Christ defines the law, and how society justifies these subtly in world venues, then it becomes so much harder for us to deny.
How can we overcome?
Take inventory of our lives
- Look at our fruit (have others that we trust and walk with make their own list of our fruit)
- Being in God's word
- Love the lord our God with all of our heart, mind, body, soul and strength
- Trust in God
- Lean on Him
What are some of your lists?