Daily Reflection – The Works of the Flesh versus the Fruit of the Spirit

As Christians we often read, claim, and memorize verses like Galatians 5:22-26, but we rarely reflect on verses 17-21. Why you ask, well it’s because we’re Christians, we received Christ as our Savior and we often think we don’t need to focus on those dirty verses about the  works of the flesh. Well, NEWSFLASH! We do need to reflect on those verses, the  entirety of scripture is for our reproof, edification and training. Because we often are guilty of those nasty things listed in verses 20&21. We need to examine our lives honestly and repent when and where necessary, so that we will produce the Fruit of the Spirit. So, with reflection reproof, repentance, and edification in mind spend a a couple of days on these nine verses.

May the peace of God be  with you in your daily life and may His blessings overtake you and cause an abundant overflow in you house that you may bless others.

 

Galatians 5:17-26

Amplified Bible (AMP)

517 For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do.

18 But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.

19 Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency,

20 Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies),

21 Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,

23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [[f]that can bring a charge].

24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.

25 If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit [g]we have our life in God, let us go forward [h]walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]

26 Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another.

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What is Postmodernism anyway?

Since I am not a scholar of the postmodern movement I am linking several articles that I think help explain it

Well, according to Wikipedia “Postmodernism is largely a reaction to scientific or objective efforts to explain reality. There is no consensus among scholars on the precise definition. In essence, postmodernism is based on the position that reality is not mirrored in human understanding of it, but is rather constructed as the mind tries to understand its own personal reality. Postmodernism is therefore skeptical of explanations that claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person (i.e. postmodernism = relativism). In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, arguing that the outcome of one’s own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain or universal.

Postmodernism postulates that many, if not all, apparent realities are only social constructs and are therefore subject to change. It claims that there is no absolute truth and that the way people perceive the world is subjective and emphasises the role of language, power relations, and motivations in the formation of ideas and beliefs. In particular it attacks the use of sharp binary classifications such as male versus female, straight versus gay, white versus black, and imperial versus colonial; it holds realities to be plural and relative, and to be dependent on who the interested parties are and the nature of these interests. Postmodernist approaches therefore often consider the ways in which social dynamics, such as power and hierarchy, affect human conceptualizations of the world to have important effects on the way knowledge is constructed and used. Postmodernist thought often emphasizes constructivism, idealism, pluralism, relativism, and scepticism in its approaches to knowledge and understanding.”

The article from which the excerpt below can be found here

“The postmodern movement is notoriously difficult to define. Much has to do with your personality, generation, and traditions in which you have been educated. One can define postmodernism from a secular standpoint and be much more objective. But in Christian circles, your definition will depend greatly on which side of the fence you tend to be on. I was recently at a local “emerging conversation” in my home city. Christian “emergers” most basically are Church leaders who sympathize with many of the promises that postmodernism presents to the Church as a whole. I go to these meetings to see if I might “emerge” with them. When asked by the group which side that I agree with, I told them with all sincerity, “When I am around postmoderns, I am a modernist; when I am around moderns, I am a postmodernist.” In other words, I tend to root for the underdog and the underdog is relative to the situation. If that is not a postmodern statement, I don’t know what is!

Hard Postmodernism

Unfortunately, the allusiveness of the movement in Christian circles compounds the problem. When dealing with the issues one has to distinguish between what we might call “hard postmodernism” and “soft postmodernism.” Hard postmodernism might be defined as those who have had a philosophical shift with regards to the nature of truth. The key phrase here is “nature of truth.” Hard postmodernists would see truth as being relative to the time, culture, or situation of the individual. In other words, truth does not exist beyond the thoughts of the subject. For example (and let me dive right in!), homosexuality, to the hard postmodernist, is right or wrong depending upon the person’s situation. The “wrongness” of homosexuality presented in both the Old and the New Testaments is only wrong because of the primitive understanding of the time and culture in which the dictates were given. But today it is not wrong since we have a “greater understanding” of the physiology of sexual orientation. Therefore, the morality of a persons sexual orientation is not defined by some so-called “eternal principle” to which all people of all times must adhere, but by the situation in which the person finds themselves. Hard postmodernism, then, is defined by its denial of the concept of the correspondence view of truth—that truth is that which corresponds to objective reality. The reason for this denial is that, to the hard postmodernist, there is not an objective reality. It is an absolute denial of all eternal principles that might come from an eternal Creator. This would include ideas such as who and what God is. Any definition or belief in God, to the hard postmodernist, is purely a subjective endeavor. We can believe in God if it helps us, but that does not mean He actually exists outside of our own relative experience.

Hard postmodernism is a logical outcome of atheism or pantheism. Since both atheism and pantheism deny the existence of an eternal personal God, then there is no reason to believe in eternal truth that is mediated through the dictates of a personal agency. This type of postmodernism is explicitly evidenced in our culture in many higher education institutions, whose philosophy is clearly articulated in such a way. It is also evidenced implicitly in our culture when God is left out of the equation in matters of fact and science. For example, kids are brought up in schools that in their silence and by their silence, implicitly say that God is not part of education, since education deals with reality. When creationism (a belief in intelligent design as opposed to secular evolution) is denied an articulated avenue in the schools, this tells the students that God is not part of objective reality, but what we are teaching is. Therefore students learn that believing in God, while okay if it helps you, is in reality nothing more than a “blind leap into the dark.” And if believing in God is a blind leap into the dark, it does not deserve the time that true “education” warrants. This communicates nothing less than saying that the existence of an eternal God with eternal principles and mandates that are to be followed by all people of all time is fool hearted. The existence of objective truth is therefore impossible to truly believe in beyond blind (ignorant) hope. Sure, they may not explicitly say it as such, but this is the inevitable intellectual result.

Now, having explained hard postmodernism, it is important to note that this type of belief is decidedly non-Christian. It has no part in a biblical worldview. It cannot be advocated by a Christian, since to be a Christian necessitates advocating of its antithesis. Christianity has as its foundation the atoning work of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection that was brought about by the eternal counsel of an eternal triune God. This atonement was necessary because man had broken God’s eternal law. Now, if Christianity’s confession is that an eternal God has eternal precepts that time bound man has broken, then Christianity is about a belief in an eternal objective truth, not a “truth” based on your own subjective experience, and is decidedly not on the side of a hard postmodernist. In other words, to be Christian is to deny hard postmodernism and to be an advocate of hard postmodernism is to deny Christianity. There is no way around it: hard postmodernism cannot be advocated by a Christian. If one claims to be a Christian, yet advocates hard postmodernism, he or she does not comprehend either what it means to be a Christian, or what it means to be a hard postmodernist—it is that simple.

Soft Postmodernism and the Emerging Church

But how many in the “emerging church” claim to adhere to a philosophy of hard postmodernism? Not many, if any at all. Then are they postmodern in the proper since? This is a difficult question and the answer is “yes and no” (there I go again evidencing the conflicting influence of the postmodern mind!). It is safe to say that emerging churches have been influenced by the postmodern culture (as we all are) and sympathized with some of its concerns (as we all do). Well then, what makes this group different? If they are not hard postmoderns what are they? Good question. Let’s call this group of “emergers” “soft postmoderns.” Soft postmoderns are different than hard postmoderns. In general they are suspicious of all truth claims. Their suspicion, however, is not rooted in a denial of the existence of truth, but a denial of our ability to come to terms with our certainty about the truth. In other words, the soft postmoderns believe in the existence of objective truth, but deny that we can have absolute certainly or assurance that we, in fact, have a corner on this truth. To the soft postmodernist, truth must be held in tension, understanding our limitations. We can seldom, if ever, be sure that we have the right truth. Therefore, there is a tendency to hold all convictions in limbo. “This is what we believe, but who is to say that we are right” is the common confession of the soft postmodern. Again, it must be stressed—for this is where great misunderstanding exists—soft postmodernism is not built upon the denial of truth itself (a metaphysical concern), but with our ability to know the truth (an epistemological concern). The emerging Church, for example, would believe in an eternal God who has laid down eternal precepts that time bound man has broken and therefore needs restoration through Christ. But attempting to define exactly who God is, what exactly He requires, how redemption is accomplished and applied is something that must be held in tension considering our own limitations. Interestingly, these limitations are the same limitations that the hard postmodern has lain down. People are limited in their understanding, being bound by their time, culture, and situation. The result is that, in the emerging Church, because of their soft postmodern tendencies, all distinctions are minimized or ignored. The issues that were the center of the controversy during the Reformation are no longer important—certainly not enough to divide over. In other words, the Roman Catholic-Protestant theological distinctions are irrelevant to the emerging church. Why? Because, while there may be a right answer, who is to say who’s right? More than likely, both are right and both are wrong. As well, the Arminian-Calvinist divide is no longer significant. In fact, to the soft postmodernist, both sides arrogantly act as if they have the right answer, when the right answer is not available with any certainty.

The emphasis in the emerging church is not on what divides, but what unites. “Can’t we all just get along” is the motto. Christianity’s uniting factor is limited “mere” Christianity. Now, mere Christianity cannot be articulated in too much detail or the cycle of division starts all over. Beliefs about non-essentials issues should either not be held or, at the very least, not spoken about with too much conviction. “Christ the Lord died, was buried, and rose again for mankind. That is it. Now let’s just love each other.”

Christianity, in both the Modern era and the Postmodern era, has faced an onslaught of doubt and unbelief that I see as having started during the Enlightenment period when Science and Rational Thought ruling the era.

Daily Scripture for Reflection and Journaling

I have discovered that many people internalize scripture better if they use a journal to reflect on the verse, chapter or book of the Bible they are reading. Simply put this is the habit of having daily personal devotions. Family devotions often take the form of reading and discussion which is how I have structured many a morning Chapel during my teaching career in private Christian Education K-12.

Below I have given 15 verses from the 29Galatians Chapter 3, feel free to click this  link to Bible Gateway  and choose a different version/translation  that you are more comfortable with and by all means read the entire chapter before reflecting on these verses. I chose the verses I felt were key to understand salvation by grace through faith. The very first scripture I memorized as an adult was Galations 3:13-14. Please by all means find OT and NT cross references, I supplied a few to get you started. The particular devotion/journal, because of it’s length can be used for a weeks worth of reflection and journaling/discussion. I will post daily, but you can use the longer ones for over a seven day period doing two scriptures or more a day and then a final analysis after having reflected on them separately. Feel free to leave comments or privately email me at revkathe95223@gmail.com and reference this blog in the subject line.

Galations  3:2 (AMP) Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?]

Then does He Who supplies you with His marvelous [Holy] Spirit and works powerfully and miraculously among you do so on [the grounds of your doing] what the Law demands, or because of your believing in and adhering to and trusting in and relying on the message that you heard?

11 Now it is evident that no person is justified (declared righteous and brought into right standing with God) through the Law, for the Scripture says, The man in right standing with God [the just, the righteous] shall live by and out of faith and he who through and by faith is declared righteous and in right standing with God shall live.

13 Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures], Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified);

14 To the end that through [their receiving] Christ Jesus, the blessing [promised] to Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, so that we through faith might [all] receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit. Cross reference Deuteronomy 28:2-13 and   Romans 4 :13 For the promise to Abraham or his posterity, that he should inherit the world, did not come through [observing the commands of] the Law but through the righteousness of faith.
Romans 4:12-14 (in Context)

15 To speak in terms of human relations, brethren, [if] even a man makes a last will and testament (a merely human covenant), no one sets it aside or makes it void or adds to it when once it has been drawn up and signed (ratified, confirmed).

16 Now the promises (covenants, agreements) were decreed and made to Abraham and his Seed (his Offspring, his Heir). He [God] does not say, And to seeds (descendants, heirs), as if referring to many persons, but, And to your Seed (your Descendant, your Heir), obviously referring to one individual, Who is [none other than] Christ (the Messiah).

17 This is my argument: The Law, which began 430 years after the covenant [concerning the coming Messiah], does not and cannot annul the covenant previously established (ratified) by God, so as to abolish the promise and make it void.

18 For if the inheritance [of the promise depends on observing] the Law [as these false teachers would like you to believe], it no longer [depends] on the promise; however, God gave it to Abraham [as a free gift solely] by virtue of His promise.

19 What then was the purpose of the Law? It was added [later on, after the promise, to disclose and expose to men their guilt] because of transgressions and [to make men more conscious of the sinfulness] of sin; and it was intended to be in effect until the Seed (the Descendant, the Heir) should come, to and concerning Whom the promise had been made. And it [the Law] was arranged and ordained and appointed through the instrumentality of angels [and was given] by the hand (in the person) of a go-between [Moses, an intermediary person between God and man].

24 So that the Law served [a][to us Jews] as our trainer [our guardian, our guide to Christ, to lead us] until Christ [came], that we might be justified (declared righteous, put in right standing with God) by and through faith.

25 But now that the faith has come, we are no longer under a trainer (the guardian of our childhood).

26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.

27 For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ.

28 There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male [b]and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Why not Women?

Why not Women?

Being a woman minister is a lonely world if ministry calls you to the pastorate in an area that is mostly rural and small towns. You don’t fit in with the Pastor’s groups because they are a boy’s club, (even when they try not to be) and you don’t fit in with their wives because most of them aren’t co-pastoring, so their focus is not the same as yours is; they are teaching Sunday school and playing the piano and well some of us don’t sing well enough to lead worship, nor do we play an instrument, teaching Sunday school is fine.  Why is it assumed that it takes being male to teach the adult Sunday school class and that women should only be teaching the children? Honestly I have yet to see a woman Youth Pastor in the areas local to me, apparently it takes an xy chromosome pairing to be in charge of Youth Ministry as well. Scripture says in Romans 8:14 Amplified Bible (AMP) 14″ For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  That would mean if I am led by the Spirit of God I am a son of God. Scripture also says in Galatians 3:28 Amplified Bible (AMP) “There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” If God sees no distinction now that I have received Jesus Christ as my Lord, Master and Savior why do men and woman feel the need to segregate the Body of Christ by the the same distinctions that the Apostle Paul told the Galatians no longer existed? We are constantly told not to pick and choose what we accept from the Bible throwing away what we do not. This is a topic that deserves study since it often dismisses an entire sector of the Body of Christ in way that in my opinion mirrors the use of the Burka in many Middle Eastern countries.

I am a Bible believing woman. I have no problem with the Bible or the Christian God, I do however take issue with people who call themselves Christian leaders and yet choose to ignore what disturbs them. In the spirit of education and stamping out ignorance I am posting a book pick on this topic that is the best I have ever read and I have read more than a few.

My book pick for this very hot topic is an easy to read but scholarly treatment of the subject available in English and Spanish at Christianbook.com, to make it easy I have linked the title, so just click on the title below 🙂 If you’ve read this book please leave me a comment with your opinion on the authors’ point of view.

Ywam Publishing / 2000 / Paperback
May the Blessings of God overtake you and fill your house to overflowing that you might share them and be a blessing to others. Shalom

Just a quick hello

I wanted to say I’ll be writing hear at least once a week about living as a Christian in this post-modern world and what that is like. I also plan to post daily scripture and hopefully that will blossom into a daily devotional. I also want to post and archive sermons and Bible studies I’ve delivered over the last twenty years.

Take a look at my About page for a proper introduction and a my bio.

God bless and keep you and yours and may his peace envelope you.