Galatians 5:16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh…19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these….22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.
The apostle Paul describes an interesting contrast between the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit”. There’s a part of me that resists a suggestion that the flesh is bad. God created human flesh in the first days of creation (Genesis 1:26-31) and declared it “very good”. If God called it good who is Paul to contradict?
That said, I get what Paul is driving at. Apart from the Spirit of God we are tempted to pursue all sorts of things that draw us away from God and into sin. However, when we pursue things of the Spirit, the “fruit” that is produced in us in uniformly good – because the Spirit (one of the three persons of the Godhead) is good.
As I look at the list of fruits of the Spirit the one that draws my attention today is self-control. With self-control comes discipline, which is critical to the life of discipleship. Discipline doesn’t come easily for me. These days I’m working on the consistent practice of physical exercise. I’m pretty good at exercise when I’m home and living my normal routine, but when I’m traveling or when my routine gets changed up (as was true this week) I have a hard time.
So I’ll ask for your prayers as I continue to build exercise into my life. It’s an ongoing battle but one I know I can win with God’s help. Lord, let it be so. Amen.