Thought for the Week - 18th August 2019

Pastor Gareth Watkins

Galatians 5: 16-23

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.
Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants.
And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.
These two forces are constantly fighting each other,
so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear:
sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,

20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger,
selfish ambition, dissension, division,

21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.
Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life
will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

This scripture was once used during a sermon by a pastor I know called Alison Spiers. She asked the question “why are our young people so miserable?”  She then explained that the reason they’re so miserable is that they’re constantly sowing seeds unto corruption, unto that which is not of God but of the sinful nature.   Are we miserable?   God gives us a nature, but we can think wrong thoughts towards ourselves. We can think all sorts of wrong things, and in there there’s a big mess of attitudes and thoughts that can come into ourselves.  It affects how we think, how we act, and how we go about things?  Paul however, tells us to “let the Holy Spirit guide your life”.   If we let the Holy Spirit guide our lives, the results will be the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  All sorts of evidences come in our lives because we’ve followed what Paul has instructed us to do – to let the Holy Spirit guide our lives.   However, letting our sinful natures guide our lives, and doing what we want to do, produces its results.  Those results are also shared by Paul above.  When the desires of our sinful nature rule our lives, we see sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties and similar sins.   When we consider these things, are we able to choose wisely to make us happy?  I would say, in our own selves, the answer is no.  In our own selves the only way we can walk is according to the things that are sinful.  These things that are produced when we follow our own nature, will not bring happiness.   We can follow the desire of our sinful nature in a way that cannot be seen outwardly at first.  We can give time and thought, and our senses, the wrong direction.  The results are misery.  Can we entertain the wrong thoughts?  Yes we can, even children.  We all have sinful natures, and we can follow those sinful natures and thoughts to where they will take us, even as children. Yet there is another option, which we don’t hear in the world.  It’s to let the Holy Spirit guide your life.  It’s possible for every one of us.  The Holy Spirit can guide your life and produce things in your life that would ordinarily not be there.   Many people don’t have peace.  Many people harden their hearts in such a way that they don’t have love.  Many people indulge their sinful nature and do what they want to do, no matter how they hurt others, because that’s how they want to live.  The results don’t make you happy.  The results make you miserable.  God’s ways are doing something inwardly that will, over time, make you happy.   Self-control isn’t a popular world. The Holy Spirit brings self-control.  The world today doesn’t want that phrase, it says “live for the moment” and “live the dream”.  What dream?  Whose dream?  I keep hearing it from people who think they’re successful in life.  Indeed, I once knew a man who had an important job and a thriving business.  His mother would often tell me how he was “living the dream”.  But when spoke to the man, it turned out he wasn’t living a good clean life at all.  Ultimately, he was sowing the seeds to corruption.  Those seeds will bear their fruit in his life in terms of what Paul tells us in Galatians above.  Things that will destroy and decay, things that won’t build happiness or peace, and won’t bring peace or self-control.  Indeed, that man may have money, but already he doesn’t have self-control. The Holy Spirit on the other hand produces something.  It builds and builds.  It builds up momentum.  If you follow the ways of the Holy Spirit and let Him guide your life, He will produce more love, more peace, more joy, and there is an increasing happiness, increasing faithfulness and increasing self-control.  Ultimately, bringing the happiness that the world craves for.   This effect of the Holy Spirit is not for one moment, a quick fix.  It’s an ongoing and producing and effect.  The results it brings to you and your family are timeless.  It lasts all of your days.   I was speaking with a man this week who was sharing with me stories about his family.  Unfortunately, many of them aren’t speaking with each other.  Some of them are desperate to make amends, while other parties are adamantly refusing to speak to that person ever again.  There’s been multiple divorces and upsets at various levels.  Children are getting caught in the cross-fire.  It’s a mess.  These are nice people.  The outworking of that family is borne because they followed this scripture wrongly.  They followed the desires of their sinful nature and the results are now being outworked in those people.  It’s a common story, it’s not a new story.  The bitterness and anger in a person carries on into the next person, and into the house.   When we sow corruption we will reap corruption.  God will not be mocked.  If we sow those seeds, we will get those results.  Those people who want to follow the Holy Spirit, will find a different produce in their life.   Sin will kill our love, our peace, our happiness, and all these things.  If we let that sin start and build.  Encourage your children to read these scriptures in their own way, and ask God to guide their paths and show them how to live.  Because joy and happiness are found in these scriptures.   Is sin having an effect in your life?   In Luke 15: 8-10 we read the parable of the lost coin:   8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”   Pastor Diana Rutherford preached on this verse, explaining how we could also view the house as us – who we are, our whole being – and the lost coin as a deep-rooted, hidden sin.  Like the woman, we need to search ourselves like she searched every corner of the house, to see what is there.  When we start looking for something, we get into all sorts of places that don’t ordinarily see the light.  That light of God searches the dark places in our lives.  Christ has lit a candle in us to see something that is wrong.   It’s not a comfortable process when the search light of God comes in our lives.  Sometimes it can be very comfortable. It’s between you and God.  But it’s being done for your own benefit.  When the searchlight of God comes in and we find something, we either continue to hide it away – and put the carpet back over it – or we look to God to take it away.  We either allow it to carry on and go down deep, or we ask God to deal with it and its effects.  He’ll take it away.  That’s the power of the cross.   The power of the Cross is that you’re no longer bound to be kept in chains by these things that would hold you away from God.  It says there’s rejoicing in heaven when even one sinner repents.  There’s rejoicing in heaven when you’ve found that hidden thing and have brought it to Christ.  There’s rejoicing in heaven when you ask Him for forgiveness and for the blood of Christ to cleanse you from the sin and the effects of that sin. How amazing that God knows those details about our lives.  What is God not able to know?  There are billions of stars, and God knows each of their names.  He knows each one on earth and all their thoughts.  God created life.  God comes in, in such a way, that He knows the deepest parts of our being, and He would have us clean us those parts up so it would produce love, joy, peace, kindness etc.  All those things that He would want of us.  Good things.   God has placed a precious jewel in our hearts, and it’s meant to be restored to its natural beauty under God.  When sin gets swept out, the quiet order of God is restored.  Chaos is not allowed back in.  God restores order.   Would you ask God to sweep your house clean?  Would you follow the leading of the Holy Spirit?   If you follow the Holy Spirit your life will be turned around.  This precious gem in the centre of your being will be alive again.  You will be a living stone under God.  You will be able to give testimonies about things that are alive to you under God.  You will have a light in you in a dark world.  You will be at one with your creator and with Christ Himself.   Sin needs rooting out.  Will you ask Christ to take it away, and cleanse you?   Amen.
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