Drinking Deeply

Thursday, September 01, 2005 at 11:39 AM

Rethinking my memory verses

So one of my memory verses has been Galatians 5:22-23
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
I was just reading that chapter today and realized that my interpretation (which I guess I got from my Christian friends, so, our interpretation) of that verse has been pretty wrong.

For some reason I always thought that this verse pointed to what a believer should feel in being part of the body of Christ. He would feel the fruits of the Spirit. He would feel love, joy, peace... and so on so forth.

But then reading the whole chapter something jumps out at me. I see that the fruit of the Spirit is contrasted with the works of the flesh. The passage right before reads:
17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
The parallelism is quite obvious. Paul is simply saying to bear fruit in keeping with the Spirit, and not with the flesh. Being a Christian doesn't mean you will feel at peace, but it means you should bear the fruit of peace. Being a Christian doesn't mean you will feel love, but it means you should demonstrate love. Mind blowing!

Of course, all of this must be taken in context (lest we return to the law) of the fact that it is only in Christ that we are able to do these things.
24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Man, this makes me want to go back and relook my memory verses.

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Blogger cwu said...

that is quite true. most of the stuff we believe, not only when it concerns the Bible, but also in our daily lives, come from our friends.

pretty silly that sometimes our friends "lie" to us, huh? of course, they don't mean to. praise God for the wiser people and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

and i think a lot of the false interpretations we believe to be true is partly b/c as baby christians, we tend to just skim over verses as opposed to really reading and trying to understand the passages. well at least for those kids that grow up in the church. i remember i used to read for the sake of reading and entertainment. maybe it's b/c i was just a kid...oh well  

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Blogger Joanna Martens said...

Hmmm...Works of the Spirit against the works of the flesh...
I also seem to understand that these "emotions" or "fruit" will not just happen naturally. They are to be fought for, and protected, and cherished.
The Bible was written by God. Instant correct interpretation is rare...after all, Paul wrote Timothy tell him to THINK/consider on these things...(2 tim 2:7)
Most of us probably need to spend a little more time disciplining ourselves to think. UGH!
Loving Christ,
Joey  

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Blogger Puritan Belief said...

Yes I see where you are coming from contrasting the works of the flesh with the works of the spirit.

I do see that there are different types of love, joy, peace...

For example do non-christians have love, joy, peace..etc and we as christians need to be better then them at loving, showing peace and more joyful then them?

For example most people would say that Mother Theresa showed love, joy peace etc she wrote and talked about them all the time whilst at the same time encouraging people to worship whichever god they chose.

Christians have a totally different love, a totally different Joy and Peace. It is not that we are doing these things better then those in the world for doing this it is that we are doing these things in a totally different way. In a way that exalts Christ for the Spirit testifies to Him and so should all the fruits of the spirit.

.. Thinking it through  

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