Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
– Galatians 5:19-23 NASB (italics and bold print added)
Is your daily devotion to Jesus Christ doing you any good? The goal of daily devoting ourselves to Jesus Christ is to be like Him. Jesus gives us, through the passage above, taken from one of the apostle Paul’s letters, a measuring stick – a way of determining if we are, in fact, becoming more like Christ.
The passage consists of two lists: what Paul calls “the deeds of the flesh” and what he calls “the fruit of the Spirit.” All the deeds of the flesh I have rendered in italics; all the fruit of the Spirit I have rendered in bold print. I just wanted to make the passage easier to break down and understand.
Note that the list of fleshly deeds is longer than the list of spiritual fruit. This is all the more true when you notice the last item on the first list: “and things like these.” In other words, Paul could have made the first list even longer. This because there are many more ways to sin than there are to do right. For example, there are many ways to sin sexually…but only one way to do it right: marriage.
The “measuring stick” I mentioned above is the first list comprising the left side of the stick and the second list comprising the right. You lay this stick across your days and look for progress from left to right. You don’t just measure your outward behavior, you measure also the words you speak and the thoughts you think.
Your progress from one day to the next may be uneven; even the great Peter had setbacks. Overall, however, your progress should be noticeable to you as Peter’s was to him. If not, you’re doing your daily devotion to Christ wrong.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus, I want to become more like You every day of my life. Any day I don’t improve I want to re-double my efforts on the next day…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.