Take a few minutes to push the “pause” button on whatever is going on around you and be still with God.
16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 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. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.
We do not become better Christians by becoming moralistic and performing good works. We become better Christians through developing our relationship with and deepening our love for Jesus Christ. A spiritual practice I have picked up in my life through a book called “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence is to keep my mind focused on the presence of God.
You fix your thoughts on the fact that God is with you in every moment. Throughout the day, when you notice that your mind has been carried away and you are not aware of God’s presence, simply pray something like, “Lord be with me now, and make me aware of Your presence in this moment.” You may find yourself repeating that prayer a hundred times when you first start doing it, but with time you train yourself to be constantly aware of God and the Holy Spirit working through you.
Life by the flesh happens naturally. Even when we practice self-discipline. Self-discipline can only make us refrain from doing bad things. Self-discipline will never allow us to develop the fruits of the Spirit. Only being submitted to God, with the Holy Spirit working in us will produce a kind heart. Only the Holy Spirit can make us faithful and joyful.
God, I ask that you be with us today. Make us aware of your presence. Bring us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen,
Go with God!