Berean Lamp Devotional - What Sort of People Are We? P2
“Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11 ESV).
In the world today, “the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, 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” (Gal. 5:19-21). The works of the flesh are not “good” works. People who do them are NOT struggling against sin—they are not heirs to Christ’s Kingdom and are not Children of the Father.
As a Child of God, you DO struggle “in your struggle against sin” (Heb. 12:4a). Paul tells us, that we are really struggling against spiritual powers, “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Eph. 6:12-13). As Children of God, we are to resist the “bad” works of the flesh, because we have been re-born through Jesus as a new creation to work the works of our Father (not the works of the forces of wickedness), for “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
However, there is something more than good works that God created you for in Jesus. He wants you to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10). We aren’t just to be doing good works, we are to bear fruit in them. God cares most about what’s going on in your heart. You can be a mighty doer of good works, but inwardly you are fruitless or full of rotten fruit (doing it for the praise of men, out of guilt, to make yourself feel better, as a step to get something you want, to try and purchase salvation, etc). The Father wants you to do good works AND bear good fruit in yourself by doing them, for we were joined to Christ “in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death” (Romans 7:4b-5).
We are not to do the works of the flesh and bear the fruit of death, as we did before we were “created in Christ Jesus.” Rather, in good works, we are to bear the Fruit of the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Life), which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:22-24).
Every day, there are events, thoughts, temptations, and acts that happen in your life that are opportunities for you to bear Fruit of the Spirit in the work that you are doing. Are you ill or suffering? It can be a great labor to bear the Fruit of the Spirit when your flesh is on fire. Perhaps you are stressed out or overwhelmed? These are all moments for us to give ourselves over to Christ’s work in us, crucifying the flesh, un-working the works of the flesh, producing the Fruit of the Spirit in the good works before us.
For the Gospel of Jesus Christ “is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth” (Colossians 1:6b). Even so, Amen.