James compared God’s Word to a mirror. As we read it and meditate on the character of Christ, we can see where we’re not like Him. Today’s reading has two lists: the fruit of the Spirit and the deeds of the flesh. We may think we know which one describes us, but let’s look again. Contemplating the characteristics of each can help us see where we need to grow and change.
Isaiah 45 & 46
What Do You See in the Mirror?
Two Lists: The Fruit of the Spirit & the Deeds of the Flesh
God’s Word is our plumb line. It’s to be our guide for daily living.
James compared it to a mirror (Jas. 1.22-25):
21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does (Jas. 1.22-25).
As we look into that mirror, we see where we’re not like Christ and where we need to grow and change. In today’s reading in Galatians we find two lists, contrasting godly living with sinful. Verses 19-21:
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
We need to ask, which list characterizes our lives?
Is it verses 22-23, the fruit of the Spirit?
Or verses 19-21: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred … we might think we’re doing pretty good … murders, drunkenness … still OK … but wait a minute … contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions …
Notice God put those things smack dab in the middle of that list! And verse 21 says, “… those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Of course, we will at times fall short in some of these areas, but if these things characterize our lives, if we practice them as a lifestyle, especially if we can do so without conviction or a desire to change, it may be an indication that we need to evaluate our relationship with God.
Today’s Other Readings:
Isaiah 45 & 46:
He Will Bring It to Pass
Over and over in these two chapters God says, “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” One of the ways He has confirmed that fact is through the fulfillment of prophecy. Continue reading