“Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
The greatest evil of our day is that there are many Christians today who do not believe or accept the fact that these things which Paul described as the works of the flesh can be avoided. For instance, there are some Christians today who do not see anything wrong with fornication or co-habitation; having a sexual partner or living with someone you are not yet married to.
Consider impurity; the deliberate consumption and feasting on immoral and indecent materials such as pornographic pictures and videos on the internet as well as in books and magazines. It is sad to say that many Christians today fill their minds with so much impurity in the name of entertainment. Having consumed so much of these things, we begin to act it out in our sense of fashion. Today, many do not see anything wrong with deliberately exposing their body even while in Church.
Now, let us look at the issue of idolatry and sorcery; the way we run from place to place looking for quick fixes to our problems even to consulting spiritualists and people of the underworld. I have heard Christians who say they just cannot put all their eggs in one basket. Closely related to this is the issue of enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension and envy which could be summed with one word: wickedness.
Recently, I read an article which argues that banning “SARS” will not stop the brutality because the spirit of “SARS” (man’s inhumanity to his fellow human beings) lives within us. For many Christians, the only weapon they carry around is prayer. If they were given the privilege of carrying real guns like these officers of the law, we would be shocked at what they would do. Thank God that in His wisdom, He doesn’t answer every prayer.
Now comes the question of relaxation; unwinding after the day’s activities. This is the area many Christians give in to the flesh by indulging in carousing, licentiousness and drunkenness. When we engage in parties, do we get down like unbelievers?
As St. Paul says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” This means that we cannot try to have the best of both worlds; we cannot claim to be Christians if we are not guided by the Holy Spirit or simply put, we cannot be living in pretence; professing Christ with our lips but denying Him by our actions. By the way, this was the very evil Jesus found with the Pharisees which warranted Him to refer to them as “unmarked graves, on which people walk over without realizing it.” (Luke 11:44).
The truth is that if we actually walk by the Spirit, we would not need to tell anyone we are Christians because our character, our behaviour, our choice of words and so on will be different; our lives would be characterized by Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. Do you desire these things in your life? Then as St. Paul says, you must crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. The first step to this crucifixion is being able to see something wrong in the works of the flesh as mentioned above.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, cleanse me from inside out that I may live by the Spirit. Amen.
Bible Study: Galatians 5:18-25, Psalm 1:1-6 and Luke 11:42-46).