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To bear more fruit (part 2)

Tough Love from Jillian - The Newsletter



Welcome back for part 2! It's getting JUICY today. You'd probably agree that there is typically an antagonist to all the protagonists in a story. Here, the fruits of the Spirit are the protagonists exemplifying a life more obedient to God and more like Christ. The antagonist is sin...aka Satan. Satan is constantly trying to destroy people and pull us away from the love of God. Here are the acts of the flesh (e.g. our humanness) that separate us from God:

  • Sexual immorality - orgies, porn, masturbation, prostitution, homosexuality, sex with multiple people, excessive sexual desires, open sexual relationships

  • Impurity and debauchery - excessive indulgence in bodily pleasures like sex, drugs, alcohol

  • Idolatry - Don’t think of worshiping only a false god, but also extreme admiration for something or someone before God. Things that take up our mental energy and active focus. Our physical appearance, our careers, making money, our children, our popularity

  • Witchcraft - Magic, pagan rituals, occult practices using supernatural forces, contacting spirits (other than the Holy Spirit)

  • Hatred - we all know this one

  • Discord - being in a disagreement with someone, lacking harmony, discussing politics (do I see any hands raised?)

  • Jealousy - low self-esteem creates unpleasant suspicion, a desire for something someone has with a negative motive behind it

  • Fits of rage - anger, fits, bad temper, screaming

  • Selfish ambition - putting oneself above others

  • Dissensions - Another word for disagreement with people

  • Factions - small groups of people that break apart from larger groups in discord

  • Envy - like jealousy is to desire what someone else has, or experiences, admiration and discontent but the word doesn’t usually imply hostility

  • Drunkenness - State of being intoxicated

Wow... this list is depressing. Guys, I have struggled with so many of these things. I am still struggling and guilty of some of them. How can you help but feel guilt or shame after reading that list? I don’t mean to depress you with this but I merely want to bring awareness to our sin. Jesus' purpose is to save us from sin. I want to be saved from everything on that list. I want to be saved from my past sin and my future sin. Don't you? In our pursuit to be obedient to God, we must repent (feel regret), confess (admit our sin), ask for forgiveness, and accept the blood of Jesus Christ as our gift to wash away the never-ending, consistent, constantly happening sin in our minds and hearts. This forgiveness is not one-and-done...it is ongoing. We don’t commit our lives and become perfect overnight, but merely choose to opt into a different life. We choose to try. With that, God’s blessing is unlimited grace. Amen! Hallelujah! Guys... we suck and God still loves us. Some of you may think some of these sins are worse than others. Who are you to judge? That's God’s job. Jesus’ words: "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." He’s saying we all have our own sin, so before we point out others' sin, work to change our own. The fruits of the spirit are opposites to the sinful acts of the flesh. With more sin, we can not bear more fruit. Without fruit, we do not experience the fullness of God. If you feel guilt or are in need of confession, share your sin with a friend, your pastor, or bring it to the father God himself. Pour out your need for forgiveness and then accept his gift of Jesus. It will change your life and set you on a new trajectory. He will continue to reveal to you where you need to change. He will start to bless you for your efforts. He will continue to prune you in ways you did not know were possible. As always, reply here if you want encouragement from me. I'm on your team! With love,

Jillian









 

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