by Stephanie K Adams
Real Women Ministries Writer
As we begin a new year, many are seeking to make resolutions to live better, healthier lives. Usually that means a resolution to lose weight, exercise more, eat better – all meant to take care of the physical body.
But have you considered your Spiritual health? Have you made resolutions to improve your relationship with God this year? What about the Spiritual lives of those around you?
At Real Women Ministries, we are striving to live a more intentional life in 2017.
What exactly do we mean by intentional living?
We want to be purposeful in the way we engage with God and others, to sow Eternal seeds so we can leave a legacy of Jesus deep into the hearts of those we love.
We want to be deliberate in our prayer and devotion time with God. We want to seek Him first in the morning and last in the evening.
When we are determined to seek Jesus in our day, we will see Him in the faces of those around us; we will hear His instructions of how to minister to our spouse, kids, friends, and the stranger at the store.
Before we can sow seeds into the lives of those around us, we need to know what seeds have been sown into our own lives and what fruit it is producing.
Throughout the month of January, we are focusing on the Fruit of the Spirit from the book of Galatians.
But the fruit of the Spirit 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.
Galatians 5:22-24 ESV
Before we look into what the fruit of the Spirit is, we must first understand what it is not – for that we need to look at the verses prior to 22 and 23 in Galatians.
Now 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.
Galatians 5:19-21 ESV
At first glance it looks like a pretty raunchy lifestyle, right? But before we declare ourselves innocent of allowing our flesh to get in the way, let’s breakdown a few of these, shall we?
If we are truly honest, we all have times when we put things ahead of God. We don’t like to think of it as idolatry, but the Bible says:
You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3 ESV
Are we putting God second when we clearly feel the tug at our heart to open our Bible but we open social media instead? Hello?! I know I can’t be the only one, right?
What about when we clearly hear Him whisper to speak to someone at the store, or reach out to someone from church, but instead we are afraid of what people will think of us, afraid we will be embarrassed. Pride anyone?
When we allow our agenda or feelings to take precedence over God’s we are sowing seeds of the flesh.
If we want to become more intentional in our relationship with God and others, we are going to have to decide spending time with Him comes before all the other distractions. This is time He can speak to our heart about the plans He has, not solely for us personally, but also how we can serve Him by serving others.
ENMITY, STRIFE, DISSENSIONS, DIVISIONS –
If you’re like me you probably gloss right over enmity because you don’t really know what it means.
Enmity is “feeling hostile towards someone” which can lead to strife (bitter disagreement). Strife then leads to dissension (which is discord) and ends in division.
Sadly, this happens all too often within the church walls. But it also happens in marriages, with kids, and with friends and family.
We find ourselves hostile about a situation and then engage in bitter disagreements, discord is fed and soon we find our relationships pulled apart.
How easily we can sow seeds of the flesh – often without realizing it.
It makes it all the more important to become more intentional to sow seeds of the of Spirit, so we will begin reap the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 ESV
As we seek to become more intentional in our interactions throughout this new year, we hope it will encourage you to also find ways to be more purposeful in your own relationships.
It is our prayer that as we continue the conversation of the Fruit of the Spirit over the next few weeks, you will allow God to grow those seeds of faith in your life – so you can begin sowing a legacy of Jesus in the lives around you.
Jesus, help us to seek You first in everything we do. May we see You in the faces we pass each day; may we hear Your voice as you speak opportunities to serve others; and may we find our faith growing ever stronger as we become more intentional in our relationships. Help us to slow our pace so we can see You in all we do. Amen.