By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples
How can you know if you're being led by the Spirit or the flesh? Very simple: Look at your behavior. If you respond to a given situation by exercising love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, you are following the Spirit's lead (Galatians 5:22
, 23). If your reactions and responses reflect the deeds of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21
, you are following the flesh.
What do you do when you discover you are not walking by the Spirit? Acknowledge it for what it is. You have consciously or unconsciously chosen to live independently of God by walking according to the flesh. Walking according to the Spirit is a moment-by-moment, day-by-day experience. Acknowledge your sin to God, seek the forgiveness of anyone you may have offended, receive forgiveness, and be filled with the Spirit.
Here are a couple of things to consider when you are faced with righting fleshly wrongs.
First, the scope of your confession should only be as broad as the scope of your offense. If you lashed out at a relative with angry words, you need only confess to God and that relative. If you entertain a secret, lustful thought or proud attitude without any overt, offensive behavior, you need only confess it to God. Confession literally means to agree with God. When you recognize an internal fleshly response, immediately acknowledge it in your mind. That's it; just agree with God and walk in the light.
Second, the process of restoring a relationship through confession and forgiveness is a step of spiritual growth. Your role as a spouse, parent, friend, coworker, or fellow-Christian is to model growth, not perfection. If you're trying to keep up a front of Christian perfection in order to encourage saints and win sinners, forget it; it will never happen. But when you openly admit and ask forgiveness for your fleshly choices, you model the kind of spiritual growth which will touch saints and sinners alike.
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