For anyone who has placed their faith in Jesus:
Galatians 5:16-26 NLT
 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.  But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,  idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,  envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.  Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.  Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
There is so much good, hard truth in these verses. Especially when I put my name next to some of the fruits of the Spirit and it reads more like fiction.
Angela is patient? Um…
Angela has self-control… yikes.
I definitely see the truth of who I was before Christ in verses 19-21. I still struggle now and then with some of that. Mostly sorcery. Just kidding, but I still need so much growth in becoming more like him and less like me. We all do. The encouragement lies in my desire to change and my sloooow but present progress in moving from 19-21 into verses 22 and 23.
I can’t do it on my own. The good news is people who belong to Jesus receive the Holy Spirit when they are saved and he helps us move from all the death-producing things we used to do into new, healthy, holy rhythms: not perfectly; not all at once; but if we are truly saved, we will see change.
I sometimes (ok, often) marvel at the fact God chooses to save people like me: the screw ups; the hard-heads; the ones who don’t even know what having it all together looks like. But then I realize what a gift this is: to know you aren’t that great but he is and he loves you anyway.
So that brings me to a question:
Which verses describe your life right now? Are you still in 19-21 or is the Holy Spirit producing some good fruit in your life?
If it’s the former, just know no one is holding you there. You can repent (turn from your sins), place your faith in Christ, and step from death to life. It’s that simple. Notice I didn’t say easy. Following Jesus won’t be easy. But it will be good and it will definitely be worth it. And you get to do it alongside some pretty awesome people.
Ok, so over the next several posts, I think it would be good and helpful (for me, at least) to dive in to the different fruits of the spirit and flesh them out: what does it look like to live a life marked by love? What does it mean to have peace? What is goodness? Do popes poop in the woods? Are bears Catholic?
I’d love it if you came along and talked through some of these things with me.
Alright, friends. Until manzana.