~ Matters of the Heart ~
Emotions are Important, but Fruit is Necessary
Human emotions give us feelings. These natural feelings, or emotions, can cause us to recognize our human side, but the Fruit of the Spirit is what we are to grow into, because it recognizes God in us. In Galatians Chapter 5, it speaks of the life of freedom we have because of our salvation in Christ. We have been set free! As The Passion Translation says: 5:1 “Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free—not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into bondage of our past.”
Paul is saying we have received a new life, and it’s anointed by Christ’s Spirit, so living in our old nature and by our old feelings is not God’s best. It says in verses 14-15: “For love completes the laws of God. All of the law can be summarized in one grand statement: ‘Demonstrate love to your neighbor, even as you care for and love yourself.’ But if you continue to criticize and come against each other over minor issues, you’re acting like wild beasts trying to destroy one another!”
Don’t Let Your Feelings Lead You
It’s very clear and important to recognize our emotions, but not in the natural way of feelings. Feelings can miss the mark when they are triggered by something or someone, and they can lead us back to our natural way of thinking and doing. Most feelings come from experiences in our lives: good, bad, and ugly. Our experiences can also bring on feelings of being joyful and peaceful. If we live our life by our feelings, we can end up going back to the place of bondage that Christ freed us from, acting like the natural man, and we begin to destroy each other over minor things.
Minor things are trivial things, and truly most of our issues are trivial, but we bring them into the self-life and it runs amuck. There are issues that need addressing, and scripture makes those clear. They all have to do with our morals, ethics, and character. Then there are issues that come from our natural feelings and our inability to see outside of ourselves and the things we believe are true and right.
Galatians 5:16-17 (TPT) tells us we have victory over our old nature when we walk by the Holy Spirit. Here is what it says: “As you yield freely and fully to the dynamic life and power of the Holy Spirit, you will abandon the cravings of your self-life. For your self-life craves the things that offend the Holy Spirit and hinder Him from living free within you! And the Holy Spirit’s intense cravings hinder your self-life from dominating you! So then, the two incompatible and conflicting forces within you are your self-life of the flesh and the new creation life of the Spirit.”
Don’t Let Your Feelings Get Involved
Wow, it sounds so simple throw off the old and put on the new, right? It is until we allow our feelings to get involved; that’s when we start destroying one another, and we use words to do it. Our tongue has the power to build up or tear down, and I am guilty of both. I truly have the desire to walk in the new creation and by His fruit living in me. When I let my feelings get in the way and I fall into old ways, I miss the mark of God’s high calling for me. I want to be moved by His Spirit and only His Spirit. Anything else is less than what we received when we were born again.
Don’t Let Your Feelings Determine How You Live
The Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:19-21a (TPT): “The cravings of the self-life are obvious: sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all other similar behavior.” When I read that it makes perfect sense to me what self-life is or what living by my feelings looks like.
The Fruit of the Spirit
The fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions (TPT Gal. 5:22-23):
- Joy that overflows (this is not a feeling, it’s a spiritual force that carries you in difficult times)
- Peace that subdues (no matter what the storm is you are at rest in the knowledge of His goodness)
- Patience that endures (we wait with persistence and fortitude, knowing His timing is best)
- Kindness in action (that’s a verb – action: doing something for someone you know or may not know, and not to gain anything, but just to know you did something good for someone)
- Faith that prevails (we have a faith that is overcoming and victorious, that is how we operate in it)
- Gentleness of heart (compassion moved Jesus to heal, love, honor, deliver, and so much more)
- Strength of spirit (His Spirit is a gift that lives within our spirit and when we allow Him to move in us we gain power and forte)
Walk in His Spirit
To live in any other manner is to live by your self-life which brings us back under the law, we are never to set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless (TPT). Yes, we still live with flesh and bones, but we also have been crucified with Christ, and so it is no longer us that lives, but Christ that lives in us. I believe the Lord is asking us to walk in His divine love which carries the greatest gift of life and fruit. He desires to see His kingdom on the earth working in and through His people more than any other time.
Walk in His Fruit
I’m praying today that we will begin to watch the words of our mouth. May we speak the truth in love, to honor those around us. Let us love and forgive as Christ has loved and forgiven us. There was an old saying when I first became a believer of Jesus Christ: “do a checkup from the neck up.” The Passion Translation spells out the self-life so clearly. We should have no question as to where we need to examine our thoughts, actions, and motives. Today I ask you to join me in really seeking His kingdom first. I’m not talking about the gifts of the Spirit. The time has come that we need the fruit to mature in us. This is so the Lord can pick it from the vine of our lives to feed the lost and dying. This will only start when we begin to walk in Holy Spirit fruit that brings Christ’s divine love.