The characteristics that Paul talks about here are totally contrary to the flesh. Yet, these are the goals that we should be striving toward in our daily walk with Jesus. All of us have certain areas in which God has gifted us and the change from natural to spiritual in these areas are easier for us than for others. The flesh is stubborn and wants to hold onto the old ways. Nevertheless, we must strive every day to improve in all of the areas. Being humble is hard for the flesh. When we do good deeds, we want to be recognized and praised for those good deeds. But, we must remember that we are doing these things for Jesus and laying up our rewards in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. — Matt. 6:2-4
Probably the toughest of all of these things is to learn to truly forgive. We say that we have forgiven those who have hurt us, but how do we treat that person after we have said those words. Does remembering the incident still cause you to act differently toward that person? Forgiveness is not a pardon for the person’s wrong, It is not saying that what they did is okay. It is saying that we all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness at times, so we should forgive others because of the forgiveness we have experienced in our lives, particularly, the forgiveness of our sins by Jesus. We need to forgive for our own benefit and not allow a root of bitterness to grow in our hearts that satan can use to destroy relationships with others and eventually destroy us.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. — Ephesians 4:31
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” 13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” 15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”—John 4:10-15 (NLT)
”Give me this water!” Do you feel the urgency in this woman’s voice as she asks Jesus for the living water? She didn’t quite understand what Jesus was saying, but she knew she wanted some of whatever it was that He had. Do you remember when you reached the point that you had to have a drink of the living water? Right now, where you are, there are hundreds upon hundreds of people still crying out for this living water. They, too, want something, but they are not sure of what it is they want. But you and I know there is only one thing that is going to fill that emptiness inside of them. We have the Living Water flowing in us, will we be kind enough to offer them a drink? Will we take the time to tell them about Jesus?
22 Stay away from lusts which tempt young people. Pursue what has God’s approval. Pursue faith, love, and peace together with those who worship the Lord with a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments. You know they cause quarrels. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel. Instead, he must be kind to everyone. He must be a good teacher. He must be willing to suffer wrong. 25 He must be gentle in correcting those who oppose the Good News. Maybe God will allow them to change the way they think and act and lead them to know the truth. 26 Then they might come back to their senses and God will free them from the devil’s snare so that they can do his will.–1 Timothy 2:22-26 GWT)
If we worship God with a pure heart, it will cause us to want to pursue faith. love, and peace. One of the quickest ways to turn a non-believer away is to get involved in discussions about doctrines and whether to eat meat, smoke or drink. We must be kind and lead them into a discussion about salvation. Until a person accepts Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior, the rest of the Scripture is and will be a mystery to them. We are to offer them Jesus. Once they have accepted Him, God’s Holy Spirit comes to abide in them. It is His job to lead us and them into all truth. As we listen to His quiet, gentle voice, our hearts will turn to the Lord and we will follow Him because we love Him, not out of an obligation to do so. God’s Holy Spirit will free us from the snares of the devil and teach us God’s will.