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Psalm 104:24-14, 35b      Isaiah 32:11-17     Galatians 5:16-25

Walking is one of my favorite ways to exercise, and I enjoy taking our dogs along; Duramax who weighs in at 110 lbs, and Bailey who is all spindly-legged and comes in at a modest 39lbs.  The leashes and collars make them very excited and the 1st part of our walk is usually spent establishing that they aren’t in charge, stop pulling, don’t try to go investigate every smell, and that person at the end of the street isn’t a threat to my safety, so stop your barking!  Occasionally, after I’ve won the battle of control, they turn on each other in spite of being the best of friends.

This is similar to the situation in the Galatian church that Paul was writing about.  The Believers there had begun to argue, take sides, and devour each other, instead of serving one another in love.  This is the miserable little group that Paul is talking to when he lists the Fruits of the Spirit beginning in verse 22 of Galatians chapter 5.  The characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience (forbearance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the result of keeping “in step with the Spirit(vs. 25).”  The IVP New Testament Commentary describes it this way; “The only way to sustain Christian Life is to walk by the Spirit…Walking by the spirit demands active determination to follow the Spirit’s direction.  Those who follow the Spirit’s direction in the Spirit’s power will not carry out the evil intentions of their sinful nature…and can transform people who are biting and devouring each other into people who are serving each other in love.”

When my dogs submit to my control of the leash, our walks  become enjoyable and fun.  When we submit to the Spirit of God to direct us, others see the fruit of fruits of love, joy, peace, kindness, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our lives.  This is what people around us are looking for in friends, neighbors, leaders, and Christians.  We are naturally drawn to people who have these characteristics.

Are you drawing others to Christ by following the Spirit?  My prayer is that I will let go of my own will, allow the Spirit to lead, and in doing that, will point others to a relationship with Christ.

May you experience joy and peace today!

Anna

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