If I live as God’s Word says, it promises that I can get more and more of the fruits of the Spirit like love, goodness, kindness, patience etc., and change into someone who is well-pleasing to God. This is what makes the Christian life so special!
For example, I want to be much more loving, so that I can love everyone without having any demands towards them. I want to have a godly love that doesn’t become greater or lesser because of how a person is or how they behave.
Our small troubles
“So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NCV).
My small troubles – the situations that I go through every day – bring me an “eternal glory”. It is when I keep saying No to my own will in these kinds of situations that amazing things happen. That’s when something new is created in me, which was never there before! This is how I get more of the fruit of the Spirit, more of the life of Christ. This is how I get that godly love that I long for.
By saying No to my own will when it goes against God’s will, I change slowly but surely from a selfish, sinful and proud person to someone who, step by step, trial by trial, is becoming someone new – where my nature is more and more becoming godly, as is promised in 2 Peter 1:4.
Taking up a battle against sin
But deciding to live this life isn’t just an easy way into heaven. It’s a battle! It’s not always easy to be obedient and to no longer allow my sinful desires to live. When I do what I want for myself, instead of doing God’s will for me, God cannot do anything in me or through me.
Sometimes it’s hard to let God do this “work” in me, because I am tempted by something that my sinful nature wants - my own desires and lusts. But I say No to these “desires” that come up and know that God will help me to overcome if I don’t give up. As long as I keep saying No, I have not sinned and Satan has no power over me!
I wake up in the morning and think, “Today I will not let jealousy or complaining or anger or unrest come into my heart.” I begin my day in faith that God’s word is true, and that the sin in me will not be allowed to live. Christ’s life and the fruits of the Spirit will show in me! “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God.” Galatians 2:20 (NLT).
I am changing
I can’t always see when I am changing. In the moment it is sometimes hard to see exactly what has changed, but I go step by step, in faith that I am being changed. Suddenly, I see that I can love where I didn’t love before. Or, I see that I am patient where I was impatient and frustrated before. I no longer get offended easily, where before, at the smallest comment I would get offended and angry.
One day these sins that are very much a part of who I am as a person, will be dead because I give them no food - I never knowingly agree to them. Something that never gets food cannot survive for very long!
It really works!
I remember a good friend said once: “Go on! It works, it really works! Don’t give up, don’t lose faith! Stay in the battle and you will get the reward!” When I begin to get tired, for example, or am getting so busy (and dragged down) with the little things here on the earth, I remember these words which remind me that this fight is not useless. There’s a goal, and a reason that I am battling to overcome the sin in me!
I am so glad I have chosen to live this life of a disciple. I still have a long way to go. I have a lot to learn. But I have decided to follow Jesus, and there will be no turning back! I am beginning to change – I am beginning to get of the fruits of the Spirit which I long for.
Each day, I can say that I am not the same person I was yesterday! I have said No to my own will that goes against God’s will and I have taken up my cross, just as Jesus tells those who want to follow Him. Eternal life and the fruit of the Spirt – that is my goal! When we go by faith into this battle against the sin inside us, God is with us, and He will make sure we overcome!