Monday, November 14, 2011

Fruits of the Flesh and the Spirit

Today I read Galatians 5, where Paul talks about the difference between the flesh and the spirit. He talks about how they are at odds against each other and that they cannot exist in harmony together. Just like Jesus taught in the book of Matthew, you cannot serve God and Mammon. He also talks about the fruits of each.

The fruits of the flesh, or the natural man are what you would expect. Selfishness, harmful, adultery, fornication, tending to make decision that are only beneficial towards oneself and not a service giving attitude at all. It is very much the prevalent attitude in today's society, the "what's in it for me" attitude. We see this all over the place these days. People doing things that 10-15 years ago they would never have dreamed of doing are now commonplace. People are only interested in what they can get out of things because they want to get ahead and don't care who they have to hurt to get it. Money, or drugs, or sex, or whatever vice they are interested in because the most important thing in their life and they will literally do anything to get more of whatever it is. And the saddest part is they truly do not care who they hurt in order to get what they want.

People with this type of attitude say things like, "it's my life", or "it's not hurting anyone". I could go on and on. But the fact of the matter is, while it may be your life, it does hurt someone besides yourself. If no one else, it hurts Heavenly Father. Whenever one of His children are acting in ways not in accordance with the Gospel, it causes Him pain. But we also cause pain to our loved ones. Anytime you see a divorce, regardless of the reason that one or both parties will give for it, ultimately it is because one or both parties is being selfish and harvesting the fruits of the flesh instead of the fruits of the Spirit. That's what it all boils down to. Adultery, abuse of any kind, ignoring duties, spending money without consulting with one's spouse first, all of these actions are due to selfishness on the part of one or both partners. If we truly had love for our spouse then we would put their needs and welfare first and foremost. We would be more concerned about what they want as opposed to what we want. And in time, their wants become our wants.

That is because true love is a fruit of the Spirit. When we allow our spirits to be in control of our bodies and to help us make correct choices, then we are able to let the Light of Christ that is in each of us to shine forth. The fruits of the Spirit are patience, forgiveness of others, humility, meekness, temperance, all of the qualities that we need in order to have a successful relationship with anyone, especially a spouse and children. When we choose to put others first and put our needs ahead of our own, then we will be capable of truly wonderful acts of service towards our loved ones. It is a much better, and happier way to live than being selfish all the time. I have seen dozens, perhaps hundreds of examples of marriages I don't want to have in my life. But there are not many examples of good marriages that I want to emulate. Hopefully through my wife and my examples, we are showing others how a good marriage can be. Because I would not trade being married to my wife for all the health, power or money in all the world. I hope you feel the same way about your spouse and you marriage. Until tomorrow.

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