December 21, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals from December 21-22 (new) are provided by Christine Li who serves as a deaconess at Remnant Church in Manhattan, New York.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“The Right Measures”

Galatians 5:16-26

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Over the last several years, my social media feed has become, among other things, an Height Measureannouncements feed of friends’ celebrations: engagements, marriages, kids, etc. Specifically, around kids, one common way they announce children’s growth is with charts you’ve likely also seen on a monthly or yearly comparison: how old they are, how many words they say, how many teeth they’ve lost, etc. It should go without saying that if we measured these kids on the wrong scale (e.g. the ability to bake a cherry pie or perform multivariable calculus), they would absolutely fail, but as long as we measure children on right and appropriate criteria, we will accurately assess how they are growing.

When I was growing up, I heard a joke that churches are usually measured with an ABC: Attendance, Buildings, and Cash. While these are definable and obvious measures, they don’t tell a complete story. Believers know that the most important thing that must be measured is the degree to which we are growing spiritually. But how can you or I measure our spiritual growth? This passage in Galatians gives us a good framework to start with: are we increasingly prone to the deeds of the flesh? Or are we growing in the fruits of the Spirit?

At first glance, these lists may seem qualitative and hard to measure ourselves on, but I challenge you not to dismiss them or gloss over them quickly. If we spend some time meditating on these qualities, we can find plenty of ways to measure our spiritual fruits: Do I frequently burst into anger when dealing with a certain individual? How many hours have I spent envying the lives of others around me? Am I spending more of my time serving others and meeting their needs? After arguments, do I seek to reconcile with others more now than I did in the past?

These are not the only ways to assess whether we are maturing as believers, but it can be a helpful start. Today, let’s submit to the Word and let it reveal how we have grown and have yet to grow. As we are led by the Spirit, let’s ask God to continue to transform us so that we will bear these spiritual fruits and exhibit His qualities more frequently and triumphantly over our old ways of living!

Prayer: Father, thank You for putting Your Spirit in me. I want to see fruit in my life borne in accordance with Your character and goodness. Make me more satisfied in Your ways so that I will not follow my flesh but seek Your ways!

Bible Reading for Today: Luke 4-5

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