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The Works of the Flesh vs. The Fruit of the Spirit (Part 2)

The apostle Paul says that the works of the flesh include "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revelries" (Galatians 5:19-21). These 17 things are practiced by those who WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God. They are also in opposition to fruit of Spirit which includes "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). Let’s consider a few more of these works of the flesh…

Idolatry = This spiritual attack is against our priorities. We understand idolatry as anything seeking to dethrone God, to put something ahead of God or find something to compete with God in your life (Matthew 6:33, Colossians 3:5, Revelation 21:8). The Ten Commandments set the precedent that there are “no other gods” before Yahweh. Anything that demands our highest priority must be dealt with decisively.

Witchcraft = This spiritual attack is against our Creator. Antichrists practice sorcery using incantations, meditation, drugs and dark magic which by enticing words they hope to persuade the weak to believe an empty promise of peace (Jeremiah 6:14, Acts 19:19, I John 2:18, Revelation 9:21, 18:23, 21:8). Some forms of witchcraft use enticing or subtle words to hypnotize (I Corinthians 2:4, Galatians 3:1, Col0ssians 2:4). Sorcery and witchcraft seek to glorify the realm of the dead.

Hatred = This spiritual attack is against culture. This is an inward disposition of hostility and lack of regard for another (I John 2:9-11, 3:15, 4:20). This specific sin disregards to providence of God, who is a God of love and compassion. It is the antithesis of the Gold Rule (Matthew 7:12). Hatred also leads to many other sins.

Variance = This spiritual attack is against unity. This is includes division, discord and disharmony. Variance is not agreeing when you should or seeking to start a unnecessary quarrel (Romans 13:13, I Corinthians 1:10, 3:3).

Emulation = This spiritual attack is against oneself. It is to copy another to equal or surpass it including jealousy, envy and malice (Ephesians 4:31, Philippians 2:3). We are called to be like Christ (Philippians 2:5, I Peter 2:21-25). We must imitate Christ (I Corinthians 11:1).

Wrath = This spiritual attack is against our nature. This includes great anger, harshness, fierceness and violence (John 5:42, Romans 7:5, Galatians 5:24, 6:7-8, Ephesians 4:31, James 1:19-20, Revelation 2:23). Like hatred, this is the antithesis of the Gold Rule (Matthew 7:12).

Next week we will consider some additional “works of the flesh.” We need to prepare for spiritual warfare. Keep studying and have a great week!

You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds

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