Have you ever been excited over seeing your name on a special list – such as a High School Honours List or maybe the Dean’s List at university? Do you think billionaires get excited when their name appears in Forbes annual listing of billionaires? How does an author feel when they see their name on the Best Seller’s List?

When you apply for a job and you’re waiting for further word from a prospective employer, you might be told that you are short-listed. That just means they have ruled out most of the applicants – but your name is on the short list of people still being considered for the job.

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Christians in Galatia and for their consideration he enclosed two lists. He expected the leaders in the local church to read both lists before the full congregation. The two lists in Galatians Chapter 5 are poles apart – diametrically opposed to each other; as different as night is from day. Not surprisingly, both lists are very relevant to my life and yours today.

LONG LIST                                                                             

  • Immorality
  • Fornication
  • Adultery
  • Pornography
  • Lewdness and lack of control
  • Moral uncleanness
  • Idolatry
  • Occult, witchcraft, sorcery
  • Illicit chemicals to impair and distort the mind
  • Hatred and hostilities
  • Contention and wrangling
  • Jealousy
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Contention and plotting schemes
  • Agitator for division
  • Envy
  • Drunkenness and impairment
  • Partying badness
  • And all other similar things

SHORT LIST

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

How are both lists relevant to my life in 2018? Here’s how: not even one item on the longer list should characterize my life as a Christian. On the other hand, everything on the shorter list should mark my life now that I am saved. The moment any item on the longer list even makes a faint appearance in my life, I need to confess it to the Lord and identify it as sin – the work of my rotten, sinful flesh.

In fact, the Apostle Paul says – if a person’s entire life is dominated by and characterized by the long list – they’re not even saved. (Galatians 5:21) The evidence of new life in Christ is called the ‘fruit of the Holy Spirit’ and those features appear on the short list. These features are the by-product of walking with Christ each day. I can’t manufacture them myself. The only things the flesh can produce are the sort of things that appear on the long list.

Paul wrote these words to the Christians in Galatia:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Galatians 5:16-17

At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit enters and takes up permanent residence in every single child of God. You can not lose Him. As I daily love Christ and seek to please Him (synonymous with Paul’s term of walking by the Spirit) the Spirit of God produces in my life these beautiful traits that were seen, in their fullness, in Christ Himself.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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