One reason we fall into various sins is because we just don’t think sin is a big deal.
Now, most of us wouldn’t say that! We know what the Bible says, and we believe that Jesus died because of our sins. Nevertheless, I still think that we lose fights against the flesh because in the practical day to day we don’t think sin is that big of a deal.
Until it becomes a big deal.
Paul continues in Galatians 5 to talk about the “works of the flesh,” and as dark as the picture is, it is necessary for us to look at these biblical descriptions so we can battle the flesh with humble reliance on God’s Spirit.
 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (ESV)
Getting to the Heart:
Paul says the “works of the flesh are evident” (19). Two things here: the flesh doesn’t produce “fruit” like the Spirit does. The outworking of the desires of our flesh (seeking to gratify and exalt self) are works that go out of those desires to hurt others, not help them or nourish them like fruit. Second, Paul says these works are evident, meaning they are plain to see and are everywhere. He lists 16 of those works, but by writing “and things like these” he’s telling us that there seems to be no end to the creative ways our indwelling flesh can find to promote and gratify self.
While this list helps us name the sins, it must not cause us to think that some of these works of the flesh are more deadly or serious than others (for example drunkenness vs. envy). All of us wrestle against these works, and without Christ we’d have no hope to win. As a matter of fact, if we continually exhibit any of these works in an unrepented-of pattern, we will not inherit the kingdom of God. That’s a big deal.
How must we respond? By confessing our particular works of the flesh to God and others, ask for forgiveness, and walk by the Spirit.
Here’s how it happened in my experience just this morning.
I got up this morning and fixed breakfast for the kids. I also made coffee for me and my wife and went the extra step of steaming the milk and making it frothy, with a touch of vanilla. It was French-pressed, steamed milk perfection! I had determined that I needed to get to work, so I wasn’t planning to eat right then, but I carefully prepared my coffee just how I liked it and was eager to enjoy that steaming foamy cafe latte!
But one of my kids was bouncing a bouncy ball around the living room. Perhaps you know what happens next.
I left my coffee on the counter for just a minute as I turned to get something I needed for my work-at-home day, when all of a sudden the bouncy ball sailed through the air, bounced once on the kitchen floor then landed with a plop… in my steaming foamy cup of coffee.
A primal yell emerged from deep within me, “Ahhh!” “Why?!” I’d used up all the milk, and I didn’t want to brew more coffee just to drink it black, so I poured the coffee and bouncy ball out in the drain, and walked away with anger brewing in my heart.
A couple of minutes later I was convicted. That was a fit of anger that bubbled up out of my heart. Why? Because my motive was to enjoy the hot coffee as the fruit of my labor, and it was taken away from me. In that moment I wanted the pleasure of the coffee more than I wanted to love and show forbearance to the bouncer of the ball. I responded in that moment with an outburst of anger, “Ahhh!”
The Holy Spirit gave me insight into my motive and the work of the flesh that was evident. I went and confessed that sin of anger to the child who had bounced the ball, and I asked for forgiveness. The Spirit was kind and faithful to help us be reconciled.
My friends, be specific about the works of the flesh that are in your lives. Confess them specifically to God and others, ask for forgiveness, then continue to walk by the Spirit.
Let’s talk it over:
- How have you seen the works of the flesh evident in your own life?
- Are you seeing consistent growth by your ability to identify these works of flesh and put them to death by confession, repentance and walk by the Spirit?
Oh Holy Savior, Lord Jesus Christ, we are humbled by the weight of this list, especially since we have evidenced some of these very works of the flesh. The seriousness of sins is heavy upon us when we see the evident works of the flesh at work in us and in those around us. Especially during this Covid19 quarantine we see these works come out more. But we know You don’t mean us ill by revealing these works, and You never condemn us. We stand holy and cleansed by Your blood, Jesus, and we thank You and love You all the more when we experience Your cleansing and ongoing sanctifying now by Your Spirit. Help us, Lord, and make us continually like You. Amen.
Worship in Song:
Memory Passage Reminder: Galatians 5:22-24