April 10, 2013

Provoking and Envying

Galatians 5:22-26

Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
—Galatians 5:26


When our children were young, they struggled to understand why one child should have a birthday when the others wanted presents too. With all three kids’ birthdays within six weeks of each other, we had to ensure fairness to avoid a lot of jealousy at that time of year!

As fallible human beings, we all fall into the traps of being conceited, provoking each other, and envying one another. When things go well, we give ourselves credit for how we have handled things. When things do not work in our favor, we brood in anger, envying others for what we think we deserve. These emotions are destructive to others around us as well as to ourselves.

After describing the struggles of the sinful nature, Paul reminds us that our sinful nature has been crucified and should no longer be the source of our behavior. Instead, the fruit of the Spirit should be evident in all of our lives, permeating our relationships.

We avoid conceit and envy when we focus on being filled with the Spirit. Let “love, joy, peace, forbearance [patience], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” be the way that we relate to one another.

Are you cultivating the Spirit’s fruit, or are you hanging on to conceit, anger, and envy? God wants to cultivate these virtues in your life so that others will be blessed and find him too!

Lord, help us to let go of our sinful nature and learn to live a Spirit-filled life. Make your fruit evident in our lives so that others may be blessed. Amen.

About the author — Steven and Deb Koster

Steven and Deb Koster have a passion for marriages, families, and spiritual growth in the home. Both are ordained ministers in the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Steven formerly served as editor of Today and director of ReFrame's English-language outreach. Deb leads Family Fire, ReFrame’s family ministry at FamilyFire.com and on Facebook. The Kosters have three children.

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