Just how did we drive the car over the parking curb?  The vehicle was wedged in so tightly that we could not clear the barrier. Yes, I confess I was the driver on that little side trip in Florida. We had made a wrong turn. I chose to stop at a tiny parking lot next to the shore so we could get our bearings. Concentrating more on the map than parking the car, I had pulled in too far and driven right over the curb. We were stuck good and tight. Repeatedly, I tried alternately putting the car into drive and reverse, but was making no headway. 


During seasons of my life, I have also found my spiritual life stuck, making no headway. The fruits of the Spirit that are to propel me forward: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control have withered on the vine.  I have lost them because I have decided that I am the better judge for what is best for me.  Because of my rotten judgment, I have become stuck, wedged on to a spiritual curb.


This is not God’s best plan for believers to remain spiritually stuck. Galatians 5:16-27 lists many “deeds of the flesh”. Notice there is an antidote for each of them: the fruits of the Spirit.  For example, one can’t be faithful to God and sexually immoral at the same time. It is impossible to continue in impurity and indecent behavior if self-control and goodness are the filters for our minds.  Idolatry and witchcraft go down the tubes if one first loves God above all else.  Hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, and selfish ambition are not even on the table if love, patience, kindness, and self-control are our first response to pain.  I can’t sustain a fit of rage if the Holy Spirit is controlling the words that come out of my mouth. We are not to remain stuck in the deeds of the flesh.


What does a Spirit controlled life look like? Have you ever noticed in the Gospels that Jesus didn’t waste His time going around screaming at the Roman soldiers?  He didn’t throw that first stone at the woman caught in adultery. He didn’t move away from the dinner table when the tax collectors sat next to Him. He even loved His disciples when they were at odds with each other over who would be first in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus lived in an unlovable world.  The words that came out of His mouth and His behaviors were all fruits of the Spirit. Every single last one…


Is it possible for believers to live this way, not mired in the deeds of the flesh? Galatians 5:22-23:But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Amplified Version) How do we become empowered by the Holy Spirit?  By taking our hands off of our spiritual steering wheels.  By refraining tearing down the throne of our “rights” and instead seeking the best for others. 


Isn’t that what Christ did when He gave up all the beauty and light of heaven? He chose to walk on this earth surrounded by people who didn’t believe Him, blasphemed God, made a mockery out of faith, and made the decision that getting rid of Him was for the better good?  Yet, He still loved us and gave Himself for us. He made a way so that we could not only become God’s children but be indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  We would no longer have to listen to our own inner navigation systems which would steer us toward death.  We could have the navigation system of the Holy Spirit Who would direct us to life and all the lovely fruits of such a life.


Has your spiritual life gotten stuck? Offtrack?  Maybe you don’t know how you ended up there, but you desperately need the power of the Holy Spirit to lift you out of that pit of deed of the flesh.  What’s the solution? Confess it, turn away from it, and ask the Holy Spirit for directions on how to live.  Since I have a God who got a rental car eventually unstuck from a parking curb in Florida, I know that we have a God Who can steer us safely into living holy lives.

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