Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Reflection by Julia Shiver
The part of me that rebels against any and all authority tends to react rather strongly to this piece of scripture. I would much rather talk about the next set of verses, which is about the Fruit of the Spirit.
I tend to think of myself as a good person, for the most part. I follow the Ten Commandments, God’s first set of laws for us. But this passage has a much wider view of those things that prevent us from being at one with God. I know that I am not my best self, nor am I close with God, when I am in the grips of compulsive eating behaviors. And I can only begin to win the struggle by asking for God’s help at those times.
But here I disagree strongly with the author. God knows the struggles I face and God is with me every step of the way. As a believer, the only reason I would not inherit God’s eternal Kindom would be by totally rejecting God. There is nothing I could ever do that would stop God from loving me. The only thing that could ever separate me from God is myself.
Thanks be to God. Amen.