“Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit” (Galatians 6:7-8).
It is a universal law that we reap what we sow. To the extent that our lives are dominated by the carnal mind (or egoic mind), our actions and attitudes generate suffering—both individually and collectively. By the grace of God, however— as that suffering becomes more and more intense —we become willing to take up our cross and follow Christ. So doing, the Way of life opens up before us:
- Whereas, before, we sought personal fulfillment in the pursuit of money, fame, and sensual pleasures;
- Or, for a time, perhaps, we tried to become righteous or spiritual by dint of our own efforts, in deference to some (merely abstract) ideal;
- We are now ready to exchange our will for God’s will, trusting God to work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
- We no longer play tug of war with our appetites and inclinations, realizing that this is a battle that can’t be won (cf. Romans 7).
- Nor do we engage in the hypocrisy of the legalist who is content to rest in ritual observances or self-righteous acts to which he or she is already habituated and takes personal pride in (cf. Matthew 23:23-27).
- Rather, we learn to simply observe the vanity of the carnal mind in the light of that spiritual awareness or “I Am” presence which is the mind of Christ (cf. “confession” and “repentance”).
- Dwelling in that light, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and of death (Romans 8:2).
- Being found in Christ, we are righteous—holy and without blame. For everything exposed to the light becomes visible and everything that becomes visible is light (Ephesians 5:13-14).
- Elements of the carnal mind may persist, but over time we are sanctified— are made “perfect” or “mature” in the faith —as we continue to abide in Christ.
- Though our outward man perishes, the inward man is renewed day by day (II Corinthians 4:16).
- The law of love remains in effect (John 14:34-35; I Corinthians 13).
- The fruit of the spirit is manifest in our lives (Galatians 5:22-26).
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-25).
NOTE: The way to be guided by the Spirit is not to play tug of war with the flesh (cf. Romans 7), but to abide— faithfully and steadfast —in the “I Am” presence which IS Christ-in-you! So doing, the fruit of the Spirit will be generated from the inside out:
“And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,” he also adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more” (Hebrews 10:15-17; see also Hebrews 8:6-13; cf. Jeremiah 31:33-34).
Our ideals cannot become actual— virtue cannot begin to be perfected in us —apart from our unconditional faith in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. For it is only through genuine faith in Christ that our self-will is finally surrendered and the fruit of the Spirit becomes manifest in our lives as we learn to abide in Christ ever more faithfully:
“You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:3-5).
When we truly abide in Christ— trusting in and relying on the “I Am” presence within us —we have effectively exchanged our will for God’s will. And it is only when “we” have died, in this way, and our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3) that the joy of salvation is truly realized and we become obedient from the heart (Romans 6:17; cf. Hebrews 8:10). Thus it is written:
“We have the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16).
Reminiscent of the verses in John 15, quoted above, it is at this point that we begin to
“bear fruit for God . . . not under the old written code, but in the new life of the Spirit” (Romans 7:4,6).