Yesterday, the Lord reminded me of how His Word (Luke 12:11-12) had given me peace in the face of an accusation that could have sent me to prison, or worse, could have ruined my testimony for Christ. I prayed as I had never prayed before, and there came a peace over me as I knew the outcome was totally in His hands. Within hours, my accuser admitted he had made the whole thing up, and to this day, I have not worried about life or death. I am His. The Bible provides wisdom, courage, comfort, and assurance to those who trust in Him.
Christians are warned to walk in the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16), and again to live in the Spirit as we walk through this journey called life (Galatians 5:25). Before each of these admonitions to live surrendered to the Spirit's direction, there is something quite interesting. In Verses 13-14, the Lord provides us with the understanding that all of the Law, all six hundred plus individual laws including to love the Lord, are fulfilled when we walk in love toward our neighbor. Because that seems impossible, He then tells us how to accomplish it: walk surrendered to the direction of the Holy Spirit (v. 16). That is followed by a check-list of things that are of the flesh, and of things that are of the Spirit (vv. 19-22). How do I know whether I am walking in the flesh or in the Spirit? Check the list. Is what I am doing motivated by love for others, or is it for my own sake (v. 26)?
Having the right motive as we walk through each situation is very important, but it is just as important, perhaps even more important that the "neighbor" recognize the sincerity of our motive. For that, we need to allow the Spirit to do the talking. I believe that can only be accomplished when I have my sins confessed and I am walking in righteousness (1 John 1:5-10). Righteousness comes when unrighteousness departs. Repentance and confession of sin cleanse us, leaving us righteous. The two conditions are like light and darkness; only one can be true at one time, and when one leaves, the other returns. That of course only applies to those who have been born again having Christ's righteousness in the first place. What has never been there can not return. You must be born again.
My neighbor may not react in a way that demonstrates he or she understands my motive, but if I am walking and talking as the Spirit leads, the Spirit will take what is said and use it to convict or encourage the one for whom He has given me a burden. Having Bible knowledge and thinking I am able to accomplish change in someone is, not only arrogant, it is almost blasphemy. To think I am so righteous that I don't need to walk and talk in the Spirit will result in failure every time. And no matter how well-meaning I am, the person to whom I speak will recognize the difference between the fruit of the flesh and that of the Spirit. If I am speaking in the flesh, I may regret the change in my neighbor (Acts 19:13-16). The Spirit always speaks the truth in love. I usually speak the truth in anger. Father, forgive me for my self-righteousness!