The Outward reflects the Inward

Ultimately, your intent is expressed by your actions.  Your actions represent your fruit.  Your fruit will be up for inspection.

We are not able to judge a man’s heart but we are able to judge fruit.  As each of us matures, we should produce less bad fruit and more good fruit.  The works of the flesh should no longer be habitual.  The fruit of the Spirit should replace those works of the flesh.  This is what dying to the flesh is all about: be led by the Holy Spirit.

In the letter to the Galatians, Paul explains that trying to conform to the Law by the outward act of circumcision does not change the heart.  The issue is intent and behavior reflects your intent.  The inside must change.  We must have a change of heart and then we must choose to follow a new path, no longer pursuing the path associated with the lusts or cravings we attempted to satisfy in our past.  You cannot fellowship with those who are pursuing the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.  You will ultimately revert back to your old ways.  You become like the company you keep.

There is a difference between ministry and fellowship.  We are called to minister to those pursuing darkness. However, we are not to fellowship and partake of their current path.  If you are weak or immature, you are not ready to minister to those pursuing sin.  You need to separate yourself from the temptations present among those who walk in darkness.  It is better to Love from a distance and insure your own growth and maturity.  You must protect your heart.  You must not let the pressure created by others impact your growth.  After all, misery loves company and they will do anything they can to bring you back into their fold.  If you are worried about their souls, take comfort in the fact that Our Heavenly Father will deal with them at the right time and right place.  You should focus on maturing and producing good fruit.

Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Paul simply states the path we should pursue- walk in the Spirit.  This should be our daily focus.  He details the works of the flesh:

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Read this list slowly and consider each one closely.  Are you guilty of anything on this list?  Stop it.  Repent.  Now focus on producing good fruit:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law

Focus on actions that produce this fruit.  Remove the temptations that keep you from this focus.  It is your choice of which path you take.  Your choice is associated with your intent.  What path will you pursue?  Redirect your mind by reading Scriptures that support Love, peace, and joy.  Read books that focus on these topics.  Reread those books that have had a positive and direct impact on you.  Build yourself up in these areas.  Make your mind a servant to your spirit.  As a man thinks, so is he.  At some point you will no longer pursue your old priorities.

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

When you pursue, focus, and spend time on these attributes of walking in the Spirit, you are “meditating” on these things.  As you meditate, you will notice a heart change.  Depending on how much you have sown in darkness, it may take some time to harvest some good fruit.  Don’t give up.