The devotion was out of Galatians 5:22-26 ~ the all so familiar "Fruit of the Spirit". I read over it quickly, really reading it from memory rather than the words on the page. As I looked at it a second time there it was~the thing God had for me, the thing He didn't want me to miss. The first word in verse 22 ~ BUT. Why is it there? Most of the time in reciting this verse I never mention it. However here it was staring me in the face.
I went back to the beginning of the chapter and began to read. As I did God began to unravel the reason for this oh so small word with its HUGE meaning ~ "BUT". In verse one we are admonished to "Stand fast therefore in the liberty (generosity) by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.". (Galatians 5:1). A few verses later in verses 19-21 he tells us of this "yoke of bondage" ~ "the works of the flesh". The list reads like themes of recent Hollywood movies~adultery, fornication, uncleanness, sexual immorality, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, etc. Doesn't sound like a quiet evening at home does it?
Those are the things we can expect when we live our lives without Christ. Verse 19 states that "the works of the flesh are". They "are"! You can count on it! Does it have to be that way, No. Why? Because of the small word ~ BUT, meaning~ there's another choice, something else is available. Christ is telling us~you don't have to live a life full of unrest. He wants you to live a life full of purpose. God is a "purpose-ful" God! He has a purpose for you and your life. He tells us: I've paid the price and poured out my "generosity" (liberty) to all mankind, if you will only accept it, accept me and follow me. If you do, verse 22 tells us what our transformed hearts will experience~love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Life isn't easy at its best. "BUT" this I know, regardless of what the day may bring my God has already provide a place of peace if we will only follow him and rest.
Dear one, life is full of choices. You can live your life struggling with the works of the flesh if you choose to do so ~ BUT ~ Christ himself shed his blood to give you another choice ~ peace in Him. From centuries past He is still call to all who will listen to Him ~ I DIED FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT.
Lord, Thank you for every word that you have given us. Let us not dismiss the small ones and quickly move on. Let us drink in every word that can transform our hearts after you and allow us to live and rest in the fruit of your spirit.