when you read the lists in Galatian 5 pertaining to the sins of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit, you cannot help but be caught up in the contrast. The sins of th4e flesh are so “us.” The real us…We may not have committed every one of them but I’ll bet we each can claim a few. One of the ones that jump out at me for this generation (s) is idolatry. We always think of idolatry as what the word seems…idol…and that’s true but, the true Biblical definition of idolatry is ANYTHING that holds first place in our hearts! I suspect not may of us can honestly say God has always held first place. And, from time to time, looses out to something else. We can look around us at many people we know, and we see those that have all their time invested in their children. Others it is a husband…and he is very important but not first if you are a believer. How about work? Many, male and female work so many hours a day there is no time for anything let alone for God. Then there are hobbies…some put an inordinate amount of time in a hobby, even a hobby that may be time spent in front of the TV watching sports to the exclusion of family. We could go on and on couldn’t we? But no need, you get the picture. For me, my worst fleshy idol was worry. It took God YEARS to break me of fretting and worrying…and I still have times when I fall into that old trap. I found myself recently fretting about a few things, things having to do with moving. I realized what I was doing after a little while and had to go to the Lord for forgiveness and go back to my “resource,” memorizing or really, going back over the verses I had memorized and had not reviewed in awhile. Being ill for a prolonged time got me off of my usual timetable and all that I had incorporated into the morning hours. Memorization and review was one of those things, and the reality was I gave the enemy an edge. Of course he grabbed it and I fell for it. I do not offer that as an excuse but a reason, and I am old enough in the Lord to know better. These are the times we realize how gracious God is, and how vast His mercy. Sorcery is another one that we do not realize is present today. We think of the Salem witch trials, seances and such. Not so, the root is “pharmakia.” Our word pharmacy comes from that root. Have you ever abused a prescription? Idol. How about out bursts of wrath? Do you run on a short fuse? Idol. Contentions and dissensions? Enjoying an argument for the sake of the argument? Idol. Envy…personally, I think there is a little bit of envy in all of us, but we need to recognize it and stop. It’s an idol. Now contrast that list with the fruit of the Spirit, or the character of Christ. There is an old saying I really like, “love covers a multitude of sins.” That is a glorious quality to think about. Love can enable you to keep your mouth shut when you want to jump all over someone for various things. We all have times like that, when we have to REALLY lean into the Lord for the grace to exercise restraint and stay silent…especially if you are right! Love can keep us from saying with that haughty attitude, “I TOLD you so!” Something the Lord stopped me from doing was speak with sarcasm dripping from my tongue. There were many times years ago when my husband and I would engage in sarcasm during a “discussion,” and it became very easy for me to sink into that mindset. But someplace along the line, God literally said “stop that!” And I just as immediately realized what I was doing and what a poor testimony it was. I cannot say I stopped immediately, but from that time on I worked on it and finally, it was no longer a part of my speech. And, when I hear it now, I have to smile to myself, what was sin to me is not necessarily sin to someone else. I think it is the enjoyment of getting the best of someone that makes us enjoy speech like that…and that is ungodly. Gentleness is another good quality to think about…speaking or acting in a gentle way especially to someone who is hurting or obviously in some kind of pain. Speaking to them in a kind and gentle way can go a along way for their healing. And I’ll end with self control. I was a very young Christian, had a problem with something my husband said to me. I reached for the phone to call my pastor to talk with him about it, and clear as day I heard, “and I immediately conferred not with flesh and blood.” I did not even remember reading that verse but I must have, because it was clear to me the Lord wanted me to talk to HIM not anyone else. And, I did and He showed me something important about ME! He is a great teacher when we give Him the chance. A very important lesson(s) for me had to do with my speech…not what I said so much as the way I said it. He knew long before I did that the inmates I would be working with would be sensitive to my speech and my way of carrying myself. He did not want me to stand in the way of the message but being a poor messenger. I may think of some more to add to this matter of our sin, will do more in a day or so. Thanks for reading.