We come to Galatians 5 verse 24 – “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”

That is strong writing - what some people would classify as heavy duty. There is no room here for wondering what he is meaning. Some weeks ago we took time to go through the fruit of the Spirit - what God Himself desires to grow within us and produce from our lives - from these earthen vessels.

We are vulnerable frail and fragile - similar to a light bulb - but when carefully placed into its right place it is full of light and power and banishes the darkness.

When we come to the Word - when we give ourselves to prayer - we connect with the only source of Love and Light and Power - the risen and living and ascended Lord Jesus Christ.

We have read too of what has to be weeded out. Paul is equally as strong on clearing the ground.

No farmer would go out to sow seed without first ploughing.

No gardener expecting flowers and fruit from his seed would sow without first clearing the ground of what could choke the young plants.

In the spiritual life the principle is the same. God would have us clear the ground and clean up our lives the only way our lives can be cleaned up - through the Blood of Jesus Christ, sacrificially shed on the Cross.

Verse 21 - Paul is quite open - I warned you before - but I do warn you again. He is repeating himself. Sometimes the lesson has to be repeated and repeated until it is learned. Any classroom teacher would vouch for that.

What we read of verses 19 to 21 may be the fruit of another spirit. These things listed there are not accidents. They are usually the consequences of decisions men make. People choose to be involved in these things. They choose to act in these ways.

Anyone living like this will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God. Now, that is a law.

Those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Those who do not belong to Jesus Christ are controlled by their sinful nature - by their passions - desires - feelings - and emotions. What a picture of fallen sinful man.

This verse also makes another truth very clear - there are those who belong to Jesus Christ, and there are those who do not belong to Jesus Christ.

Those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the old sinful nature. This nature with which are born is sinful - and those who belong to Jesus Christ nail it to the Cross - and that can be painful in all kinds of ways.

God does not teach us to tame it or control it. God knows that we cannot.

God has only one remedy for this sinful nature - execution - and in Romans 6 we are shown how it has to be buried. The old man is crucified and buried, and we rise from the watery grave a new creation.

The flesh rebels against the righteous government of God.

The flesh rebels against God's Son - God's Word - God's Ways and God's people.

The Bible is very practical - and very true to life. Paul knew what he was talking about when he wrote this letter to those who were on the verge of being deceived.

Verse 25. He goes right on to speak to those who have crucified the sinful flesh, and he is equally as positive. "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." When He moves - walk alongside Him. Follow Him in whatever direction He goes.

As soon as He speaks, have a conversation with Him. Find out exactly what He is saying to you - to us - and flow with that.

Don't be lagging behind - and don't try to rush on ahead of the Holy Spirit – just keep up with Him. He will not flow too quickly.

You will manage His pace, provided you have the desire to, and if you are in step with the Holy Spirit, your movement will be smooth, because you are flowing with GOD.

It is a picture of Jesus and you marching together into this dark world. It is a picture of the army of God waging war on this world of sin, and there is co-operation with God and everyone knows their place and role and task.

That is why we are told - don't become conceited - don't provoke people - and don't envy someone else - not if you are marching together in the army of God - and seeking to keep in step with the Spirit.

BUT - BUT - there is always a BUT - even after the fruit of the Spirit. If someone does get caught in a sin - if someone stumbles and get out of step - you who are spiritual should restore him gently.

Here is one mark of the man or woman who is spiritually mature. You go and seek to bring that person back into line - and you do it gently.

Also, you are careful that you do not fall into the same trap as they fell into.

“Gracious God, help me to get rid of what I need to get rid of in my life – in my heart – in my attitude – and help me to walk in step with the Holy Spirit – one step at a time.” Amen.