19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Lists like this are often used as a stick to beat others with, to condemn them because their lifestyles don’t fit with how we think people should live. For some reason we often focus on issues of sexual immorality. But let’s not be quick to do that. If we’re honest, these lists don’t just condemn people who we might see as different from us, they condemn us all! Whilst I might not be guilty of the more ‘exotic’ of the list, I’m certainly guilty of common old garden hatred, discord, jealousy, the occasional fit of rage and selfish ambition, and envy certainly has occurred when I see a professional guitarist playing a lovely guitar, or a cyclist speeding past on the latest bit of kit. Perhaps the point of such lists is not to condemn, but to lead us to marvel at God’s actions, compassion and grace towards us, and to spur us on not to point the finger at others, but to point to him and rely on his work in our lives.
Father, I’m not going to look at others but at myself. Forgive me my brokenness. I need you, and marvel that despite my failings and frailties, that you love me.