Galatians 5:22-23 in the MSG, “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
Other translations use the word virtue or goodness or the phrase “a life full of virtue”. The Greek word used means uprightness of heart and life, goodness, kindness. I find that fascinating that in the fruit of the Spirit two of them can be translated into kindness or goodness. When I think of uprightness of heart, I think of one whose motives are unquestionable. You know there are people that if they do something nice for you, you begin to ask questions like, “What do you want?” I think uprightness of heart takes away that question. Your motives are no longer questionable as it becomes clear that being kind or doing good things for others is just who you are and its in your nature.
We are not born this way as we tend to be born with a bend towards selfishness. But the Holy Spirit teaches us how to live life this way as we submit to Him transforming our hearts and our minds with the word of God.
Uprightness of life to me means our lives are wide open. That is not to say we post every detail of our personal lives on social media but it is to say that we have no “skeletons” in the closet so to speak. We have nothing to hide and we live our lives wide open before God. We are open and honest with God about our thoughts, our actions, our intentions, our attitudes our feelings, our decisions and so on. This is the best way of living life because the more upright your life is, the less drama that follows you around.
We need God to be able to live our lives this way which is why this is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a result of having God living on the inside of us. The MSG version quoted above sums it up nicely. It says that we are to live as ones who have a basic conviction that holiness permeates things and people. What does this mean?
I love what my pastor Esther said recently which ties in with this. She said, and I paraphrase, “Because we have Jesus living on the inside of us and He is righteous and holy, His righteousness within us is what makes us want to do good things externally.” So in effect we do good things or we have upright hearts and lives not because we ourselves have mastered the art of being good or upright but because there is One living within us and transforming our hearts and our minds into the image of Jesus Christ.
We can’t work at it backwards by trying to do good things and hoping the inside changes. God works in us from the inside out. His holiness, His goodness, His righteousness permeates us from the inside out and then it is reflected in our actions and in how we treat and handle our things and other people. We know this because uprightness of heart is not an external thing. You can do the right things externally and your heart be in the wrong place. We want our hearts to be right first so doing the right thing becomes our natural response to life. Not a forced thing that we do because we have to.
I hope you are having a good week and no matter what you are facing this week, remember that God is with you. Read back on the fruit of the Spirt that we have already covered like joy or peace so you can ask God to release whatever it is that you need because it is already within you because God is living within you.
Love and blessings,