What have you inherited? What will your children and grandchildren inherit from you? If all you can think of is money and things then it probably won’t matter much. There is an inheritance that awaits those who follow Christ that is beyond all our description. Our down payment on this inheritance is the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and guiding us constantly. In Romans 8:14-17 Paul said, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Just imagine what it means to be an heir of God Almighty. So the real inheritance is waiting beyond this life. Jesus told the apostles that those who left all to follow him would receive a hundred times over in this life and in the world to come life eternal.
When Paul wrote the Galatian churches he made a powerful statement about inheriting the kingdom of God in the here and now. It’s in chapter 5 where he discussed the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christ follower. He noted that one who is led by the Spirit doesn’t carry out the desires of the flesh and that one led by the Spirit isn’t under the Law. Then he lays out the works that of the flesh or the person who isn’t influenced or led by the Holy Spirit. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Notice as he describes the things that will keep one from inheriting God’s kingdom how many of them relate to our getting along with one another in the kingdom.
He immediately turned to discuss the fruit of the Spirit or the things that characterize the life of those who do follow the lead of God’s Spirit and who will inherit the kingdom of God. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.” If I wish to be in God’s will and receive the inheritance of His kingdom then these marks must characterize my life.
Too often those who think they are for certain in the kingdom and are ready to determine exactly who else is in the kingdom with them have very few of the marks that Paul said would be there for those who allowed the Spirit of God to lead and guide in their life and thus bear fruit in them. Too often they seem to be characterized more for the anger, disputes, dissensions and factions that they create, than for love, joy and peace.
Imagine being in a family here on earth that had great wealth and the head of the family is now getting old and it can’t be long before he leaves this world. You know that he is the one who has made his will and that he has declared that he will not leave any of his wealth to those who live in ways that go completely against the attitude and actions he has tried to live by all of his life. You are clear of the heart of the elder of the family. He has been a man of dedication to care for others, and treating everyone fairly in life. He has developed a reputation as a man of great compassion who willingly gives of himself and his money to help those who are struggling in life. As you consider whether or not your name will be in the will, what do you think you would do to make certain you were going to have an inheritance?
With God it is absolutely clear the heart and character of His entire Being. As the “I Am” he has always been and always will be the ever present one. His nature and heart have never changed. He longs for His people to take on the heart and nature of Jesus Christ who came into the world to “Show us the Father.” He sent the Holy Spirit as another helper of the same nature when he ascended back to the Father. The Spirit in us develops the very nature that Jesus lived out during his time on the earth. If you looked at each of the items listed as the “Fruit of the Spirit” you would see one of the greatest descriptions of Jesus ever given. His heart was one that was characterized by each of the fruits mentioned by Paul.
Do you want to inherit the kingdom? What about the character and heart of those who are led by the Spirit of God? Do they characterize your life and heart? If not don’t expect God to change His will to put you into the will. The wise thing to do is to allow God’s Spirit to live in you and guide you so that you walk in the Spirit all the time. If the fruit isn’t there then the Spirit isn’t in the lead. If the fruit is there, then the Spirit is in the lead and you can be characterized as a Spiritual person.