I heard a profound observation from pastor John Stanton today on an episode of House Calls. He related how this thought that he'd heard from a certain presenter really impacted him and caused him to think. It has certainly done the same for me and I hope it will do the same for you.
The idea was this: The time when the old man usually comes up is when we are right.
Meaning that we can be in the right, theologically, and be correct in our assessment of situations, ideas, or people in the church but can be completely unChristian in the way we handle the situation, displaying the fruit of the flesh instead of the fruit of the Spirit.
When the old man comes up, we display the works of the flesh.
According to Galatians 5:19-21, the works of the flesh include hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions and dissensions.
How easy it is for us to manifest the works of the old man when we know that we are right! How easy it is, when we are right, to act contentious and hateful, to have outbursts of wrath and selfish ambitions and to create dissensions.
If such is the case, then, though we are right, we become wrong.
If the Spirit is abiding in us then His fruit will always be apparent, which according to Galatians 5:22 and 23 are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Let's close with Galatians 5:25 and 26, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."