The next three Sundays we will complete our journey in the sanctuary worship services through Paul’s letter to the Galatians. We will focus on what Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22b-25. In the last verse of that brief passage, Paul summarizes what he has said earlier with these words: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” He understands that the spirit in which we live and what guides us will cause our lives to bear certain fruit. Paul identifies the fruit that comes from living in and being guided by the Holy Spirit as having nine characteristics: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Understandably, someone might respond, “So, what? What difference could that really make anyway?” I believe that it can make a great difference in our lives, our families, our communities—even our world. To live in and to be guided by the Spirit means living with an openness to God’s working in our lives in such a way that our lives yield what the world most needs.
I invite you to take some time and think deeply about this in the coming days and weeks:
A world that is often divided by hate needs love.
A world that is often driven to despair needs joy.
A world that is often torn by conflict needs peace.
A world that is often marked by vengeance needs patience.
A world that is often dominated by bullies needs kindness.
A world that is often characterized by a stingy selfishness needs generosity.
A world that is often filled with distrust needs faithfulness.
A world that is often harsh needs gentleness.
A world that is often undisciplined needs self-control.
As I think of those who have made the greatest impact for good, it occurs to me that their lives bore this fruit in abundance. When it comes right down to it, I’m convinced that the very thing we need is this precious, sweet, nourishing fruit of the Spirit.
I look forward to sharing with you as we imagine this for our lives, our families, our communities and our world.
Grace and Peace,