Living by the Spirit


September 22

Galatians 5.22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

How many of us have all these things perfectly in order?  Each time we see someone we think has things together we are disappointed by seeing their brokenness.  Seeing that they don’t have all this figured out either.  We know that we don’t have it all worked out yet, but we hope we have others who do; or expect others to have it all done.

I had come up with a few examples of people where I have had those expectations.  Likely others have done this as we read this.  But looking at another struggling with this is not bringing us ahead.  Except to recognize that this is the goal and the final outcome we are striving for.  Not the reality we live in today.

And then we see a bit more clearly that this is not a checklist that we are trying to complete.  It is not a list of things that we have to see which one we need to work on this week, as the others are getting better faster.  I have been loving this week, but not so joyful.  It is not what we have to do, it is what we begin to look like.

Paul tells us that this is the fruit of the Spirit and that we live by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit.  For reference, a plant that does not bear fruit is not living out of what it is meant to be.  It does not have the control to determine if it bears fruit.  That is likely decided by things we saw in the parable of the sower – soil conditions, weather, weeds and rocks.

We are given the Spirit.  We are to live by the leading of the Spirit.  We are to be transformed by the Spirit.  Not trying to be more in step and better transformed than all the others around us.  But changed as the Spirit is at work in us.  With this in mind and the understanding of what Jesus said in the parable of the sower, we come in prayer to ask that we be transformed by the work of the Spirit in us.  Asking that the rocks and weeds of our life be removed.  Praying that the hardness of our hearts and minds be softened.  Looking to have the seeds of faith grow in us and have it watered by the work of the Spirit in us.  Asking that we become the people that this fruit describes.  Changed to be ones who live out of this being changed and guided by the Spirit in our lives.

SongWe Are Called

Prayer

Eternal God, in every age you have raised up men and women to live and die in faith.  Forgive our indifference to your will.  You have commanded us to speak, but we have been silent.  You have called us to do what is just, but we have been fearful.  Have mercy on us, your faithless servants.  Keep before us faithful people for us to follow so that, living with courage and love, we may inherit the kingdom promised in Jesus Christ, and reign with him forever.  Amen.