Fruit of the Spirit (3 February 2019)

Morning Encounter:

Read:

My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love. All that the Law says can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself. But if you keep attacking each other like wild animals, you had better watch out or you will destroy yourselves. If you are guided by the Spirit, you won’t obey your selfish desires. The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you.

People’s desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God’s kingdom. God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires.  God’s Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. But don’t be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.

Galatians 5.13-26

Reflect: 

As we re-read this week's passage in context we see that Paul begins a magnificent argument for ‘freedom in Christ’. Christ has saved us to set us free – not to live permissive, indulgent lives, but to live as God’s children. He goes on to contrast two lists of behaviours – the first are the result of fallen human desires. Flesh here does not refer to bodily flesh but to humanity when opposed to God. The second set of behaviours are the result of faith in Christ and the impact of the Spirit upon our lives.

Respond: 

Where do you see evidence of the work of the Spirit in your life? Where have you grown in terms of the fruit of the Spirit we’ve been exploring this week? How has the Spirit helped you to be more patient, kind, self-controlled etc?

Midday Meditation:

‘The Holy Spirit empowers believers. God, as Spirit, dwells in each of us. It is our job to surrender ourselves to the awesome work of the Holy Spirit and to engage in activities that enable the Spirit to equip and empower us.’

(Richard J Foster, Streams Of Living Water)

Evening Reflection:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light. 

(From the hymn: ‘Be Thou My Vision’)
 

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