Left, Left; Left Right; Left

IMG_1639

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.  Galatians 5:22-26
Paul writes to the Christians in Galatia so they can know how Jesus changes lives. Its not through a proliferation of rules. Rather change comes through the regeneration of a life in the power of the Gospel of Jesus. Grace poured into our life by the Spirit of God: “we live by the Spirit.”

Now our life is lived in response to Jesus.

Now, we can “keep in step with the Spirit.”

I like to walk. Quickly. My drive is fuelled by the need to exercise and the desire to get there. However, I am able to adjust when in the company of others in order to be with them. As we start out we may each want to insist on our own pace; but soon we are in step with each other. If I am fighting against the pace, it feels like death. So it is with the Spirit of God.

If I am mindful of the Presence of Jesus with me during the day then I adjust my pace, my attitudes, my actions in order to join Him and to keep up with what He is doing in the world around me. When I am in step with Him I can bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

You will know it when I’m not in step with the Spirit when you see conceit, provocation, and envy. How to get back in step? As soon as you become aware: pause for prayer, confessing the sin, and accessing the Gospel for the occasion. Highlight the Cross of Jesus in your thoughts, considering Him who endured sinful people. Then, relying on His grace, move forward in His love and power.

Left; Left; Left, Right; Left; Left…

Consuming Community

IMG_3088

 

14For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. 16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh…

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

 

How is your family (organizational) culture today?

Fussy? Filled with fights?

Does jealousy lurk just below the surface?

Do your structures promote pride and leverage selfish ambition?

Community that consumes is common.

 

Such dysfunction abounds when fear, shame, and guilt have their way among us.

 

In Christ Jesus we have been given another way.

 

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Galatian churches, is concerned. He knows what happens when we our old nature runs into the old nature of another person. Unchecked by the Spirit of God, the old natures rises up and shows its conceit, its ungodly joy at provocation, and its festering envy over another’s good fortune. This kind of community is the kind that devours people and spits them out. Its always looking for the top of the pile. Its a consuming community.

The community that consumes has nothing to do with the Spirit of God and the fruit that is borne of a community surrendered to Jesus. Spiritual leadership in Jesus’ name will yearn for and create the environments that seek maturity that displays Jesus’ love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Then we will catch glorious glimpses of The Communing Community of God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

The Forgotten Context

image

 

6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love….

13For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another….

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

 

Have you memorized Galatians 5:22?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

 

We would do well to be very familiar with all of Chapter 5.

 

The Apostle Paul is in a debate regarding change dynamics. How are people who follow Jesus going to change? How will this new community of Jews and Gentiles gathered in the name of Jesus Christ embody the character of God. To be crass: One group is asking, “When will pagans start being good?” This group is arguing for conformity to the Law and to the community and cultural standards of the Jews.

 

Paul argues for a spiritual dynamism empowered by the Holy Spirit given to all those who receive forgiveness of sin through faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

The Gospel-shaped community vision: faith, freedom, fruit.

Faith in Jesus working through love.

Freedom to serve one another through love.

Fruit borne of the Spirit’s dynamic work in our lives.

 

The Fruit of the Spirit is a vision of Gospel-shaped community. Life in Jesus’ community is the forgotten context for The Fruit of the Spirit.