“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way.”
(So far this week my aim has been to elaborate some on what Paul might be getting at when he talks about the fruit of the Spirit in Galations 5. We have covered love and joy thus far, and though I would like to spend a day on each example listed among the fruits I feel as though I should stick to a weekly schedule with my blog and finish the theme of the fruits by this Saturday. Tomorrow I will conclude the subject of this week with a song that ties all of this together quite well.)
PEACE, FORBEARANCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS and SELF-CONTROL.
I’ve added the translation from Eugene Peterson’s The Message Bible because I feel like it demonstrates beautifully and poetically what these words mean in motion. What I mean by that is sometimes we hear words over time, and they can become very repetitive and bland, not because that is their essence but because we have at times stripped them of their vitality. I don’t think this is always intentional, sometimes it just happens. Come on, you know that when you read this passage sometimes you just sit there thinking, “What do these all really mean?”. And don’t you sometimes think that this all sounds like the least revolutionary and rebellious type thing you could possibly do?
And yet it is so subversive, so counter-cultural that its true implications are hidden from us in plain sight. I remember a reflection by Bono of U2 that has always stuck out to me. He was talking about his desire to be a true rock star. He said that rock ‘n’ roll is inherently rebellious, and for him the most rebellious thing he could do was to sit in the back of a tour bus with his bandmates and read scripture. Everyone was partying late into the night, getting high and drunk, sleeping around and just going crazy. For Bono, none of that was subversive, it was the same across the board. It was the norm. What he wanted was a life less ordinary. I think many of us live in a culture that is the “the same across the board” in this sense; lives filled with chaos and disorder, quick satisfaction and temporary fixes, betrayal and manipulation, systems that discourage compassion and radical love. When we truly explore what our lives and the lives of those around consist of, we can be encouraged by a life that displays “affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely”
That is truly a radical life.
A harmonious life.
A life lived in God’s rhythms.
A life we can have.