Daily Devotion 01 February 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Galatians 5: 16, 22-26 ‘The Fruits of the Spirit’

16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.  22 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.

Our little daughters were upset after Sunday School. They said their teacher had asked them what fruits God had given us, ‘and when we said apples and pears and grapes she laughed and said that wasn’t the answer! But those are fruits that God gave us, aren’t they?’ Some reassurance and hugs were needed: fruits of the Spirit are somewhat difficult to explain to little ones.

In the passage above St. Paul gives us a list of those fruit. The first he mentions is ‘love’. True, biblical love is a choice, not a feeling. It deliberately expresses itself in loving ways and always seeks the welfare of others.

The Greek word translated as ‘joy’ means ‘gladness and delight’, basically the same thing the world means when it talks about joy. Sadly, the world’s joy can’t last because it is based on fleeting, physical things. But the joy of the Lord is based on spiritual and eternal things. When we stay close to Jesus, living each day in his saving relationship with us and following in his way, we experience the fullness of joy.

We can reject the chaos of the world and embrace God’s peace. The book of Philippians tells us how (especially 4:4-9). First, choose to rejoice in God and who He is. Second, bring all our worries, fears, and concerns to him in prayer. Third, fill our mind with God’s truth. And fourth, choose to think about the things of God. Then we will know the Lord’s peace.

Patient people display endurance, long-suffering, and perseverance. As Christians we have everything we need to be patient because we have the Holy Spirit living in us, longing to display his character to those around us.

Kindness’ and ‘generosity’ are closely related. They don’t just involve moral goodness and integrity, but also how we act toward others. This ‘goodness in action’ reflects God’s kindness and generosity toward us.

To be ‘faithful’ is to be reliable or trustworthy. For us as Christians, our faithfulness must be to Jesus, our Saviour who redeemed us. We can’t continue to be faithful to our own sinful desires and ways at the same time.

Gentleness’ is grace of the soul. It’s the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. Gentleness is not weakness, it is strength under control.

The last characteristic in Paul’s description of the fruit of the Spirit is ‘self-control’. When we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have the strength to control our sinful desires. Self-control gives us the power to say ‘yes’ to the Spirit and foster a beautiful, bountiful harvest of spiritual fruit.

Prayer:

O God, empty us of self
and fill us with your Holy Spirit,
that we may bring forth abundantly
the fruit of that Spirit
and glorify you day by day in lives renewed
in the beauty of holiness.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2021 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.

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