The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things (Galatians 5:22-23).
My main goal for 2013 (note that I didn’t say, “resolution”) is to always improve the quality of whatever situation I find myself in. In other words, it’s my intention that my presence in any given discussion, event, outing, class, game, group, seminar, conference, booklist, on-line posting, etc… will always be associated with the following:
EASY? My goal sounds good, right? Clear, simply, easy to do, and just the ticket for what ails this world? However, in actuality, following through is a constant challenge. Consider the following scenarios:
Someone on facebook posts a link or an opinion that is harsh, derisive, inflammatory or otherwise insulting to intelligent, civilized dialogue. How do you respond, given the above list?
Your spouse has a hard day at work followed by a bad commute home. He/she walks into the house smothered in angst and fishing for a fight.
Your group, team, or class at church is boring and lacks inspiration. You feel frustrated and unfulfilled. You find yourself tempted to simply walk away.
But the words from scripture are so clear, so healing, so unequivocal… so difficult.
JESUS: Our faith as Followers of the Way of Jesus calls for responses that move our interactions into the realm of healing. Christ doesn’t ask for compromise; instead, his way requires love, peace, and gentleness – responses that are winsome and compelling.
This is especially true when our spouse is involved. We’re talking “Fruit of the Spirit” here, and we can always preface our interactions with prayer. How might kindness look as a bedrock value in your marriage? How about gentleness? What about self-control?
And what does following the way of Jesus call for when we feel that other people are dragging us down? The Way of Jesus calls for faithfulness, patience, and generosity.
2013: So my goal is simple; to be the presence of Jesus in any given situation. I want to tell the truth about the Gospel of Love, simply by being. I want my life to be the compelling evidence of God’s love that someone was waiting for. I want to actually be a Christian.