Reflection for Sunday 26th April 2020
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
There is nothing quite like being told you have to do something in a particular way to put our characters under pressure is there? For some of us lockdown and isolation have tested us in ways we have not experienced before. It is like a magnifying glass highlighting our inability to live as Jesus would want us to – Maybe that’s just me, but I doubt it. Whether you are experiencing much more time alone than you would want or you are feeling cooped up with too many people then this series of reflections will give us all hope and a means of allowing the Holy Spirit to grow us and shape us.
Firstly, this is NOT a list of attributes we have to try really hard to do better at. A tree does not work hard to produce apples it puts down roots to absorb nutrients and water and spreads out its leaves to use the sun’s energy to produce food for the tree and so it grows, forms blossom and then fruit. So, it is with the fruit of the spirit in our lives. Each one is present within us if we have received the Holy Spirit and we need to put our roots down into God, through reading his word and asking to be continually filled with the living water of the Spirit, we can open ourselves to Him in prayer and worship and simply being in his presence and the Holy Spirit will grow these fruit in our lives.
There are things Paul says we are not to indulge ourselves in and a list of these can be found in vs 19-21 and we may be finding some of them really tempting at this time, so let’s be honest about that, whether it is getting really angry, drinking too much, doing our own thing regardless of the restrictions placed on us, playing the blame game or watching sexually or emotionally unhelpful programmes on TV or the computer, let’s face the truth, repent and decide to pursue God and not self at this time. On our own, it would be impossible. But with the Holy Spirit, we have a supernatural ability to overcome. And the more we draw near to God, praying and reflecting on His Word, the more we will experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
Love is the first fruit listed and is key; Joyce Meyer wrote, “First, you must learn to receive God’s love for yourself. Until then, you can’t truly love anyone else. You may do all the right things, but your motivation will be all wrong. ” All the fruit of the Spirit are held in place by love. Jesus said that loving God and other people is the most important commandment. “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” He added, “A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’” (Matthew 22:39).
Joyce suggests a way that we can begin;
“God loves you so much, He wants you to experience that love in the deepest part of your soul. Pray and ask Him to help you be a person who walks in love. Choose to believe the best about people rather than automatically assuming the worst.
Study the passages of Scripture that talk about God’s love for you and really get them into your heart. Then ask God, “How can I encourage someone today?” Don’t wait until you feel like it. Go and love on purpose. You will be amazed at the joy it releases in your soul! Focus on learning to love as Jesus loved, and I promise, all the other fruit of the Spirit will follow.” (https://joycemeyer.org/)
Author: Jenny Ridge