This morning we hear from Paul as he writes to the Galatians (You can find the reading at the foot of the page) urging them to live lives enriched by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The concept is simple, but often we find the execution harder.
Love: loving our neighbours, all our neighbours, those near and those further away. Joy: sharing our joy and sharing in our neighbours joys, even if we don't understand the joy they feel. Peace: doing all we can to ensure our neighbours lives are peaceful ones. Patience: being patience with our neighbours as we would want them to be patient with us. Taking the time to understand them and why they may see the world differently. Kindness: showing kindness to our neighbours, even when they are unkind to us. Generosity: sharing all the gifts God has showered upon us with all our neighbours, especially those who are in need. Faithfulness: never giving up on our neighbours, just as God never gives up on us. Gentleness: being gentle with our neighbours especially those who are often classed as outsiders for one reason or another. Self-control: taking time to stop, to think, to pray, to love our neighbour as we should, even when that challenges our own ideas or understandings Life in all it's fullness comes from embodying the fruits of the Spirit and Loving God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:1,13-25