Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit or the devil?

Today’s Epistle Reading: St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 5:22-26; 6:1-2 - Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.  Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.  Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.  Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Especially during these “holidays” when materialism and commercialism beckons around every corner, we should be convicted by today’s reading from Galatians. Just how do we expect to “have crucified the flesh” if we are not willing to fast during these days when the world is celebrating? I hear sometimes, “We’re supposed to celebrating the holidays, and now you’re telling me I should fast. How am I supposed to do that? Everyone will think I’m weird.” AS IF we place more value in the opinions of strangers on the street than whether our soul is in fact bearing the fruit of the spirit. Think of it for a moment...self-conceit, provoking one another, envy of one another....aren’t these the exact sins we encounter during the holidays? Aren’t these the exact sins that we drain our soul of joy? The reason is simple really. The world, being led astray by the devil, seeks to draw us more into our selfish desires rather than focus upon God. If the devil can use our friends, coworkers, neighbors and family members to shame us into going with the flow of society, we will not bear fruit of the Spirit, but fruit of the devil. Something to think about while you’re out shopping for that ‘perfect gift’ this weekend.

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