Saturday, May 26, 2012

Oh Freedom!

More thoughts for Pentecost 2012: Galatians 5:1 & 16-26

I was once asked in an interview what my guiding principle or manifesto was
I quoted Galatians 5:1
For freedom Christ has set us free
It's somewhat cryptic but it stays with me
both as  what God might be saying to me
about my own life
and also about what Christian communities
could and should be about
Their own freedom
and working for the freedom of others!
At the end of that chapter St Paul exhorts us
to reject the works of the flesh
They are crucified with Christ on the Cross
 and, by contrast,
to allow the fruit of the Spirit to grow in us

This shouldn't be, he says,  a cause for conceit;
it's not a competition against each other
but rather a deep desire to live our lives properly and well.

This is a particularly important reflection for us at Pentecost-Whitsuntide
because Paul begins these two injunctions
with the simple command:
Live by the Spirit.
We fight the battle with sin
by the grace that God has given to us
though the gift of the Spirit
and he is telling us simply
it's obvious what is wrong
 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(I could, but won't, observe that "homosexuality"
is not on this least this time)

He contrasts this with where our proper focus should be
 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 
This, Paul says, is the fruit of the Spirit

If we are to understand what God is doing in us
it is growing the good stuff (virtue, character, Godliness) and getting rid of the bad stuff.(sin)
And I would agree with St Paul
--all this is obvious---
it may not be...indeed it is not. EASY
And it is certainly not a competition

Let this week be one of intense spiritual focus as we remember we have a Holy Spirit live and active in our lives.
So there are two focuses:

  • The 'works of the flesh' are least mine are...throw some Spirit power (prayer, fasting, energy) into dealing with the jealousy, anger, impurity, drunkenness, fornication...etc. etc   what ever it is that depletes you...and let the Spirit attend to your wholeness, forgiveness, healing, pain, weakness....this is obvious!
  • Pray for the fruit of the Spirit....which one do you particularly need at this time: peace, generosity, gentleness, self-control....and always Love.  God is growing that in us

No comments: