The beautiful fruit of being led by the Spirit

Posted May 19, 2022

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Daily Scripture

THURSDAY 5.19.22 Galatians 5:17-23

17 A person’s selfish desires are set against the Spirit, and the Spirit is set against one’s selfish desires. They are opposed to each other, so you shouldn’t do whatever you want to do. 18 But if you are being led by the Spirit, you aren’t under the Law. 19 The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, 20 idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, 21 jealousy, drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these kinds of things won’t inherit God’s kingdom.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this.

Reflection Questions

This passage listed key qualities God offers to grow in all who make Jesus Lord of their lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self- control. Who wouldn’t want these qualities in a spouse, a date or a close friend? Partnering with God to grow these qualities in our lives will build stronger relationships that can last through good times and bad.

  • First, the apostle Paul listed actions or attitudes (verses 19-21) that “selfish motives” (Greek “acts of the flesh” *) produce. Left unchecked, these are things that will surely destroy any healthy relationship. Review the list. Which of them do you tend to struggle with the most? (Neither “none” or “all of them” is likely to be accurate!) In what ways do they create problems in your closest relationships?
  • Now try the same exercise with the qualities Paul called “the fruit of the Spirit” in verses 22-23. How is God at work in you, growing you into a person who lives out these qualities more and more? What steps can you and your partner take to open yourself to God? (At Resurrection, we teach the five keys of The Walk as 1) worship/prayer, 2) study, 3) serve, 4) give and 5) share.** For another readable list of often-helpful spiritual practices, click here.)

Prayer

Holy Spirit, plant your fruit in my heart, and teach me how to be good soil in which that fruit can flourish. Let me be a person who gifts others with love, joy and peace. Amen.


* “When Paul uses the word ‘flesh’…he does not intend us simply to think of the ‘physical’ world ….‘flesh’ refers to people or things who share the corruptibility and mortality of the world…the rebellion of the world.” – Wright, N.T., Paul for Everyone, Romans Part One: Chapters 1-8 (pp. 140-141). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

** See Adam Hamilton, The Walk: Five Essential Practices Of The Christian Life. Abingdon Press, 2019.

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Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie serves as the Marketing and Communications Specialist in The Church of the Resurrection's ShareChurch ministry.

Growing up the only pets we had in our house were fish. Mom would not allow dogs or cats inside the house--which worked out for me because I am in fact severely allergic to most mammals. So it came as a great surprise to me and others when in 2018 I brought home a little Yorkie, KiKi Okoye Tennie. I never pictured myself with a hypo-allergenic, four-legged companion, but here we are! God knew I would need her though, between the loss of my mom in 2016 and the long-term effects of isolation and quarantine as a single woman living through a pandemic.

KiKi and I have a great rhythm and hardly ever have any hiccups—except when we go for walks with the leash. See, there's nothing like a leash to showcase that there are two distinct creatures with two very different mindsets and priorities on either side of that leash.

I want to walk one direction—KiKi wants to walk the opposite.

I want to walk at a nice leisurely pace—KiKi wants to sprint.

I want to casually admire the environment—KiKi wants to hunt squirrels.

I want to say “hi,” and move peacefully past the other person and their dog—KiKi wants to bark her head off at them.

The leash highlights the conflict between what I want to do…and what KiKi wants to do.

Galatians 5:17 explains that our human desires are in constant conflict with the Holy Spirit's desires for us. The direction that God wants us to walk is usually the complete opposite direction in which we want to walk. But in verses 22 and 23, God provides us a string of words and characteristics that can act as a leash that nudges us and--let's be honest--often must pull us in the right direction.

--A nudge toward love.
--A turn toward joy.
--A prod toward peace.
--A push toward patience.
--A veer toward kindness.
--A pull toward goodness.
--A spin toward faithfulness.
--A tug toward gentleness.
--A pivot toward self-control.

I pray that we would all mind the Holy Spirit as we go about our walks today.

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