“But the Spirit produces fruit in our lives—the kind that flourishes in a beautiful garden: things like affection for others (love), exuberance about life (joy), serenity (peace). We develop a willingness to stick with things (patience), a compassionate heart (kindness), and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates all things and people (goodness). We find ourselves committed and loyal (faithfulness), not needing to force our way (gentleness), and able to direct our energies wisely (self-control).”
Galatians 5:22-23 (MSG + NLT)
In his letter to the church in Galatia, Paul is saddened and frustrated with the Messianic Jewish people who were insistent that ethnically different, non-Jewish believers needed to come under the basic rules of the Torah—undergoing circumcision, keeping the Sabbath, and eating kosher—in order to join the family of God.
At the end of Chapter 5, after outlining God’s intended design for a multi-ethnic family, Paul asserts that the Spirit is the one who transforms us from the inside out—as opposed to transformation from outside-in actions—and gives us a list of the fruits of the Spirit:
This wasn’t the first time in history that a multi-cultural church body tried to find its way through (and fumbled!) God’s vision for flourishing. Using the fruits of the Spirit, Paul describes an image of cultivating a community garden where everyone contributes and everyone benefits and there is mutual flourishing for all.
What would it look like today for us to receive the fruits of the Spirit in our pursuit of justice?
In today’s guided Lectio Divina, I’ll (Vanessa) be reading a version of Galatians 5:22-23 that you may or may not have heard before. I’ve included the scripture above for you to refer back to after you’ve engaged the practice of listening.