“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control... If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.”
~Galatians 5:22, 23a, 25 (NRSV)
There is one summarising protection against the corruption of the flesh: the power of the Spirit. There is but one way of cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit: we must be guided by the Spirit.
Guided In Love
The love of God is our guide and it must be our superintendent. Obeying the command to love means we voluntarily submit in the practical nuances of forgiveness, mercy, and grace.
Guided For Joy
Living joyfully is not living a fake happy life when we are unhappy. Joy is founded in the hope of salvation. Like peace, spiritual joy is often a little beyond comprehension. We are to surrender to joy; to be available to experience joy at any time of God’s choosing.
Guided By Peace
Peace is our hope for the new life, one unconstrained by every barrier set up by the world, the flesh, and the evil one. To be guided by peace is, again, about surrender. Peace must be bigger than us, personally. When we are smaller than peace, peace can have its way.
Guided To Enjoy Kindness
Being kind is one thing, which is not altogether too difficult if we are guided by love. But to enjoy kindness is another thing separately. We know we are truly cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit when our guidance helps us enjoy the experience. To enjoy the giving and receipt of kindness is an experience of heaven on earth.
Guided To Be Generous
Carrying on from kindness, our guidance to be generous is action-oriented. That is when we know our guidance is true: that our acts are generous. And generosity is such a wonderful testimony of the simplicity in love.
Guided By Faithfulness
Is there a better thing to be guided in than faithfulness? Loyalty to God unto the sanctification of holiness, a condition of discipleship, is our aim. When we are thinking of other people just as much as we are thinking of ourselves we are becoming more faithful. How much more can we, consequently, think of God?
Guided To Be Gentle
Those who are gentle on themselves are able to be gentle on others. When we are guided to be gentle, life is harmonious; a sanctuary.
Guided To Exhibit Self-Control
Such a necessary Fruit, nowadays, is the exhibition of self-control. But self-control needs to be nurtured in non-covetous ways. Will we be bonded to anything and be apart from God?
Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit is about being guided in the Spirit. It requires surrender before God and, therefore, life. We grow or recede; only one or the other.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.