The readings for yesterday and today take us to Galatians 5:16-26. Here Paul gets to the point of the freedom for which Jesus sets us free. Is it to live for the flesh (self-indulgence) or to live for the good of the whole (the fruit of the Spirit)? I want to explore these ideas with you by sharing three posts. I realize that each post is a feast in itself, but I hope, at some point, you will take the time to read and listen to each one.
From Reading Paul’s Mail
Last summer I wrote a long post on this passage in preparation for a sermon. Within that post I drill deeply into the two lists that Paul contrasts: the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. Read it here.
A highlight from that post,
Here’s the bottom line. It doesn’t matter what culture you live in. It doesn’t matter what denomination your church belongs to. It doesn’t matter what external rules you do or do not follow. What matters is if Jesus has grasped your heart and you are being changed from the inside out – a new creation. If you sow to anger, dissension, pride, etc. you will reap the Hell of your own design. If you sow to the Spirit then you will walk in the Spirit – in the Kingdom that Jesus brought to the Earth – both now and for eternity; ever growing in the love of God.
The Bible Project Podcast
Yesterday I listened to the final installment of the Bible Project’s six-part podcast on the theme, “The Day of the Lord.” I love how they end the podcast talking about Jesus’ upside down kingdom in the face of the current political climate. Please listen. It is good stuff. I love what Jon and Tim are doing. Listen here.
Richard Rohr’s Meditation from Today
I continue to be amazed at how Rohr’s Daily Meditation so often correlates with my own reading and reflections. Today he continues his reflection on Francis of Assisi and how he sees the sacred in everything. This, in my opinion, is the fruit of the Spirit. Read the meditation here.
Here’s a highlight,
The history of almost every religion begins with one massive misperception, making a fatal distinction between the sacred and the profane. Low-level religions put all their emphasis on creating sacred places, sacred time, and sacred actions. While I fully appreciate the need for this, unfortunately, it leaves the majority of life “un-sacred.”
Your task is to find the good, the true, and the beautiful in everything, even and most especially the problematic. The bad is never strong enough to counteract the good. You can most easily learn this through some form of contemplative practice. Within contemplation you must learn to trust your Vital Center over all the passing jerks and snags of emotions and obsessive thinking.  Once you know you have such a strong and loving soul, or the Indwelling Spirit, you are no longer pulled to and fro with every passing feeling. You have achieved a peace that nothing else can give you, and that no one can take from you (John 14:27).
May the fruit of God’s Spirit grow in and through you today, so that everyone you encounter will taste and see that the Lord is good.