22 But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 (Amplified Version)
I was going to write about rotten fruit and then I fell!
I fell again!
First and truly most importantly….I want to say something that I hope you will all hear.
I hope you know that I write for you as much as for me. When I write about falling and getting back up, and wanting to be seen…I also want to say, “I SEE YOU.”
Most of you, I know a part of your life story. I know you have fallen, fall, got pushed down, got back up, and most people do not have a clue…too. Most of you who are my community here, I know you. I am in awe of you. I am inspired by you. I have had and have the privilege of hearing parts of your stories and I know that so many of you know how hard it is to keep getting back up.
About the rotten fruit. Those tomatoes in my garden, I planted them as a small plant. I found a sunny place in my garden where they could be fed. I gave them water to survive the drought. I put up the wire cage to support the growing structure. I did all I could to help the plant develop the fruit of its being.
And then I left the fruit to rot on the vine.
In my dark moments, that is how I feel about my life right now: rotting fruit.
I sought the fruits of the spirit through the gift of faith. To my faith I added knowledge, mutual affection, and perseverance. (reference my August 6th post)
There was fruit, I had love for many, many people.
Lately, I feel that the fruit has rotted. I am angry, ill-tempered, impatient … in fact in Galatians, Paul talks about the “acts of the flesh” right before he talks about the fruits of the spirit. Amongst other acts, he mentions these, which I can claim; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy.
I was out for a walk/run this morning. I was thinking of how ugly I have been lately. I was thinking about a meeting this past Sunday when I allowed my ugly self to unveil. I was thinking about how to tie this into my “Rotten Fruit” post when this song came on and I started singing and moving my feet at a quicker pace. Not more than about two blocks into the run portion of my excursion my foot caught on this. Gosh, I don’t know how I keep ending up in these situations. My other foot got caught too and before I knew it I was flat smack dab on the ground.
This was a hard fall and I sat and cried for a few minutes.
I’ve been wondering about these falls all day. The metaphor of falling remains fresh in my mind. Perhaps I need to stop trying to run and take up another form of exercise.
I don’t know…..But the running, walking, and falling references in Galatians are interesting. So I will just leave it here – since I can’t figure out what it all means.
More from Galatians 5 – The Message translation:
7-10 You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn’t come from the One who called you into the race in the first place. And please don’t toss this off as insignificant. It only takes a minute amount of yeast, you know, to permeate an entire loaf of bread. Deep down, the Master has given me confidence that you will not defect. But the one who is upsetting you, whoever he is, will bear the divine judgment.
11-12 As for the rumor that I continue to preach the ways of circumcision (as I did in those pre-Damascus Road days), that is absurd. Why would I still be persecuted, then? If I were preaching that old message, no one would be offended if I mentioned the Cross now and then—it would be so watered-down it wouldn’t matter one way or the other. Why don’t these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves!
13-15 It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?
16-18 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?
19-21 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.
22-23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.
25-26 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.