As I have sprinted, walked, and more times than not, crawled through these last few weeks under quarantine the question that has lingered for me is what can I discover about my relationship with God? Who is God calling me to be?
I have been reading through Galatians recently and I have been reading from the Contemporary English Version. Galatians 5: 22-26 says, “God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. God’s Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. But don’t be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.” Many of us that have been around church for a while know this verse as “The Fruit of the Spirit” and more so if you have worked with kids for any length of time in church, you know the first part of the scripture in song form…
The fruit of the Spirit’s not a coconut, the fruit of the Spirit’s not a coconut, if you wanna be a coconut you might as well hear it, you can’t be a fruit of the Spirit, because the fruit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Contro o o ol.
Now the song is stuck in your head… you’re welcome. Back to what I have learned. When I was reading this scripture in the CEversion the sentence that caught me was, “There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.” In the New International version it is more subtle, “against these things there is no law.” The CEV translation seems to be, for me, more personal because of the word behaving. How am I behaving? Am I living into verse 25, “God’s Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit.”?
You can guess from my first sentence there are some days that have been easier than others, as I am sure is the same for many of you. On those days that I am crawling through, I have found myself mired in the “what ifs”. What if this never ends? What if we get sick? What if the kids don’t pass this grade because I stink at home schooling? What if? What if?
What I feel God is revealing about our relationship and what God is calling me to be, and maybe all Christ followers, is to be still. “Be still and know that I am God.” My relationship with God is not based in the what ifs, it’s based in God’s grace, mercy, and unconditional love for me. Because you see, if God’s Spirit has given us life and we are called to follow that Spirit, we are called to be love, to be joy, to be peace, to be patient, to be kind, to be good , to be faithful, to be gentle, and to be self-controlled. And here is the big “Ah Ha”, we are to be this way with not only others but with ourselves.
So my prayer for myself and for you in the coming week is that you can “be still and know” and through that live into following the Spirit by being love, joy, peace, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self- controlled every day and especially on the days that are hard.