In fourth grade I did a dance in our church musical where we sang in Spanish about the Fruits of the Spirit and one of my peers macaranaed around wearing a fruit turban in all the glory of Carmen Miranda. I think I was cast as an apple (though I'm less sure what that represented). Each time I hear mention of these biblical "fruits" I shimmy my shoulders a bit and start singing in Spanish. My childish memory, but today I'm reminded that the calling's much deeper.
I realize some days, like today, how difficult it can be for me to live out the fruits of the spirit. I get stubborn, impatient, frustrated, etc, etc... and out the window they seem to go. Yet their evidence in our lives is a necessary part of living out our faith. Galatians is one of those tried and true books that I always flip past - having felt like I conquered it's depth in fourth grade - but today I reread it and discovered its wisdom completely anew.
The Spirit and the sinful nature are always in conflict, always at odds, always competing in their desires (5:17). Whenever my heart's at unease, it's likely because I'm failing to yield to the Spirit. After naming the characteristics of the sinful nature - Paul's not just going to let us skirt past! - we're reminded of the fruits grown from a life rooted in Christ.
Years ago in the front cover of my Bible I copied this poem. A reminder, in all my need for pragmatics!, at how love is at the heart of living out godly character.
"Joy is love singing.
Peace is love resting.
Long-suffering is love enduring.
Kindness is love's touch.
Goodness is love's character.
Faithfulness is love's habit.
Gentleness is love's self-forgetfulness.
Self-control is love holding the reigns."
- Donald Grey Barnhouse
After touring the House of our nation's leadership this morning in DC, I realize leadership in my own life starts awfully small, at some profound and childlike basics.
*Cha Cha Cha!*