The Fruitful Life

This week's devotion is offered by Rita Bartak, who offered her (very insightful) reflections on the key scripture for our sermon series. "By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." - Galatians 5:22-23

When I was trying to memorize the scripture verses for Pastors Caleb and Caitlyn's latest sermon series, "The Fruitful Life," each time I recited back, I would mix up 8 of the virtues. Never the first one, LOVE. I always got that one in the right order. The more I thought about it, the more I realized and understood why Paul placed love first when writing about the fruits of the Spirit. Love is the basis for all things good. One cannot achieve joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control without love. Love should be first and foremost because when love is put into action, the other 8 virtues show up too. Then I began to wonder why Paul started Galatians 5:22 with "by contrast." As I read the passage prior (Galatians 5:16-21,) it became clear. These sins, mentioned here, are the result of living by the works of the flesh and quite a contrast from the virtues received when living in the Spirit. I noticed how Paul used the plural in describing "the WORKS of the flesh." I could be wrong, but I think because even thought we all (at one time or another) walked in the flesh, we did not all sin in the same way. (I can't tell you the last time I performed any sorcery.) Then Paul uses the singular, "the FRUIT of the Spirit," not FRUITS, when speaking of these 9 virtues. The Spirit has only one work to do in all of us. When we accept Christ into our hearts, we no longer allow the works of the flesh to rule our lives. We now have the Fruit of the Spirit to guide us. ~ Rita Bartak

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Apr. 2021 Newsletter

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