Galatians 5: 13-26: “13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love,  joy, peace,  forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Today’s reflection comes from the 5th Chapter of Galatians.  Here Paul is discussing with the local church the freedom of living a life through Christ, a life wrapped in the fruits of the Spirit, a life summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

By being in the Spirit, you avoid the desires of the flesh.  What the flesh desires is opposed by the Spirit; the Spirit desires is opposed by the flesh.  Live avoiding impurity, jealousy, anger, envy and strife.  Let your life reveal in you the fruits of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, generosity, faithfulness, and self-control.  “If we live by the Spirit, let us be guided by the Spirit.”

During the constraints and quarantines brought on by the coronavirus epidemic, we have witnessed a need to regain our sanity and to restore our hope for a better summer and fall in 2021. We see those so overcome that they have lost their spirits and have forgotten to love their neighbors as themselves.

As we prepare for Easter 2021 we hope to celebrate more joyously than we did last year.   Our faith has been there, but we have been limited in ways to fulfill our commitment to Christ.  Let us be freed to give to others the fruits of love, joy, peace, and kindness.  It is amazing that with how much small effort and on how much a small scale this can be done to the benefit of all.

PRAYER: Easter is coming!  He is risen! May the fruits of the Spirit be evident in me today.  Amen.

Dr. Arland Compton