Jun 24, 2016
Freed & Fuelled
The book of Galatians has as it’s main theme a struggle between Paul who believes that God loves us freely as a gift and others who believe that while God is loving God demands we keep a set of rules called the Law in order for us to be acceptable to God. Paul tells us that all the rules could be substituted with “love your neighbour as yourself”. Forget the rules; let them go, that is what he is telling us. We are free to live as we wish for we are no longer bound by rules. Paul however urges us not to use that freedom for self indulgence. Instead he urges us to be slaves to one another. He urges us on the one hand to avoid the bad stuff, “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.” (Galatians 5:19-21, NRSV) More importantly he tells us that through the work of the Spirit God produces good things in us who believe. God empowers us to produce “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NRSV) We are not just told to stop doing bad, or told to do good. We are fuelled by the Spirit, or empowered to live lives of service and love.
Questions for thought or
What do you make of the idea that the fruit of the Spirit are not something to strive for but a gift that God produces in those who believe?
42% of St Stephen’s members volunteer for community service outside the church and many others love their neighbours informally. In what way if any is there a connection between the fruit that the Spirit grows in us and that wonderful community service?
Image Copyright: tomwang / 123RF Stock Photo