April 29, 2021
by: Gabriel Tseng
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. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.– Galatians 5:13-15

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. – Galatians 5:22-26

When I’ve felt lost in my walk with the Lord, I have often wondered where I had gone wrong and go straight into an analysis of my mistakes and imperfections. Having a problem focused mindset allows me to focus my attention hyper critically on problems. While there is nothing particularly wrong with reflective inventory of our lives, my problem has rarely been an inability to know where I have failed. It is too easy for me to identify with my weakness, but it does little, other than dig myself into a pity depressive hole, and little help me to reorient towards any solution or goal to aim at. 

The old myth is that if you know where the North Star is, it will guide you that northern direction. It’s helpful to know the direction needed to go and to set your heart on it. With grace being so abundantly preached and heard often, what might it mean for us? Galatians is a beautiful book written by Paul in addressing exactly that. He answers my simple questions, “how ought I to live?” Love God and love yourself. It is a purely internal thing that nobody other than the Lord can see purely and clearly. I am able to put on a good show to others and put on a professional appearance, but the Lord knows whether I’m sincere or not. Is my life full of love for God and for others or is it simply a moral exercise? In other words, do I feel an affection for the Lord and for others, or is it a religious exercise in which I am going through the motions. This helps to reflect on my motivations and to guide my actions. 

The fruit of the Spirit is just ONE fruit. Like an onion flaying outwards, although not a fruit, each trait is part of that same fruit, born of the Spirit. We are that very tree and are we bearing a reproducing fruit that benefits others? But more importantly, is that fruit being born, is it fruiting in us, is it fruiting in me? Am I a more loving, more kind, more peaceful person in Christ? And if not, we may need to be drinking from different water. If I’m lost or even just stray or am confused about things, I go back to this: Return to my first love, to love Him and to love others and to drink deeply of His grace, to use my freedom, abiding in the Spirit, to be the beloved again, and to allow that fruit to grow in my life, for the benefit of others. 

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