But the fruit of the SPIRIT is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  Galatians 5:22, 23 

These are also the specific characteristic traits that should develop and be evident in a person who is growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ.  These characteristics are often contrary to the character traits that are popular and discussed as essential to be successful from a worldly context.  When we make the decision to live our lives as a disciple of Jesus Christ, we then have a responsibility to demonstrate behavior that reflects our commitment.  Often this is in contrast to the popular world views on achievement and success   

Exerting authority, out performing, controlling, dominating and gaining superiority of your sales force, management team, co-workers should not also mean that you cannot show the results of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Gaining wealth is not so that you can have the biggest boat or vacation in the most exotic places, but gaining wealth becomes a means to providing for the needs of those in poverty, the homeless, the physically challenged and for ministry. Your network of people becomes a conduit for you to connect people who need services and products not for personal gain but for the shear joy of empowering those around you. 

In corporate meetings I have often heard explicitly and implicitly, “Be focused and goal oriented at all costs.” Don’t worry about the other person’s perspective. No one can share your perspective but you, and that is what is most important.” and even “Go around your boss, he or she is just blocking your success.” 

Realigning our focus to produce the Fruit of the Spirit demands that we consciously acknowledge that we have been influenced by the clichés of a corporate culture that would have us believe it is all about me.  We must then reject that philosophy and begin to embrace the disciplines necessary to produce the Fruit of the Spirit.  

Charles Wesley calls these the Holy Tempers. These are the behaviors that are demonstrated when Love is at the center of our Christian Experience. God’s forgiving love, empowering love and active love in our lives demands a response which Wesley calls the Holy Tempers.  In his sermon on Christian Zeal Wesley states, 

 But of all holy tempers, and above all others, see that you be most zealous for love. Count all things loss in comparison of this – the love of God and all mankind. It is most sure, that if you give all your goods to feed the poor, yea, and your body to be burned, and have not humble, gentle, patient love, it profiteth you nothing. O let this be deep engraved upon your heart: “All is nothing without love!”The journey to embracing The Fruit of the Spirit is to passionately seek to Love God with all of our being and to share that love with others.  

Embracing the Fruit of the SpiritRev. William T Chaney Jr
West Baltimore UMC 

Advertisements