Monday, June 22, 2009

And the first of the Spirit’s fruits is…

How does the Spirit of God manifest itself through us? Often we think that to witness means to speak up in defence of God. This idea can make us very self-conscious. We wonder where and how we can make God the topic of our conversations and how to convince our families, friends, neighbours, and colleagues of God’s presence in their lives. But this explicit missionary endeavour often comes from an insecure heart and, therefore, easily creates divisions.

The way God’s Spirit manifests itself most convincingly is through its fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). These fruits speak for themselves. It is therefore always better to raise the question “How can I grow in the Spirit?” than the question “How can I make others believe in the Spirit?”

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

If only we could hear this properly, then not only would much anxiety and heavy-footedness be bypassed, but so many arguments between the advocates of on the one hand faith, and on the other, works, would simply never happen! For there is no argument. Everything proceeds from love. If we don’t have love, do everything in love, then we are just rattling dustbin lids, to paraphrase 1 Corinthians 13.1!

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