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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Fruit of the Spirit Triplet

Galatians 5:22-25

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

The Spirit however, produces in human life fruits such as these: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance and self-control—and no law exists against any of them. Those who belong to Christ have crucified their old nature with all that it loved and lusted for. If our lives are centred in the Spirit, let us be guided by the Spirit.

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New Living Translation (NLT)

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

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From this two reading of Galatians 5:22-25 with have the following concepts paired:

Love – love
Joy – joy
Peace – peace

Patience – patience
Kindness – kindness
Generosity – goodness (I prefer “generosity” for it precedes goodness.)

Fidelity – faithfulness (I prefer “fidelity” for it stresses the physics of accord.)
Tolerance – gentleness (I prefer “gentleness” for it is the way we are to confront (sic) opposition.)
Self-control – self-control

The importance of Galatians 5:22- 25 regarding the fruit of the spirit is fundamental to a grasp of what Christianity is all about in daily life where the “rubber meets the road.” In other words, when asked practically speaking why it is preferable to be a Christian in this muddy rainy weather with which life continually presents us, the fruit of the spirit is the answer.

TD Jakes in Strength for Every Moment organizes the fruit of the spirit in triplets (page, 251 and following). The first triplet – love, joy, and peace – change atmosphere. Long-suffering, gentleness, and goodness (the second triplet) change attitude. And faith, meekness, and self-control (the final triplet) change attributes provided by the Holy Spirit. The triplet concept is very helpful in mapping out the spirit and the roles of each.

In a similar manner, I would like to suggest three triplets: 1) the” what” our primary goal; 2) the “how” – our modus operandi; 3) the why – the practical results.

The ultimate goal that Christians strive for is God’s final objectives of love, joy, and peace. If we were to summarize in three words the Christian concept of heaven (God’s will) on earth, it would involve these three terms—love, joy, and peace.

The road to our goals (the “how”) necessitates patience, kindness, and generosity. Patience is necessary for we live in a complex world where trial and error often must be endured within a context of unwieldy fractures inherent in human nature. Kindness simply realizes that all of us go through hurts necessitated primarily by manifold losses. Generosity is essential for it is based upon empathy the sine qua non for successful continuance of social cohesion.

The third triplet (the “why”) is concluded by self-control – the responsibility of all of us if we are to survive and acquire abundant life surrounded as we are by muddy rainy weather. Yet self-control alone can be callous. It must be accompanied by gentleness as we inevitably confront those in opposition. The third element, fidelity, aligns us with the heavenly host – the great cloud of witnesses – who help guide us as we are given the insight to believe and like the saints before us cast down our golden crowns around the glassy sea.

Thus it can be seen that Galatians 5:22-25 is fundamental to an understanding of a Christian’s daily navigation though life. It inescapably involves a degree of self-will and divine grace for the “passions and desires” of the sinful nature must be met head-on and overcome in the midst of sometimes great turbulence.

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