We are all familiar with the list of the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians. Hopefully, you even have them memorized (If not, there’s your challenge of the week). It is an impressive list. If we are honest with ourselves, were we to be full of these, life as friends and framily would be wonderful.
We are often less familiar with Peter’s list, as it just doesn’t have the pull that Paul’s has. While Paul has his list as a result of the Spirit indwelling (being inside of us), Peter has us adding them to our very faith. Paul and Peter are similar but different. They also have a different emphasis. Paul’s list seems more focused on the evidence of a holy life. Peter seems more concerned that followers of Jesus aren’t “useless” or “unfruitful”.
The problem (yes, problem) with Paul’s list is that many people few it as exhaustive (i.e., those are all the fruit). Paul, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be as concerned with how the Holy Spirit works. While in 1 Corinthians Paul is more concerned about “gifts”, rather than fruit, his opening point is that there are different gifts and they are all gifts from the Holy Spirit. Who says, then, that the “fruit” in Galatians or in 2 Peter are it?
It has been amazing over the years to witness heated and heart-felt conversations regarding the Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit. It becomes amazing how people see these lists as the only way of things when the Holy Spirit is someone you put in a box. Paul certainly didn’t. The sad part then becomes that people are so focused on the Fruits and Gifts they forget about the why.
Life together is hard. We all have different stories. We all have different pain points. Some have experienced significant life events that we cannot ever fully understand. We may have something that another cannot fully understand. That’s okay. The Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit ultimately are to not only a progressively increasing Christian life on our own. It is also to be for life together as framily.
The last piece is the framework that we are to operate from as framily. A lot of times the wording that is used for those outside of the framily (persecution, for example) often feel as if they come from within. Live at peace.
1) What other “Fruit” of the Spirit might there be? Why do you say that?
2) What are some other Gifts of the Spirit that you can think of? Where do you see them being lived out in the framily?
3) How do you see the Fruit and Gifts of the Spirit working out in and building up the church body (the framily) in light of the framework of Romans?