Acrostic Fruits and Gifts

Here are some reflections on fruits and gifts of the Spirit (I haven’t managed to do individual ones for each gift yet!)

Fruits of the Spirit

Followers of Jesus
Respond with love, spread joy.
United
In the Spirit
They foster peace,
Show patience, and don’t annoy.

Others’ burdens bearing
Freely, gladly sharing

They act with kindness
Hold fast to all goodness
Eagerly affirm faithfulness.

Saints act with gentleness and
Practise self-control; they endure
Insults and injuries with
Rejoicing. To be sure,
If you abide in the Spirit,
Then you are free from the law.

Love

Liking just the people you get on with isn’t enough
Often it’s hard to be unstinting with Christian love
Valuing equally one who pleases and one who offends
Enemies, awkward relatives, your ex, fickle friends…

Joy

Joyful for the possibilities this new day brings
Often, inexplicably, your heart suddenly sings
You soar over troubles on eagle’s wings

Peace

Prince of Peace, making my spirit whole
Everlasting Father, stilling my restless soul
Almighty God, eternally in control
Counsellor most wonderful, keeping me secure
Even in the midst of conflict, terror, war

Patience

Please, Lord, grant me:
A temper that doesn’t easily flare
Time to show others I really do care
Inspiration, when I’m close to despair
Equanimity, when life seems unfair
Numerous blessings to ponder and share
Calmness when problems seem too much to bear
Even when I’m hectic, the time for a prayer.

Kindness

Kindle a flame for the broken
Include the least and the lost
Nurture the word gently spoken
Dispel the hurtful riposte
Neighbourly be to the lonely
Entertain angels unawares
Sinners can be saints if they only
Show others how much Somebody cares

Goodness

Guided in paths of righteousness
Offering a life set apart –
Often it’s what I aim for though,
Despite trying hard, I depart.
Notwithstanding my human weakness
Each day I have a new start
Seeking goodness, seeking assurance that
Sin’s shadow won’t darken my heart.

Faithfulness – two variants for this, the second being a reflection on Hebrews

Firm foundation
Author and perfecter
Intercessor and mediator
Trustworthy friend
High priest
Firstborn over creation
Unblemished sacrifice
Loyal companion
New covenant
Evidence of things unseen
Substance of things hoped for
Steadfast and sure anchor

Faith means knowing our hope is secure
And being certain of things unseen,
It means that our anchor is steadfast and sure,
Trusting that servant angels convene
Here and in Heaven, to encourage and cheer.
For we are not left to journey alone –
Unnumbered witnesses help us persevere.
Let us, then, confidently approach the throne
Never neglecting each other’s needs,
Entertaining strangers (and angels unawares),
Spurring one another to love and good deeds,
Sharing the new covenant, as eternity’s heirs.

Gentleness

Getting through a difficult day
Every so often
Needs someone to pray
Tenderly with us, to soften
Life’s low points and losses.
Each of us who knows God’s care
Never doubts the crosses
Everyone, from time to time, must bear.
So when a fellow pilgrim falters on the road
Speak to them gently, share their load.

Self-Control

Seven things are detestable to the Lord –
Eyes that are haughty and untoward
Lying teeth and lying tongue
Feet that rush quickly to do wrong
Cynical gossips who falsely accuse
One whose heart plans an evil ruse
Niggardly folk who stir up strife
The hand that takes an innocent life.
Restrain yourself, therefore, when anger descends
Offer an olive branch to one who offends
Lest your heart is still wrathful when daytime ends

Gifts of the Spirit

God’s Holy Spirit intercedes,
Imparting talents to us in different measure
For the common good and particular needs.
To some, wisdom is a special treasure;
Still others are given knowledge to convey.

Others, in times of trouble, are a strong tower –
Faith, deep and sure, they display.

Then, there are those whose power
Heals the broken body, the heart that’s riven.
Even more, some have the ability to perform

Signs and miracles; whilst some are given
Prophetic powers to counsel and warn.
Ineffable words are spoken by others, through
Rapturous tongues from angels above.
Interpreting those tongues is for others to do –
Though greater than any talent, is the gift of love.

 

And a much underestimated Gift – Administration (1 Cor. 12:28)

All spiritual gifts work in common accord,
Different types of service all come from one Lord:
Miracle workers may only rarely be found,
Inspirational apostles may be thin on the ground,
Not every member can be a prophet or teacher,
Interpretation of tongues requires a very rare creature,
Spirit-given messages are revealed to but a few –
Thankfully, most of us are given lesser tasks to do!
Routine gifts of the Spirit may not set the world aflame,
Administration in particular receives scant acclaim
Though rotas, forms and spreadsheets don’t fill up by themselves.
If you find a church with orderly pigeon-holes and shelves,
Operating smoothly like a finely tuned machine
No doubt a gifted administrator toils away unseen.

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