Here are some reflections on the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). At the end I’ve included an acrostic on the Gifts of the Spirit (as a reminder that these are distinct from the ‘fruits’), together with a reflection on God’s Grace from which fruits and gifts flow.
Fruits of the Spirit
Followers of Jesus
Respond with love, spread joy.
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
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.
Liking just the people you get on with isn’t enough
Often it’s hard to be unstinting with Christian love
Valuing the one who pleases as much as the one who offends –
Enemies, awkward relatives, your ex, fickle friends…
Joyful for the possibilities this new day brings
Often, inexplicably, your heart suddenly sings
You soar over troubles on eagle’s wings
Prince of Peace, making my spirit whole
Everlasting Father, stilling my restless soul
Almighty God, eternally in control
Counsellor and guide, keeping me secure
Even in the midst of conflict, terror, war
Please, Lord, grant me:
A temper that doesn’t easily flare
Time to show others I actually care
Inspiration, when I’m close to despair
Equanimity, when life seems unfair
Numerous blessings to ponder and share
Calmness when things seem too much to bear
Even when I’m hectic, the time for a prayer.
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
Encourage somebody each day
Show hospitality, and only
Say things you’d not want to unsay
(based on James 3:3-12)
Grapevines can only yield grapes, they cannot bear figs,
Out of a salt spring, fresh water cannot flow –
Our tongues can reveal us as hypocrites and prigs
Despite us putting on a pious show.
No mouth should be used to both curse and praise
Evil in our hearts is betrayed by our tongues
So harbour goodness, be humble in your ways,
Speak of good things, don’t foment wrongs.
(based on Hebrews, especially 6:19 and 11:1)
Faith means knowing our hope is secure
And being certain of things unseen,
It means that our anchor is steadfast and sure,
That unnumbered witnesses watch and convene,
Helping us to prevail and persevere,
Fixing our eyes on the race ahead
Until we see journey’s end appear.
Living by faith means preparing to tread
New paths outside our comfort zone,
Expecting our plans to snag and unravel,
Safely trusting we don’t journey alone,
Surely finding pilgrims with whom we can travel.
Getting through a difficult day
Every so often
Needs someone to pray
Tenderly with us, to soften
Life’s low points and losses.
Everyone who’s known despair
Never doubts the crosses
Each of us, from time to time, must bear.
So when a fellow pilgrim falters on the road
Speak to them gently, share their load.
(based on Proverbs 6:16-19 and Ephesians 4::26)
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.
Both Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit flow from God’s grace:
Grafted in the vine, we become Yahweh’s kin
Ransomed by unmerited love, God’s spirit enters in
Absolved from guilt, we are cleansed within
Clemency, not judgement, breaks the grip of sin
Enveloped in God’s mercy, a new life can begin.