“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22
I always love the New Year. There is a sense of possibility and change that permeates the turning of the old year into the beginning of the new one. Most of us mark such a transition through identifying certain goals in our lives resolving to implement desired positive changes. These New Year resolutions can run a wide spectrum from this is the year I will be getting better organized or this is the year I will stop procrastinating. Inevitably I postpone getting organized.
Every year I make these resolutions and somehow, they never bear fruit. Yet I still hope this is the year I will finally be organized enough to not procrastinate. (Funny thing is it is only three days into the new year, and I am already turning this article in late for the newsletter!) All my new resolutions are actually very old ones that are recycled every year. I have enough self-awareness to know the irony of it all.
This year I am going to try something different. Instead of thinking of correcting a perceived failure through an act of will, I am going to stop and rest in the grace of God. Paul in his advice to his fellow disciples in a town called Galatia warned them about focusing on the law when it is by grace we are transformed. Grace is a gift, a free gift, that has nothing to do with our capacity to follow the law. Grace comes, and we are transformed not by an act of our will but by the love of God.
Paul writes about the gifts of the Spirit like fruit from a tree. Fruit simply flowers from the very nature of the tree. We become more loving, kind, patient, gentle, and good not by our act of will but by being rooted in the ground of Grace. Our task (if it is a task at all) is to make space for that grace.
Grace and Peace,