Daily D – Galatians 5:22-23
Galatians 5:22, 23 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! (NLT)
Ephesians 4:1-4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. (NLT)
Words have meaning in context. Out of context, they are confusing.
Yesterday, my bride and I decided to enjoy a late lunch/early supper at one of our favorite restaurants. We didn’t make a reservation because who needs a reservation at 4 PM? However, one of the two young women who greeted us upon entry declared that they were “compromised” for the remainder of the evening.
Compromised? Did the restaurant have an agreement not to seat us or anyone else without mutual consent? Musing on her exercise of the vernacular, we came up with a few other terms she could have used instead of “compromised.” For example, “We are at capacity.” Or, “We are booked up through closing.” Or maybe, “I’m sorry, but we are unable to seat anyone without a reservation for the rest of the evening.”
The Apostle Paul is a master of languages. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he had a particular knack for coming up with the right word in the right place at the right time. Galatians 5:22, 23 is more than a list of words. Ephesians chapters 4-6 are more than instructions on a page. These words, carefully chosen and precisely positioned, teach us how to live as followers of Jesus. They are not alone in this regard, but they are exemplary.
These words and these instructions help us check ourselves for spiritual development. The longer and the closer we walk with God, the more these words ring true. We can use these terms to gauge the spiritual maturity of those who are leaders or seek positions of leadership.
Humility, gentleness, and kindness are most noticeable these days due to their absence or scarcity. They stand out when viewed on city streets and in tense meetings alike. One of the besetting sins of our day is arrogance. Watch a sporting event. Listen to a political debate. Participate in a gathering of important people. Note how much or how little of these core characteristics are evident.
Now that I have aired my complaint, let me move on to the remedy. I need to be more humble, gentle, and kind. How about you? I will start now.
My bride and I drove to another nearby restaurant and had a very nice meal. Our server, Jess, was delightful. She was full of praise for her younger sister whose cheerleading squad placed third in a competition earlier in the day. She enjoyed telling us about an off-menu special on the appetizer we ordered. She made sure we had everything we needed when we needed it despite an overly busy evening for her and her coworkers.
When we prepared to leave, she expressed how much she enjoyed serving us and getting to know us. Jess served us with extravagant kindness. She put Jesus on display, living up to the meaning of her name. More Jess and Jesus, please.
I will not compromise on humility, gentleness, and kindness, but will live it extravagantly like Jess and Jesus.
Our Father, please deliver us from compromising on what matters most. Make us ever more humble, gentle, and kind. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.
Psalm 52:8, 9 ”But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.“