Meditation 14 part one, fruit

11 Sep

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.  Galatians 5:22-26

As I finish this blog series on fruit of the Spirit, I can’t stop thinking of a friend who recently shared how she dances Salsa. As an experienced Salsa dancer, she tries to dance with beginners who already know the basic steps. Debbie does not dance with novices. She is not dancing to teach the elemental basics. She wants to lead by example; dance with someone who plans and desires to grow. She wants to ‘keep in step’ with a generous principle: dance with all type, all levels, of Salsa dancers. But they need to know the basics first.

As a trope to end the series, the analogy of ‘salsa dancing’ to fruit of the Spirit clarifies. There is one dance, yet many aspects, many steps, to the dance’s fruit.  Joy can result.  Peace can come from a dance well done; goodness in honouring the effort of another. Dancing has to be under the self’s control, in gentleness.  This is a basic, and the only qualities in Paul’s list that are join by an ‘and’ step. Control then is gentle. It cannot be forced as a method of expression. And a good Salsa dancer may enter a competition and need to forbear in the face competition in order to grow.

But one has to first love to dance. Love is the first fruit quality mentioned because love is a first fruit.  Love is not ‘the’ fruit; it’s ‘a’ fruit. A step.  A first step. Love is part of all that follows… But there are other steps, other fruit, which follows this first step.  And as joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness follow, they all deepen love. Deeply.   And deeply coloured fruit tastes different.  Looks different.  And is different.

Real Zombies were referenced in a previous blog in this series. My point in meditation 8 is that zombies are Real. They are the flesh eating figures all around us. They can grow inside, as the real life people of ‘The Bling Ring’ and ‘The Act of Killing’ illustrate.  They are the Walking Dead, the unthinking, reacting desire controlled solely by ‘the’ flesh, by any overwhelming desire. Cain was the first Real Zombie. In Genesis 4:7, as God speaks to him: ‘If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.His was the first murderer. Others have followed in his steps. Desire needs control. Spirit control. Flesh desires… what? Simply put, more flesh.  More bling. More killing. More sex. More love. Yes, if one aspect of Spirit fruit, such as ‘love,’ is desired solely, it can also become ‘the flesh.’  Love needs self-control, peace, gentleness. All aspects of the Spirit.  And if I don’t dance steps by the Spirit, I can become a Real Zombie. Permanent. Like Cain, I walk as a zombie; not in Spirit steps.Then I can grow conceited and only dance with like minded dancers.  I can provoke others by dancing so beautifully I purpose to draw attention only to myself; I can   envy the others’ joy in their good Salsa dancing. Then I am out of step. Becoming like a zombie. A Real Zombie. A Cain.

But if the Spirit leads, I step with Him, gently, under his control. In love. I dance with Him, Spirit led. The Spirit is my, our, lead dancer. He leads. I follow. We dance.

 

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