Tag Archives: and

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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meditation 11: bad fruit ‘and the like’

19 Aug

‘and’; a word that combines connects and communicates multiple relationships, ideas and works. ‘Ands’ build.

Paul in his letter to Galatians describes ‘bad’ fruit as desires of the flesh. He uses multiple ‘ands’ to build the image of fleshy desires, what I am calling here bad fruit. Paul calls these desires acts:

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factionsand envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

All of the fleshly desires above work together. And they work in such a powerful manner that they become life: ‘I warn you, as I did before, that those who live…’ The people of the church in Galatia were living in the flesh ‘before’ this letter; Paul is warning them again. Why? Because the flesh and its desires are so strong. They grow as one. They act internally and externally. How? Fleshly desires grow and build together with ‘ands.’ Impurity and debauchery; idolatry and; factions and envy witchcraft; orgies, and the like.’ And the like. Like calls to like; desire call to other desires; addictions to other overwhelming desires. One desire leads to another and another and another. Each then builds into a series of connecting ‘acts.’ And theses are acts of the flesh, the body, mind and heart, the community of our self work together to infuse and become our spirit. Multiple desires multiply into acts. And these acts of thought and desire then become flesh. A feed-back circle/loop that forms spiritual life. All these desires and their acts then reform one central, controlling and transforming desire. An uber desire.The German word ‘uber’ is a cognate of the Latin word for ‘super’ and the Greek word ‘huper.’ Two languages joined together to form a word beyond a superman; a top gun; a best of the best. This German phrase is our Tower of Babel. On Tweeter @Uber describes their tweeter self as: ‘Everyone’s Private Driver.’ And/or, everyone’s idol; or their uber desire. What then is our uber desire, our driver?

It is: to become another’s desire; to be desired as a desire itself. An ultimate. As,

How many followers do you have?

In the video game ‘Star Wars Jedi Knight’ a gamer can become invincible, an uber Jedi.

As being the centre, the life of the party.

Or being the ultimate underdog, the weak defeating the strong.

The richest gal who dies with the most toys.

The prettiest boy at the party

The thinnest.

Sexiest. Uber person. Beyond human. Desire itself. Real Bad fruit.

So, bad fruit, fleshy desires? How can I live with them without their becoming my life? Can I escape the loop? Get off the roundabout?

My” How to” comes from Paul’s ‘So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.’ Slow down, Charles. Walk. Don’t react. Don’t run, dance, don’t get over excited. Don’t let the immediate thought, worry, desire control your actions. Walk. Meditate on the Word as you walk. His Spirit will be ‘gentleness and self-control’ within you. (Paul’s first and only use ‘and’ in his qualities list Spirit fruit: ‘gentleness and self-control.’ These are the only spiritual qualities Paul has working directly together.) Why are only these two qualities joined by ‘and’ when Paul has so many infinite fleshy qualities –‘and the like’ joined together?

Because I believe His gentleness works with our self-control to ‘make me great.’ (Psalm 18: 35) For it is, by the Spirit, how He stoops down into my life, that I can walk away from the flesh, my flesh. He desires great, fruit. Fruit of Him, His Spirit, His gentleness. Me. Built by and with the Spirit. Walking.