A Message From Pastor Thomas

"Clinging to the Fruit of the Spirit"

September 2021
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, 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 ‭NIV‬‬

I have heard from many doctors and nurses over the past few weeks. I’ve expressed my concern for them and lifted up many prayers for them. There are lots they have shared but the one constant I’ve heard is exhaustion. They’re working extra shifts, juggling higher (and younger) hospitalization rates than last year, and doing the best they can to hold it all together.

We’re all exhausted from/with Covid. It has turned our world and our lives upside down. And the Delta variant has come with a vengeance when our “Covid fatigue” is at an all time high.

I, like all of us, want to be through with all of this. But simply “being over it” doesn’t excuse us from being (or becoming) the people God wants us to be.

Who does God want us to be? People identified by the “Fruit of the Spirit.” In other words, the “Fruit of the Spirit” are the markers of devoted followers of Jesus. Take a moment to go back and read our scripture at the top again.

This list is inspiring. But I wonder how many of us would put ourselves to the test and ask God to give us a grade on these characteristics, especially in light of the exhaustion that we’re experiencing.

I don’t think I’ve ever performed best on a test when I was completely exhausted. In fact, when I look back over my actions (and reactions) to this latest spike in Covid cases I might find myself more in the “works of flesh” camp that Paul lists in Galatians 5:19-21 that include:

“…hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy..”
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But despite exhaustion and our potential for falling short of God’s standards we have a tremendous hope…The Holy Spirit.

The Fruit of the Spirit isn’t our to-do list…it’s the fruit that will grow as a result of spending time with God and focusing on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We can experience this fruit if we will open ourselves up to God’s direction and submit ourselves to God.

Is there a particular fruit that you feel like you’re neglecting in your life right now? Don’t despair. We can turn away from our mistakes, ask for God’s forgiveness, and pray for the Holy Spirit to cultivate the soil of our hearts so that we can better reflect the love God has given to us to a world in desperate need.

And whatever we do, we need to pray for God’s grace to constantly make the best decisions possible to take care of ourselves and show love to our neighbors.

In Christ,
Thomas