New Series - Practicing the Way
The book of Mark ends by posing a question; how do we respond to the mysterious victory of Jesus? Do we go and tell or freeze in fear?
When the disciples initially encountered that question, they froze, unsure how they were supposed to live into the reality of Jesus’ victory. But, Jesus made them a promise in Acts 1:8, saying, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Then following Jesus’ promise in Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Later in the New Testament, when writing to a young church, the apostle Paul talks about life in the Spirit and calls the church to “walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), which is then followed by a list of “fruit.” We often think of the fruit of the Spirit as “abstract virtues” or qualities of character that develop over time. That’s sort of true, but for Paul, the fruit of the Spirit are practices through which we “walk by the Spirit.” They are the way we embody our belief and cultivate a life of a Christlikeness. They aren’t virtues to be admired but a way of participating in the life of the Spirit and live into the reality of Jesus’ victory.
From September 29 – November 24 we will be exploring the fruit of the Spirit, not simply as values or virtues but as a way of participating, keeping in step with, the Spirit’s work in us and the world. Each fruit will be partnered with a passage and a historic Church practice. These practices are not absolutist, but they are traditional ways the people of Jesus have embodied their belief together (aka Faith). For example, the fruit of kindness will be partnered with the practice of hospitality as a tangible expression and means of participating in God’s kindness to and through his people to the world around us.
Fruit, Passage, Practice
Love – 1 Cor. 13 – Prayer
Joy – Hebrew 12:2 – Submission
Peace – Ephesians 2:11-22 – Preaching the Gospel
Patience – 2 Cor. 2:3-11 – Rest
Kindness – Ephesians 4:17-32 – Hospitality
Goodness – Luke 6:27-36 – Forgiveness
Meekness – Matthew 11:28,29 – Simplicity
Faithfulness – John 15:1-11 – Community
Self-Control – 2 Peter 1:3-11 – Worship