The Fifth C – Connection

Galatians 5:22-26     NLT Fruits are produced from Gifts

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

We may have joined a community for one or more reasons. We may have found the right school for our kids, maybe we found a place to use our gifts to help others or maybe it is the place our family calls home. Whatever the reason, once we are part of a community we will begin to connect with others in the community in our daily lives. That connection typically revolves around our day to day activities. For example we connect with the grocery store, service station for gas, tires, and oil, a school, childcare, doctors, dentist, eye care, pharmacy, bank, insurance, fire, rescue, police,  …………………… any number of services and products that support our lives.

For Christians the connections offer the opportunity to use our spiritual gifts and community presence to produce fruit. Jesus said “ you will know them by their fruit”. Paul says the fruits of the spirit in our lives will manifest itself in “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  Paul gives us two different thoughts on these fruits 1) If we belong to Jesus ( confession, contrition, covenant and community ) then we have put our sinful nature ( selfish personal desires ) under the blood of the cross and under the water of the covenant of baptism then we are interested in the well being of others and 2) we are not to use our spiritual leading to manipulate others by using the Holy Spirit for our own gain.

In remembering 1 Corinthians 12:7 – “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.”  We can better relate how our gifts and supporting the gifts of others works in a community. If we have given over our lives to the leading of God, then our works will bless both ourselves and our community. What this might be represented by in a community would be if we moved in and opened a small-town diner. We would quickly connect to the local grocery store, the local plumbers, electricians, HVAC and possibly painters and carpenters. We can clearly also better understand value of diversified gifts. For instance, you would not call the grocery store manager to repair a leaking pipe. You would be a little concerned if you went to your dentist and your mechanic came in to work on your teeth! Our connection to the community is vital for us to both survive and thrive in a community. The same applies in our spiritual community. God’s blessings in our gifts is for us to help others. They are not for our selfish purpose or in competition with others and their gifts. The best way for us to confirm that we are living by the leading of the Holy Spirit is  to simply look at the connection points in our lives with other people and see if our lives are having a positive impact on them.      

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