Fruits of Power?


The fruits of the Spirit (of God) are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

What is truth? This is not a question that I’m even going to attempt to answer here, nor is it one that I have confidence my philosophical chops could answer even if I wanted to. But I find that so many Christians are interested in proclaiming the truth, in teaching the truth, and propagating the truth. (yes, I realize I’ve just given three examples all saying the same thing…oops) What I’m more concerned with, or rather what I’m finding incredibly intriguing right now (thanks to my wife’s keen observation) is the methods or moods within which the ‘truth’  is shared or understood. There seems to consistently be a sense of authority, power, and strength associated with it. (this would be in contrast to a humble, broken, and gentle approach) I should mention here that I am not in any way condemning these more dominant characteristics in any way whatsoever. They are potentially deeply spiritual characteristics. The Bible, in fact, speaks wonderfully of those who are gifted in speaking with power–speaking powerful words into peoples lives; the Bible also welcomes the gifts of teaching–leading people’s thoughts with authority and instruction. Etc. etc…. What I’m fascinated by, though, is the set of things that are included when one of Bible’s authors speaks of the fruits that emerge from the actual Spirit of God.

The fruits of the Spirit (of God) are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Love, joy, patience, gentleness, peace, kindness, goodness, self-control, and faithfulness. None of these are characteristics normally associated with any sort of power, dominance, or authority. Those are incredibly powerful qualities, but qualities that also demand that one gives up power and control. They don’t wield power in the way that we normally speak of or understand power. It takes great power to turn the other cheek–not power how we normally think of it…but it is an act of power. It takes great power love unconditionally–but it looks more like Mother Teresa than it does a US  President.

Again, I am not saying that those who see themselves as teachers or leaders, those with more dominant voices or a more dominant presence, or those who have an ability to speak boldly into peoples lives are wrong or are not congruent with the activity of the transforming movement of the Spirit of God.

Nope.

Instead I think we are being invited into a backwards and radical understanding of what it means to be filled with God-ness. Power and control are not the defining characteristics of God or of those who are filled with his presence. Nope. Instead they are things like patience. Kindness. Love. Gentleness. When one is in pursuit of God, when one is filled with his Spirit in greater and greater measure, that person will begin to be a more self-controlled person. That person will love more sacrificially. That person will find more joy regardless of life’s bumps and bruises.

The truth is, as I see it, that any word we speak into any life, with any sense of authority, from any pulpit or pew must be marked in some overwhelming way by the defining markers of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Because (and here’s where it gets real good) “…against such thing there is no law.”

Nope.

No laws. Nowhere. Nobody. Nothing can take those things away from you. Though the whole of life attempts to steal them away they are yours to keep when as they exude from the Spirit of God who has asked to live and move inside of you.

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