Original Posting At http://mantuan.blogspot.com/2020/01/gifts-of-spirit.html
Galatians 5: 19-23: Now the works of the flesh are obvious: … impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
Paul is big on the idea of the Spirit. The Spirit is clearly an important theological idea for Paul. References to the Spirit fill Paul’s letters as he coaches his far flung flock. One is quoted here. Paul was having trouble with Galatians Community UMC. Things had fallen apart after he had left.
I like to think of the Galatians readings in terms of car dashboard lights.
When we are in proper relationship with God, our fellow co-laborers in the church and ourselves our dashboard lights are green. Love, joy, peace and other good things are displayed consistent with what Paul enumerates in Galatians 5: 22-23. The machine should work well when the lights are all green. However, we need to check our spiritual engines when the dashboard lights are red with strife, anger, factions, envy and the like. In the car dashboard world, green is normally good, red is normally a problem. Fruits of the Spirit are good; Works of the Flesh are not. Galatians 5 helps us understand and measure how we are doing with this relationship stuff. The passage is an indicator of relationship.
The issue here is how we use our gifts in order to produce Fruits of the Spirit. Sometimes we know what those gifts are: I am good at numbers and I am not particularly good at small engine repair. But I didn’t know I was good at numbers until I got dropped into a position in 1973 that called for me to be a numerical analyst. I struggled for a while but mentors and coaches helped me and turned that struggle into strength. What we now see as a gift was at one time not a gift. It was honed and developed by others, plus my own willingness to be coached to success. I had to be a numbers disciple, a student, for a while. In reality, I am still a numbers disciple, constantly looking at web sites and articles about how to better display data so that it becomes information, but I digress.
I had to trust others to see that gift in me that I didn’t know that I possessed.
In my learning and growing here, I didn’t become angry or exercise poor self-control. In fact, this endeavor became an object that lead to joy. When it comes to being a numerical analyst, my dashboard lights here were never red, always green.
Look to the dashboard lights and crosscheck them against Galatians 5. Green? Red? Listen to your heart. Listen to others. Listen for God. Remember that God sometimes speaks in a small, still, voice, except when small, still isn’t working.