Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Fruit of the Spirit

Typically people ask, Are there any clues to whether or not I am growing spiritually? Paul suggests there is one test, namely, growth in the fruit of the Spirit: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).

So often people erroneously read this text as if it says "fruits." It really describes a single fruit comprised of numerous characteristics. Our spiritual life is improving when all of these dimensions of a single fruit are present.

Indeed, to have one dimension of the fruit without the others turns that fruit into a distortion. For example, to have only patience and not the other characteristics can lead to the vice of complacence. But if patience is added to the others - love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control - then patience becomes a virtue.

-- John Westerhoff, Spiritual Life, The Foundation for Preaching and teaching, 8-9

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek
Photo: Stained glass panel at
outdoor altar - The Duncan Gray Center
Canton, Mississippi

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