It’s only very recently that I’ve started to wonder what it is that we mean when we sing, “God keep our land glorious and free”. As the only explicitly religious verse in our national anthem, it’s worth thinking about carefully, especially as people of faith.
By “glorious” do we just mean that we want Canada to be impressive or imposing, and by ‘free’ do we just mean that we want to be able to do whatever we want? And what exactly do we imagine God might do for us in answer to this petition?
One way of responding to these questions is by looking at what the Apostle Paul calls “the fruit of the Spirit”. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). For Paul, these things are the visible evidence and the natural outcome of a life that is led by the Holy Spirit, who comes to those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is the substance of a life led by the Spirit of God, and through which our lives bring glory to God.
Jesus’ says in John 15:8 “My Father,” that is, God, “is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit…” He’s talking about the fruit of the Spirit, and he’s showing us what it truly means to be glorious. It isn’t about being impressive or imposing. It’s about living the kind of life that points to the goodness of God.
But Paul also talks about the fruit of the Spirit being the evidence of a life that has been set free by God, set free from the forces (both internal and external) that keep us from living lives that point to the goodness of God.
In short, the fruit of the Spirit is what it truly looks like for God to make us glorious and free. It’s what he does through the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of everyone who believes in Jesus. Imagine what it would look like for a whole nation to be made glorious and free like that.
Rev. David Turner+
Spiritual growth is not optional for those who believe in Jesus Christ, not because it’s a requirement for those who believe, but because it’s supposed to be inevitable. Like any organic growth, Spiritual growth is gradual (sometimes painfully so), it goes up and down with the seasons of our lives, and it’s mysterious…but it is inevitable.
The Spirit of God is given to everyone who places his or her hope in Jesus Christ to produce the things in our lives that will make us more like Jesus (i.e., the “the Fruit of the Spirit – Gal 5:22-23). If Jesus is the priority of our lives, then spiritual growth must be a priority in our lives too. And, like fruit, it’s good for us.
The world is in desperate need of true spiritual growth. The world needs more love, more joy, more peace, more patience, more kindness, more goodness, more faithfulness and more self-control, and it’s the calling of Christian people to produce more of these good things for the world.
For these reasons and more we are going to take 8 weeks this summer to focus in on the Fruit of the Spirit and examine what it takes to see more of it in our lives.
It’s gonna be even better than strawberry season!
Sun. July 1
Glorious and Free = Love and Joy
Sun. July 8th
Growing in Peace
Sun. July 15th
More Patience Right Now!
Sun. July 22nd
The Way of Kindness
Sun. July 29th
Oh My Goodness!
Sun. Aug 5th
It Ain’t Easy Being Faithfull
Sun. Aug 12th
Sun. Aug 19th
Getting a Handle on Self-Control