Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Fruits of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5: 22-23
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5:25
Good morning Prayer Team!
I’m a nice jerk. I’m a truthful liar.
Can these be true statements? It would seem not. Either a person classifies as “nice” or as a “jerk”. Someone either tells the truth all the time or they are a liar.
Today’s Scripture verse reminds us that if we claim to live by the Spirit, if we claim to be filled with the Holy Spirit (and as Orthodox Christians, we were given the gift of the Holy Spirit at Chrismation, and we continually receive the Holy Spirit through prayer and Holy Communion), then our lives need to reflect this. How can we be “Spirit-filled” or “Spirit-led” or “Spirit-centered” if we lack love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Going back to yesterday’s reflection, it’s not an either/or proposition. Being filled with the Spirit means that we genuinely strive to grow the Fruit of the Spirit in us. We can’t seek after or experience the power of the Holy Spirit without seeking to grow His Fruit. There are certainly points in every life, probably in every day or every life, that we are not loving, or patient, or kind or we lack self-control. We all have these moments. I have these moments.
How do you grade yourself on each of these Fruits? More importantly, how do you think God would grade you on these Fruits and how they are present in your life?
In school, an “A” was given for excellent, a “B” was good but had room for improvement, a “C” was average, a “D” was “passing,” and an “F” was failing. If you were to give yourself a grade on how well what you say you believe falls in line with how you live your life, what kind of grade would you give yourself? What kind of grade do you think God would give you?
In Orthodox circles, we hear the term “spiritual warfare”. While described in different ways, this essentially means that there is a battle for our souls waged between ourselves (who innately desire to be close to God) and the devil (who wishes us to be as far from God as possible). In practical terms, the battle is material (earthly) versus spiritual (heavenly), meaning that we wage a daily battle for the works of the flesh versus the Fruit of the Spirit. And yes, it is a battle. I don’t know anyone who has won the battle and can just relax, filled with the Spirit with no concerns with temptation. I suppose there are some who have given up or are taking a break and letting the works of the flesh win. But there is no one who has won the battle for the Spirit over the flesh. It is a war we will fight until our dying breath.
In heaven, there will be only Spiritual Fruit. There won’t be this battle, there will be no spiritual turmoil. However, in order to reach the Kingdom of heaven, we have to fight this battle in our earthly life. We have to cultivate the Fruit in our life now, so that when the harvester (God) comes for us, He will find souls filled with good fruit, with Spiritual fruit, souls that are ready to enter His Kingdom and enjoy the Fruits of their labor.
Choosing to walk with the Spirit is a choice. And it is a choice we have to make daily. And we can’t have it all the ways—we can’t be a “Spirit-filled” hater, or a Spirit-filled “peace taker” or a “Christ-centered kill joy” or an “out of control” dedicated Christian. Just like we can’t make a right-left turn or take both forks in a road, we have to choose the path to salvation. If we say we “live by the Spirit” then we also must “walk by the Spirit.” If we say we are a Christian, then we have to act the way a Christian is supposed to act.
Lord, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit which I receive through prayer and worship. Fill me with Your grace, so that I may grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control today. Help me to have courage to live my Christian faith even in moments when others around me are encouraging me not to. Help me to keep focus and to nurture the Fruit of Your Spirit in me, today and always. Amen.
Let your actions reflect your Christian faith!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
ABOUT THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN NETWORK
Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is a 501(c)3 and an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America . It is a recognized leader in the Orthodox Media field and has sustained consistent growth over twenty-two years. We have worked to create a community for both believers and non believers alike by sharing the timeless faith of Orthodoxy with the contemporary world through modern media. We are on a mission to inspire Orthodox Christians Worldwide. We have reached 5.7 Million People in One Week and we want to reach millions more! Signup to receive our newsletter email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you find it hard to keep focused on Christ when you’re on the go? OCN makes it easy! You can be inspired daily by the OCN programming from where ever you are by plugging into our Listen, Read, Watch , Wors
Much like public radio, the Orthodox Christian Network relies on the support of our listeners, readers, volunteers, and fans. If you are interested in supporting our work, you can send your sustaining gift by direct mail, over the phone, or on our website. Your gift will ensure the continued growth of this encouraging Orthodox Community by providing faith-building, free, high-quality programming. Give today to help you and your Orthodox community stay connected no matter the location.
ORTHODOX MOBILE APPS ARE HERE!
Click here to download the Spark OCN and Orthodox Prayer Book.
Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. OCN is on Social Media! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube,