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.”
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
Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And to not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4: 29-32
Good morning Prayer Team!
Have you ever had a conversation where after a period of time, you realized that everything in the conversation has been negative? Either we’ve been sharing bad news, or we’ve been gossiping negatively about someone. I know I’ve been part of conversations like this and when I look back at these kinds of conversations, I regret how much time I have truly wasted on negativity throughout my life.
In the midst of one of these conversations, a friend once said to me “tell me something good.” In other words, we can’t have a whole conversation of negativity. We need to break the cycle of negativity, and the best way to do it is to make a point of getting something good into each conversation that you have. Even on the worst day, in the worst conversation, we should try to get something good into the conversation.
In today’s reflection, my use of the word “good” closely aligns with the word “optimism.” Because “good” not only includes things that are “wholesome” but things that are “optimistic” and “hopeful.” The person who seeks to grow the “fruit” of “goodness” sees the positive possibilities in situations and the positive qualities in people. They are hopeful that today can be a good day and that tomorrow can be an even better one.
Not only can we all “say something good” in conversation, God gave each of us an ability to contribute something good to the world. So, not only can we say something good, we can each do something good. And so in addition to making sure we say something good in every conversation, we should make sure we do something good each day. We should do something that contributes to optimism and hope in the world. We all have the ability to brighten someone’s day.
Imagine for a moment all of the possibilities that open up when we focus on goodness. Every conversation includes at least one positive comment. Every day includes one positive gesture towards someone else. Love is found in our positive gestures. Imagine how much closer we’d be to our neighbors if we made making a positive gesture to someone a top priority each day.
Regarding growing closer to God, make sure that you say something good in prayer. Praise God. Thank God for His blessings. Share with Him something positive each day. Prayer shouldn’t only be lists of requests, or only done in time of need, but it should be something that expresses hope and optimism to God each day, just as He gives hope and optimism constantly to us.
A person of goodness overflows with optimism and hope. This is what make this “fruit” so challenging to grow in us. We are challenged on a daily basis with negativity. It takes great effort to meet this negativity with goodness, optimism and hope. As we have said, however, nothing good comes without effort, and the reward for seeking goodness is Godliness. Come back tomorrow for more on this topic.
Lord, thank You for the many blessings You have bestowed on me, beginning with this new day that You have granted me. Help me to be a positive and optimistic person today. Help me share something good in conversations and bring people into my life today who will enjoy the good things I have to share, and share good things with me as well. Open my eyes to see opportunity to do good today. For You are a good and loving God and to You we give glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Say something good today! Do something good today!
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.
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