Fruit of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit; serve the Lord.
The two greatest commandments that Christ gave to us are to love God and to love one another. And part of loving one another is caring for the good of one another. Sadly, caring for the good of one another is not something any of us do enough of. However, caring for the good of one another is a necessary ingredient in growing goodness as one of our Fruits of the Spirit.
There are lots of instances in life where we tend to forget about the good of our neighbors. One such example is driving. How many of us consider the other drivers on the road when we are driving? How many of us care for the good of our fellow drivers? The fact is that most of us don’t. We see other drivers as people who slow down our commute, not as people making a commute of their own.
I once asked a lawyer if he cared more about justice or about winning. I’m sure this doesn’t describe all lawyers but this lawyer, in particular, said, “my job is to be an advocate for my client. Whether my client is guilty or innocent doesn’t matter, my job is to advocate for my client. So winning is more important than justice.” Again, there are many lawyers on the Prayer Team and I’m sure this doesn’t apply to all lawyers, but there are probably a fair amount where it does. In many careers, we become so obsessed with winning, or self-promotion, that we forget about the good of others. Many school systems are so concerned about testing that they forget about students learning or learning to love learning.
The good of our neighbors is important. I should care for you and you should care for me, we should all care about one another’s good. In today’s scripture verses from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, we get eight pieces of advice in only three verses. Each pertains to the good of one another.
Let love be genuine – In other words, let it not be fake or pretentious.
Hate what is evil – Despise the things that cause harm to our neighbors.
Hold fast to what is good – This includes holding fast to looking out for the good of our neighbor.
Love one another with brotherly affection – This means seeing people around us as our brothers and sisters. They are not just nameless faces behind the wheel of cars, or at the counter of the supermarket, or behind the window at the bank. We should try to show brotherly affection to all we encounter during the day.
Outdo one another in showing honor – Imagine if people competed to see who could serve the needs of the other the best. Instead of running away from helping others, we’d be running to opportunities to serve. Imagine what the sound of such an argument would be: “I’ll help you.” “Well, not as much as I’ll help you.”
Never flag in zeal – Always be enthusiastic in faith, and your desire to share it.
Be aglow with the Spirit – Let the Fruit of the Spirit grow in you. Overflow with a sense of goodness and optimism.
Serve the Lord – The purpose of the previous seven pieces of advice culminates in this verse, which directs us to serve the Lord by serving others, by looking out for the good of others.
Lord, thank You for seeing the good in the human race when You came to earth and died on the Cross to remit our sins, and rose from the dead to open the road back to Paradise. Help me, in turn, to see the good in my neighbor and to work for the good of my neighbor. Help me to see value in my neighbor. Thank You for seeing value in me. Amen.
Go out of your way to look out for the good of your neighbor today!