I wrestle with an old question as I prepare to teach a group of kids a Lenten bible study on the fruit of the Spirit. As I rejoice in the matchless grace of God in Galatians, I also find myself nodding along with another book I am reading by a Catholic homeschooling mom about establishing godly habits as a training in virtue, to build character and spiritual discipline. How do we abide in Christ and produce fruit?
The first Lenten lesson is a meditation on Galatians, and the object lesson was to go begin something like this:
I have potting soil and seeds and water. I demonstrate that adding water the potting soil produces mud. There are no tomatoes or watermelons or grapes or strawberries, just mud. Dirt follows it’s own nature and only produces dirt, not fruit.
In order to get fruit, there needs to be a seed, a deposit. As Christians, we are given the Holy Spirit. That is God’s deposit into us. Mud cannot produce fruit, fruit seeds produce fruit.
Here is were I get a little caught up. The just shall live by faith. It is God who sends the rain. And yet, faith comes by hearing the word of God. If I cover my ears and refuse to hear, will that little seed bear fruit?
The Psalmist says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help” The Psalmist cannot help himself, but he does turn his face toward the Son of Righteousness who arises with healing in His wings.
I know that our Heavenly Father loves his children, that He will keep them and save them to the uttermost. I have often struggled in my own Christian walk with trying to add dead works to the glorious freedom that is found in Christ Jesus.
This is the question I ponder today, before I finish my children’s lesson: What place do the spiritual disciplines have in the life of the believer? What does it mean to abide in Christ? Is this abiding an active verb or a state of being?
What do you think?