Advent Retreat Week Two: Examining the Fruits

by | Dec 6, 2021 | Bold in Faith

Hello friends! I hope your Advent has been off to a great start. My social media fast has been much, much harder than anticipated, which I guess only emphasizes the importance of doing it! I pray that you’ve been able to find silence and peace in this first week of Advent.

This week, I want to reflect on the fruits of the Spirit, fruits that we hope to have present in our lives. St. Paul lays out the fruits of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians (Chapter 5):

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.
I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another.

Reflecting on this passage always makes me wonder how I’m allowing the fruits of the Spirit to be present in my life. I reflect on the activities I pursue, the people I spend time with, the dreams I have, and the choices I make. Are these things increasing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control in my life? Or do they make me jealous, angry, selfish, or reveal other idols in my heart?

For example, there are TV shows that I used to LOVE, but don’t watch anymore because they affect my mind and heart in ways that don’t reflect the fruits of the Spirit. There are people that I used to hang out with that increased a spirit of jealousy and often led me to gossip or do things I wouldn’t normally in order to be accepted and fit in. Our world is filled with opportunities to shut off these graces, and these good gifts of the Holy Spirit require us to be present to them and invite them in. The Lord never enters without our permission – in the same way, the fruits of the Spirit are always available to us, as long as we let them in.

This week, I encourage you to use your evening time in silence to reflect on your day. In what ways were the fruits of the Spirit present? Did you experience love, patience, generosity, or self-control in a new and beautiful way? In a similar way, did you experience the wounds of the flesh: were you envious, selfish, unkind, or impatient? Can you isolate the places and events that brought about these fruits?

I don’t know about you, but I will take all of the peace and patience I can get. If that means staying off of Instagram for Advent, then I’m okay with that. What small change can you make this week to let the fruits of the Spirit permeate your heart and help you prepare for the coming of Jesus?

God bless, and I’ll see you next week!

Jane

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Jane Kennedy
Jane Kennedy

Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.

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