Part VI of “Working Thoughts in These Days”.
“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:19-26.
“Amma Sarah said, “If I prayed God that all men should approve of my conduct, I should find myself a penitent at the door of each one, but I shall rather pray that my heart may be pure towards all.” The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, 230.
This is a time of crisis (lit. judgment), and the world is judging us by our witness. And this is our witness, that we should be Christians. In Acts we read that the followers of Jesus were first called Christians in the city of Antioch. That name is a diminutive, and means “little Christs”. We are to be as Christ for the world around us. We are to behave like Christ. We are to pour ourselves out for the world like Christ. We are to love like Christ.
So let us take stock, and judge ourselves lest we be judged by the Judge before whom we must all give account. Are we living that witness? Are we more loving? Are we joyous? Are we peaceful and seeking peace? Are we patient? Are we kind and generous? Are we faithful, gentle, and self-controlled? Are we seeking the approval of the world or God? Are our hearts pure towards all? Do our interactions with others at home, in public, or on social media bear out that we are Christians?
Or are we full of the works of the flesh?
In all things wherein we have failed to live up to our high calling let us repent and return to the Lord, for he is tender and merciful, always granting us to begin anew.