We’re used to setting a goal, running the race, and crossing the finish line. We’re used to projects that have deadlines, due dates that must be met, to do lists that we check off. In a nutshell, we’re used to completing what we started.
But our spiritual life isn’t like that. To quote Nietzsche, recently quoted by Eugene Peterson, our spiritual life is a “long obedience in the same direction”. Being reminded of that seems like I should be feeling bogged down, but instead I felt relieved. The words “long” and “obedience” are typically have negative connotations. We like things done fast, and done our way. But I’m just glad to know that I’m never gonna be done with all this. And unless you’ve run the race like this, you probably have no idea why I’m glad about it.
We finished a fruit of the spirit series in January and one of the key points our pastor laced through each sermon was this idea of how we are constantly trying to glue the fruit on our tree instead of letting the fruit come from within us. Putting the fruit on might work for a while, but eventually the fruit will fall off the tree. We tend to concentrate so hard on being the person we think we should be, and work on attaining all those fruits of the spirit. When instead we need to focus on the only one who gets that fruit to grow.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some apples to knock off my tree.