Saturday, April 1, 2017

Keeping the Appointments

Happy 7th Day! It's the first Sabbath of the New Biblical Year and Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits are just around the corner. I thought I'd pop in here and mention the Torah Portion and some info on the Appointed Times in general or on Passover specifically, but I'm feeling led to focus on something off topic... or actually... maybe it's not off topic at all.
I've been drawn towards studying the Fruits of the Spirit lately. It's certainly not the first time. For most Bible believers this is a well known passage in Galatians. Years ago I wrote a study on it for my kids. I'll have to dig that out again. But this time, perhaps in readying my heart for Passover, I'm seeing it new and differently. If you look at the end of Galatians 5, you see those familiar verses--
22 But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self control; against such there is no law.

How many times have I set out myself or with my kids to study these in order, plan to pursue each of them, get this whole living in a spirit thing sorted out... but often I fizzle out after joy... a few times we've made it to patience...
Am I alone here? Always with such great intentions...
But then over the last couple weeks the rest of the chapter hit me...
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by a Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
(And because I try to ignore chapter breaks since these are letters and not actually originally written in chapter and verse I keep going...)
6:1 Brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you to be tempted. Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.....
At at some point I realized I might be jumping into walking out the fruits of the spirit backwards. Maybe it's as a mom homeschooling her boys that the correcting in gentleness part stood out at me, but I began thinking what if this is where we began. And then move backwards through not envying one another or provoking one another or becoming conceited. If we can understand and walk out those things how much easier will it be to be self-controlled, and gentle, and faithful, and good, and kind, and patient, peaceful, joyful, and loving?
And as I said in the beginning, perhaps this isn't so off topic. Earlier in chapter 5, Paul does talk about a little leaven leavens the whole lump. It's the old leaven we need to be purging that old leaven homes in preparation for the Feast that begins next Monday.
In 1 Corinthians 5 as Paul is correcting another set of believers, he talks about their boasting not being good. And he asks "Do you not know that A little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump as you are really unleavened. For Christ, Our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of Sincerity and Truth."

So, in case you're new to all of this , the main preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread which begins simultaneously with the Passover meal on Monday evening, is ridding our homes of Leaven. In biblical times this was usually a dough starter (hence the reference to lumps), but now many people carry this out by removing yeast and yeast products from their homes. Some people go as far as to rid every leavening agent from their household. Part of what makes this practice so meaningful in our home is when we miss bread or crumbs or a stash of cookies we had forgotten about. It's always a good object lesson into being careful to examine the corners of our hearts for sin that we've looked passed, for malice that we've gotten used to seeing and living with.
And to be honest, I think it's that very last part of Galatians 5 and I may have gotten used to living with with recently. Correcting without gentleness, provoking the people I live with, thinking more highly of myself than I ought to. Perhaps it's in trimming those low dead branches but the rest of the fruit can be nourished.
What may have felt like scattered thoughts at first seem to actually have come back nicely to the topic. It's funny how God works. Since my family began to learn about these appointed times, we've seen how God uses this calendar to work in the lives of His people, to be a continual cyclical Bible study, or better yet a Messiah study. He knows His people. And He knows how we need to be reminded again and again of what the process of becoming holy looks like, what the process of walking in the spirit is. I have grown to be so very thankful for these Appointments with my King.

I'd love to hear what YOU are studying. Do you have thoughts or questions on the Biblical Feasts? Leave a comment and let's discuss :)