Choose Joy

We’ve heard them preached on … some of us have even memorized the whole list of them … but often some confusion lingers about the “fruit of the Spirit” written about in the fifth chapter of Galatians. The first eight in the list are accepted readily: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. We all see the value and blessing of these. But then there is that ninth one—that’s the one that gives us trouble: self-control.

We get uncomfortable when we think self-control is required of us, because we worry that maybe we don’t practice as much self-control as we should. Leaping to our minds are occasions from our history when self-control wasn’t uppermost in our minds.

But this line of thinking leads us completely off track. The whole point is that these are fruit of the Spirit; these are the result of the Spirit’s residence in our lives. The Amplified Bible defines the fruit of the Spirit as “the work which His presence within accomplishes.” Rather than convicting us for something we lack, the list is our assurance that we have full right and access to all of these.

When I find myself coming up short—perhaps in patience, perhaps in peace—I can remind myself that the patience and the peace are already there within me where the Spirit resides; I simply have to choose to live in it.

Last week the shortage seemed to be joy, so I made a sign for the corner of my bathroom mirror. It says “Choose Joy.” Every time I see it, I am reminded that the joy is already within me, accomplished by the presence of the Spirit.

           

A Course in Miracles

I am stoked! On Sunday, August 4, I am starting a 28-day E-course entitled “The Wisdom of A Course in Miracles with Diane Berke.” I’m excited at the prospect of again focusing on love, forgiveness, peace, gratitude, joy, etc., as only A Course in Miracles can do.

Years ago these books were my main source of spiritual nourishment for an entire year, and they were definitely up to the task. The result was that I created a quarterly spiritual newsletter that I ended up sending to a mailing list of 700+ recipients – and this was all postal service, before the days of email transmissions.

What I most look forward to for the upcoming month is to see the texts through someone else’s eyes. What will she choose to emphasize? What gems have struck her as important enough to bring to everyone else’s attention? Maybe it will be one like this: “Every loving thought is true. Everything else is an appeal for healing and help, regardless of the form it takes.” Or how about these:

“Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time?”

“What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself.”

“You are altogether irreplaceable in the Mind of God. No one else can fill your part of it, and while you leave your part of it empty your eternal place merely waits for your return.”

Lovely! Maybe you should think about signing up for this E-course too!