In my Christian Spirituality class at Messiah College we were talking about the Holiness Tradition recently. Before I dive into some thoughts I have of the class discussion, let me provide some background. For the class, we are reading Richard Foster’s Streams of Living Water. In the book there are six traditions discussed: The Contemplative Tradition, The Holiness Tradition, The Charismatic Tradition, The Social Justice Tradition, The Evangelical Tradition, and lastly The Incarnational Tradition.
While we are now only discussing the second tradition mentioned in Foster’s book, the discussion about the Holiness Tradition really brought up some thoughts for me. This tradition is not and should not be about “I am holier than thou,” but rather a transformational aspect to it.
During this transformational time we can become better brothers and sisters of Christ, and be transformed by Him. We can develop Christ-like virtues throughout the process. It isn’t the easiest thing to do, yet it is possible. Sure we are not perfect and sin, but we can still strive to do better.
In Galatians 5:16-26, Paul talks about two different ways of living. One is Christ-like and one is not. “Idolatry, drug use, and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, jealously drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these things won’t inherit God’s
kingdom” (Galatians 5:20-21 CEB).
After stating what is not Christ-like, Paul shares what the fruit of the Spirit is.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified self with its passions and its desires. If we Live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit. Let’s not become arrogant, make each other angry, or become jealous of each other” (Galatians 5:22-23,25-26).
This Lenten Season is an opportunity for us to be transformed. During a time when many of us give something up for Lent, we can use this time to become more Christ-like. It might be difficult for us to kick an habitual act like losing our temper quickly, but through this preparation time we can allow the Spirit to work in and transform us.
Like I previously said, it won’t be easy to do, but if you allow the Spirit to guide you, there is an opportunity to be transformed and live out the fruits of the spirit in our everyday actions.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and
Phil Naegely is a student at Messiah College and has served with Hope Church at Delanco Camp, which holds an annual work retreat at camp. He blogs at PhilosophyofPhil and writes about the Philadelphia Union for Examiner.com. Image credit: David Linder, via CreationSwap