A new year has begun. This is normally when everyone begins implementing resolutions for a “better me,” a single word to define the year, or something else that says: “This year will be different. I will be different.”
I’ve never been super into resolutions. I’ve done the “one word theme” thing. I’ve had goals for the year.
But typically I approach each year with the same mindset: I want to continue to grow. As I considered this notion for the upcoming year, my mind wandered to the fruit of the Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit are evidential attributes of the Holy Spirit’s work in an individual’s life. Paul lists nine such attributes in Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV):
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
These nine attributes should be present in every one of Jesus’ followers.
Now I’ve often considered the fruit of the Spirit: both for my service in the church and as a general Christ-follower. I’ve sung the songs, done the studies, and taught the lessons. There isn’t much left, I sometimes feel.
Then an idea hit me.
What would it look like to explore the fruit of the Spirit as a queer man?
This question might seem contradictory to that passage in Galatians, depending upon your theology. Paul says that the flesh is opposed to the Spirit — so how could one ever explore the spiritual from a fleshly mindset?
But my sexuality is more than just an attraction. It is a complex story woven together from years of growth, development, mistakes, victories, and ideas — all of them coming together to form me as I am today.
My queerness is a part of me. And my desire is to submit my whole self to Christ.
Thus, why would I not hold up my sexuality to the fruit of the Spirit to test it? Perhaps I may see where my sexuality rails against the Spirit. Or perhaps I may see where the Spirit shines its attributes through my queer identity.
I honestly don’t know where this journey will lead me. And I’m excited about that.
Each month this year, I’ll plan to share a post about one of the fruits of the Spirit. In each post, Dean from December 2019 will share his thoughts on what that particular fruit means to him. Then, present day Dean will share how he has been pursuing that fruit.
I promise the format will make more sense when you see it next month — I hope, anyway.
My hope, as with previous years, is that I continue growing in my walk with Christ. I hope you’ll take the chance to journey with me.
Have you studied the fruit of the Spirit? Which fruit manifest more — and less — than others in your life?