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?

About the Author

  • I’ve certainly experienced the fruits of the Spirit in conjunction with my sexuality. In navigating these complex circumstances, I’ve used the gift of the Holy Ghost to understand what does seem to resonate with God’s word and what doesn’t. I’ve discovered and I’m learning about things that I can and need to do with my sexuality, longings, passions, whatever you call them…and use them to glorify God and build connections with others.
    I don’t see my sexuality as strictly a “problem” of the flesh, but something spiritual as well. Even if I marry a woman and have a family, there are still several aspects of being gay that make me me, and that are spiritual in nature.

    • I would love to hear more about how you’ve seen the fruit of the Spirit in your life through your sexuality! I hope my journey can be as fruitful (excuse the pun)!
      I don’t see my sexuality as a problem — but I must admit I’ve never used it to view fruit of the Spirit before. I’m excited to see what this perspective does.

  • Happy New Year everyone. I’m with you on not being set on resolution statements, but setting out on a journey, yeah that’s good. I hope it changes you more the further you go.
    I’ve never thought of the fruit of the Spirit in terms of queerness, more like a package deal that comes from God working in you, that fruit means there’s life, something real from God present in who you are when you’re in Christ. The fruit are kinda like God’s answers to what we face in ourselves being queer, aren’t they? For everyone else following Jesus too, in what they lack in themselves.
    It’s kinda off topic, but related; something you wrote left a question: “My queerness is a part of me. And my desire is to submit my whole self to Christ.” There’s a whole lot in the Bible about old self and new self, of losing the old and putting on the new. And Jesus says to deny our old self and hate our life in this world. What does queerness look like to you on the other side of submitting ourself to Christ and taking up our cross?
    Whatever that looks like, I hope it’s Jesus that others see.

    • Jesus also said that whoever does not hate their mother or father or their family cannot be saved, that we should not let a loved one’s death be an excuse for going home, that a gentile woman was a dog, and that He would not always be with us.
      I push back because it is easy to show one side of the coin and forget that the other sides are present.
      Paul became all things to all people, used his Roman citizenship to keep him from further persecution, and said we are all unique members of Christ while there is no longer recognition of gender or race. Clearly, if we believe all these things, there is room for parts of our lives to be present in both our old self and new self. My sexuality did not go away upon salvation. My gender perspective did not change after Christ forgave me.theee things remained. I put off my old sinful ways, but I remain who I am. My desire then is to be who I am in Christ, sexuality, gender identity, and all. I hope you’ll join me in this journey as I explore this!

      • Hey man, I’m not good with words. I wasn’t equating queerness with self, self goes deeper. It was about moving forward, and what queerness or ssa or gay looks like going on, how you see it. Tbh, I don’t know, but I hope others see Christ in me in my ssa, not in its absence. Jesus said who we are in this world, our soul, will be saved if we endure to the end. And that takes a lotta faith cause the way forward isn’t always clear.
        I do believe tho there’s something vital in letting go our old self and putting on the new self in Christ, that we’re renewed by the Spirit in doing that, that we experience the reality of God working in us in that. But excuse my awkward way of asking, I wasn’t trying to nail things down but open them up. I’m looking forward to your series Dean, not only for sharing your journey, but yourself as well.

    • Yeah, I kinda screwed up my question, hoping my post to Dean above communicates better. This journey’s about living who God intends us to be where we are.

  • Really excited to see where you take this series, what you learn along the way, and how you grow. I’ve never done any kind of deep dive into the fruit of the Spirit, so I’m excited to learn and grow through you as well! Self-control is the one that jumps out most to me, for all sorts of reasons, both positive and negative. Perhaps I’ll share more when you get to that stage…

    • Thank you, brother! Self-control is going to be… interesting… let’s just say my initial thoughts are already kinda rough! It’ll be later this year as I need a lot of time with that one. Thank you for joining me in this journey!

  • Thank you so much for sharing. I am praying God continues to rain down peace in your life amidst the storms.

  • Thanks Dean…I don’t have many Christian books, but about my all-time favorite book is called, “A Gardener Looks at the Fruit of the Spirit” by W. Phillip Keller. If you haven’t read it, it is great! I trust you are well…

  • Wow brother, how are you doing? I am so sorry to hear about your health issues. Lord, provide all Mike needs in this time, I pray.

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