16 October – Additional Notes
GALATIANS 5: A FRUITARIAN DIET
There are some random things in life that seem to just stick in my mind. I’m reminded today, of a scene from the movie Notting Hill where Hugh Grant’s date says that she’s “a fruitarian”. She only eats fruit that has fallen from the tree or bush which are, in fact, already dead. Apparently, the boiled carrots on her host’s dinner table had been murdered! Her ideas, and Hugh Grant’s reactions, draw a smile from me as I think about clever script writers who come up with new amusements for their latest movies.
With all jokes aside, though, there seems to be no hiding the fact that I’m no different from the people described in today’s chapter who were living in the Roman province of Galatia to whom this Jewish scholar, named Paul, was writing. If I’m not acting in the same ways they did, I’m often feeding my mind with it from newspapers, magazines, books and movies. Now if Paul’s list of horrible behaviours were going on in the days of Noah[a] as the old saying goes: “a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” [v9], then the promise of evolution has seriously failed us!
But now… the Creator’s epic storyline kicks in and, this really is The Good News: “…It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…” [v1]
Sipping my warm tea, I settled deeper into my duvet waiting for the next wonderful statement. But nothing in life comes without effort. Albert Einstein’s theory of “cause and effect” proved that we have to exert some sort of force to enjoy an affect. If we want to be healthy, we need to exercise and change our diet. Likewise, if I want the affect of liberty that’s provided by my Maker (either in the society around me, or in my private life), I’m not free to go on entangled in the bondages of life, as I’ve always done without some sort of force for change.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in fleshly behaviour. Rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” [v13-15]
Today, I can ponder on this one thing: When I walk by my Father God’s Spirit, I’ll not indulge, or pander to, the desires of my basic nature. Unrefined, uncontrolled and base desires are in conflict with my Designer’s Holy Spirit who is changing me into the likeness of Himself. So then, I can’t just go about life do whatever I want. [v16-17] It’s a life-long journey following my Maker’s Guidebook, if I’m to stay on track. Just as our “fruitarian friend” in the movie Notting Hill would have studied up on what fruitarians believe, and what lifestyle changes would be required of a true fruitarian.
For millenniums, we can see who this Creator God really is by simply reading His epic storyline. As HIStory unfolds, it’s not difficult to see, how His standards are in stark contrast to our standards. Our TV shows, for example, our movie “thrillers”, gossip magazines, and news headlines are filled with unbridled sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; fits of rage; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. [v19-21]
But then, Paul seemed to go off track by talking about circumcision. What has that got to do with an October 16th morning in the 21st Century?!
Well, circumcision was like a tribal mark or “symbol of commitment” that was meant to set the Creator God’s people out as different from the norm.[b] While we may not connect immediately with some of this chapter, the ‘lifestyle diet’ listed above shows that we’ve not been able to better ourselves, even after four+ millennia, since circumcision was first brought into the Creator God’s storyline – back in the days of Abraham.
When I read parts of the Creator God’s Epic Play script – like today’s chapter, a portion from a 1st Century letter written to Believers living in the Roman province of Galatia – I realise truth in the saying: You are What You Eat. What goes in (what you feed into your life) will have a huge effect on who you become and where you end up. If I’m led by the Spirit of the One who made me in His own image, to be like Him, then the fruit (the evidence) of His Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. [v23]
I’m sure that the girl in Nothing Hill, who adopted a fruitarian diet, will have made considerable lifestyle changes. It’s very difficult to change your diet and still function as before without significant changes! In addition, your friends have to change around you. They can’t serve you certain foods when you visit their house, for example. And they’re likely to not flaunt a fat, rare steak in front of you, if you’re a vegan. Friends often make these adjustments around you and you around them. In just the same way, when one’s lifestyle conforms to our Maker’s Guidebook, there’s adjustment everywhere you turn. To live by the fruit of my Maker’s Spirit, for example, will require a 180 degree lifestyle change (called repentance) so that I’m heading in the opposite direction to what I’ve been heading in. If not, and I continue to live by the unbridled behaviour list, in today’s chapter, I’ll not inherit the Kingdom of God. [v21]
And so, if I belong to Christ Jesus, it isn’t just a diet change – to feed on yet another philosophy. It goes much deeper when I’ve crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. [v24] By keeping in step with my Creator’s Spirit [v25], I’m enabled, through His Holy Spirit now, to eagerly await, in faith, for the righteousness in which I hope. [v5]
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[a] Genesis 6:5
[b] Leviticus 20:26