Community covenant for those who walk by the Spirit

The covenant (agreement) that follows is good for all relationships among those who believe in Christ, but particularly for local Churches. It’s based on the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.

Relationship Covenant for the Church

We agree, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, that our words, attitudes and actions toward one another will be expressed lovingly, joyfully, peacefully, patiently, kindly, generously, faithfully, gently and with self-control. (II Corinthians 1:21-22; Galatians 5:22-23).

We cannot do this, but…

We cannot produce a life that pleases God apart from God’s work in and through us (Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:29). This is partly why the apostle wrote, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16). 

The one balancing consideration is that each of the nine virtues produced by the Spirit also appears in the New Testament as a command (or, with imperatival force). Are we commanded to love? Yes. To rejoice? Yes. To peace? Yes. This reminds us that we are not passive recipients of God’s work in our lives. 

Yet, even in our participation, we must recognize our dependence on the Holy Spirit for living the virtues attributed to the Spirit. The person who is walking by the Spirit, yielding to the Spirit, sowing to the spirit, and filled with the Spirit, will bear the fruit of the Spirit. We cannot do this in our own strength!

A closer look

It might help to apply it as a covenant of our shared life by considering a brief explanation of each virtue in the fruit (singular) of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives…

Brief explanation of the fruit

  1. Love: self-sacrificial devotion to the good of others
  2. Joy: deep gladness; hope-filled satisfaction in God’s goodness and love
  3. Peace: calm tranquility; a conciliatory disposition
  4. Patience: steadfast endurance in difficulty or provocation
  5. Kindness: sympathetic consideration and loving action for others
  6. Goodness: generosity that overflows from kindness.
  7. Faithfulness: true and reliable; dependability
  8. Gentleness: humble and self-deferential
  9. Self-control: keeping oneself in check; self-disciplined

Restoration to glory

The fruit of the Spirit is glory restored (restoration to the image of God) because each virtue is an attribute of God. 

“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (II Corinthians 3:17-18).

Looking to God for grace,

Steve Cornell

About Wisdomforlife

Just another worker in God's field.
This entry was posted in attitudes of unity, Community, Elders, elders in the Church, Fellowship, Flesh vs. Spirit, Fruit of the Spirit, Gospel-centered, Holy Spirit, Local Church, Relationships, Spirit filled, Unity and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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