(based on the Epistle of James)

God did not create us to willow away and die in sin, but to be fruitful – and not only fruitful -, to be among the first-fruits of His creation.

God gave us the will-power to dominate our own passions and use them in pursuit of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Whether we are close to God in holiness or removed from God by the barrier of sin depends on our own free will, through Jesus Christ.

The perfect man is capable of controlling his whole body. If a man does not maintain discipline over even the smallest of the earthly passions, innocuous as it may seem, it could not only set aflame the whole body, but consume the soul in the ensuing fire. A man can use his body to bless and to curse, to pursue the works of the Holy Spirit and to pursue the works of the flesh.

Indeed, the spiritual battle unfolds in the willingness and power of the soul to master the relationship between the body and the rest of creation. The loser allows his will-power to be dispersed aimlessly through the uncontrolled members of the body, the winner focuses the energy of his mind and body on the most important pursuit of all: the soul’s relationship with the Holy Spirit.

This is what we should be seeking, what we should be asking for: passion and discipline working together in the pursuit of the relationship with the Holy Spirit.

And that is why the Apostle James writes “obey God”, obey His statutes and the teachings of Jesus, resist the devil and the devil will flee from you, draw near to God and God will draw near to you. Wash your hands, purify your heart, harness the energy of mind and body under the direction of the soul in the pursuit of one goal.

Therefore, if you lack perfection in pursuit of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, ask of the Lord what is lacking. But do so with unshakable faith: we do not achieve perfection in doubt, duplicity, and instability.

In faith, then, listen to the Word, keep the passions in check. Cast aside all impurities and runaway passion in gentleness and humility so as to nurture the Word implanted within you that gives eternal life to your soul: tend the garden, be the worker in the vineyard, dig out the weeds, so that the seed can grow and produce fruit.

Be patient, then, like the farmer waiting for the autumn rain in the planting season – strengthen your heart – and the late rain in the season of the harvest – produce fruit.

Put in another way, the goal is to achieve complete personhood, from genesis to eternal life of the soul. Listening to the word as passive entertainment or studying the word as a self-indulgent intellectual exercise is self-deception. The doer is the true poet: keep the passions in check, listen to the Word, study the Word, and put it into practice. This is the law of freedom in Jesus Christ which allows us to produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

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