The problem is that we can’t teach people to be something – only to do something. We can teach a person to act nice, but we can’t teach a person to be nice. Can we teach someone to act patient? Sure, but can we action plan being patient? “Today, I will not be impatient with anyone. Check.” Don’t think so.
Today, you are going to be given an opportunity to get what you have always wanted: the Fruit of the Spirit. But you’ll have to act fast because supplies are limited!
I know we should teach on the Fruit but the problem is that Consumer-Americans, immigrants from the land of Consumerica, immediately pull a Simon the Sorcerer and wonder how we can acquire the Fruit. Tacos, Snuggies, or new kitchen counter tops – it doesn’t matter what. We are bred to have what we want right away. The problem with the distinctives that make Christians special is that they take too much time and effort.
That’s why church stinks for so many. Why don’t people go to church? I’ll tell you – all they hear about is what they should be (which is always different than who they already are,) and how they can’t become that person with little or no effort. Like weight loss claims. Tell someone a pill would work and you are a millionaire. Tell them they have to exercise and good luck breaking even.
If church was somehow able to sell things like patience and self control…
We know we should be patient but we really don’t want to be. We know we should be kind but we don’t want to be. We know we should be gentle but that is so boring. If we really wanted to be the kind of person Jesus wants us to be then wouldn’t we read the Bible, pray and engage in spiritual conversation with others on our journey, like say, at church each week?
Act now and we will double your offer! TWO patiences, TWO goodnesses…
So not only does the Fruit take forever to grow but it’s also fruit we don’t really want to harvest. Now what does the church offer? Disciplines that are hard to do and Fruit that we don’t really want because we like being selfish, impatient and all about ourselves. So how can we get people into church?
I vote politics.
What if we make people mad at someone? Emotions sell, baby. Maybe we could hire Sean Hannity to preach Sundays. Dude, the pews would be crazy full! (Well, at least the white, middle class, Protestant church pews…)
Don’t wait! Call now!
So what’s the problem with teaching about the Fruit of the Spirit? Just that the people teaching and the people listening to the teaching are impatient, selfish, and want to remain so.
Test me in this: What kind of Fruit are you showing? Are you really putting forth the effort you could?