From the Word
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.
Galatians 5:22–26, RSV
When your heart is established in Christ, and you are an enemy of sin, out of love and not out of fear of punishment, Christ’s suffering should be an example for your whole life, and you should meditate on the same in this way. If a day of sorrow or sickness weighs you down, think how trifling that is compared with the thorns and nails of Christ. If you must do or leave undone what is distasteful to you, think how Christ was led hither and thither, bound a captive. Does pride attack you, think how your Lord was mocked and disgraced with murderers. Do unchastity and lust thrust themselves against you, think how bitter it was for Christ to have his tender flesh torn, pierced and beaten again and again. Do hatred and envy war against you, or do you seek vengeance, remember how Christ, who had more reason to seek revenge, prayed for you and all his enemies with tears and cries. If trouble or whatever adversity of body or soul afflict you, strengthen your heart and say: Ah, why should I not also suffer a little, since my Lord sweat blood in the garden because of anxiety and grief? That would be a lazy, disgraceful servant who would wish to lie in his bed while his lord was compelled to battle with the pangs of death.
One can thus find in Christ strength and comfort against all vice and bad habits. This is the right observance of Christ’s passion and the fruit of his suffering, and he who exercises himself thus in the same does better than by hearing the whole Passion or reading all masses. They are called true Christians who incorporate the life and name of Christ into their own life. For Christ’s passion must be dealt with not in words and a show, but in our lives and in truth. Paul admonishes: “Consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” And Peter says: “Forasmuch as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.”
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 110–11.
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