A group of high school seniors at Wilcox County High School in rural south Georgia made history this past weekend by bucking their community’s longstanding tradition of racially segregated proms—yes, one prom for white teens and one for black teens. Indeed, thanks to the inspiring students behind the Integrated Prom movement, for the first time ever, black and white students in the community dressed up and danced the night away together.
How does a community get around having a prom that’s open to everyone without violating any civil rights laws? Easy. You just don’t let the school sponsor it. After the courts integrated the schools in the area, proms became private, invite-only events. White parents began raising funds for an all-white senior prom, leaving black families with no choice but to follow suit and host proms for their children.
Galatians 5:22-24 reminds us the godly attitudes we acquire when our lives belong to the Lord, when we have faith in Christ and possess the Holy Spirit.
Love: agape is the love of of choice, referring to not an emotional affection, physical attraction, or a familial bond, but to respect, devotion, and affection that leads to willing, self-sacrificial service (John 15:13; Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:16-17).
Joy: a happiness based on unchanging divine promises and eternal spiritual realities. It is the sense of well-being experienced by one who knows all is well between himself and the Lord (1 Peter 1:8). Joy is not the result of favorable circumstances, and even occurs when those circumstances are the most painful and severe (John 16:20-22). Joy is a gift from God, and as such, believers are not to manufacture it but to delight in the blessing they already possess (Romans 14:17; Philippians 4:4).
Peace: the inner calm that results from confidence in one’s saving relationship with Christ. The verb form denotes binding together and is reflected in the expression “having it all together.” Like joy,p eace is not related to one’s circumstances (John 14:27; Romans 8:28; Philippians 4:6-7, 9).
Patience: the ability to endure injuries inflicted by others and the willingness to accept irritating or painful situations (Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:12; 1 Tim. 1:15-16).
Kindness: tender concern for others, reflected in a desire to treat others gently, just as the Lord treats all believers (Matt. 11:28-29; 19:13-14; 2 Tim. 2:24).
Goodness: moral and spiritual excellence manifested in active kindness (Rom. 5:7). Believers are commanded to exemplify goodness (Gal. 6:10; 2 Thess. 1:11).
Gentleness: better translated “meekness.” It is a humble and gentle attitude that is patiently submissive in every offense, while having no desire for revenge or retribution. In the New Testament, it is used to describe three attitudes: submission to the will of God (Col. 3:12), teachability (James 1:21), and consideration of others (Eph. 4:2).
Self-control: this refers to restraining passions and appetites (1 Cor. 9:25; 2 Pet. 1:5-6)
When a Christian walks by the Spirit and manifest his fruit, he needs no external law to produce the attitudes and behavior that please God.