|"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." - Galatians 5:22-23 [NIV]
Fruit for Thought
By Jennifer E. Jones
I was saved on February 5, 1986. After 21 years on this “long and winding road,” I still foolishly think I know what I’m doing.
My "know-it-all"-ness makes me a little lax on my Bible reading at times. I know how to be a good Christian: go to church, steer clear of the booze, don’t have premarital sex, etc. However, I’m often surprised at how the classic lessons and Bible parables have a way of appearing brand new in a different light.
If I'm honest with myself, the time I am more likely to choose sleep over morning devotions is the weekend. Saturdays are easy days. I am not as tempted to lose my cool on a day when my biggest responsibilities are laundry and walking my dog.
However, a recent speaker in our chapel service talked about the importance of opening up the Bible everyday, whether you feel like it or not. Even if you can only meditate on one verse, it keeps a standard before you. So instead of judging yourself by the world, you can keep God's statues handy.
The next morning, I followed the speaker's advice and made a point to really get into the scriptures before coffee. I opened up Hebrews, because I always figure I could use more faith. I started to pray some of my usual prayers. At this stage of the game, I've got a routine going. I'm sure God was yawning too.
I got to the point where I said, as I always do, "Lord, mold me into who You want me to be." But then I thought, Who does God really want me to be?
Does He want me to be thinner? Prettier? A better worker? Less forgetful?
Does He want me to eat more vegetables? Say hi to my neighbors? Get to church on time?
Again, most of these are standards other people put on us. I could come up with lots of ways I should be. However, God said, "No, I want you to be someone who's loving, peaceful, patient, gentle… You see where this is going?"
Ah, the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. I never really thought about them in depth before, but it's true. Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control are all enviable character traits. More than that, they embody the kind of person God wants me to be. All that outer nonsense is man's law, but this is what it looks like to walk in the Spirit as Paul wrote in Galatians 5:16.
What truly struck me is that these are the kinds of attitudes and actions that people are quick to say they're short on. "I'm not a patient person," or "I'm certainly not meek." But God showed me that if you're a Christian and filled with the Holy Spirit, then you are all of those things. You just don't know it.
You've seen fruit trees in the country before. Some of the fruit is beautiful, ripe, and you can eat it right off the branch. Some of the other ones in the back are a little wrinkled, bruised, and fly-infested. I think that's similar to how the fruit of the Spirit can appear in our lives.
It's like a tree growing on the inside of you bearing fruit. The ones we use a lot hang low, grow fast and always appear shiny to people looking at us. Whereas, the ones in the back of the tree are neglected. So they shrivel up. They're still there, but they certainly aren't edible nor appealing to the eye. Perhaps if we tended to them more often, they would grow into something beautiful.
I can look at the fruit of the Spirit and pick out the ones that are attracting flies in my life. So I'll let those be the ones that I'll try harder on today. Be a little more patient. Have a little more self-control -- especially when those random sugar cravings come on.
Food for thought…or fruit for thought perhaps.
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