“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23a
The Lord tells us in the bible that he will know us by our fruits. What does that mean? When we have a personal relationship with our Savior, out of His spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control will flow to us and through us. These “fruits” do not always come naturally to our human condition, but they are something to which we can aspire. Mankind is sometimes full of anger, rage, jealousy, greed, and lack of self-control. We see evidence of this lack in abundance by watching the news, and in our own personal experience.
I was driving on the highway minding my own business yesterday and happened to be passing a slow moving vehicle with a trailer that was carrying several 4-wheelers, when suddenly seemingly out of nowhere a truck came up very fast in my rear-view mirror. Before I knew it, he was in the slow lane beside me beeping his horn and using profane hand gestures at me. This person was full of rage, clearly angry with something aside from me, but I became the target. His rage caused him to pass between the slow moving vehicle and my vehicle in the fast lane, requiring me to veer to the left hand side of the road so he did not hit me.
This small example demonstrates for us how out of control life can be when we are not in tune with the Holy Spirit, when we do not spend time alone with our God. “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing .If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant…love is not rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
Again, the bible is giving us an example of what a life looks like when one is living in the fruit of the spirit. Not only are we to be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, but possessing these fruits will cause us to rethink situations where we once may have been boastful, insist on our own way, behaved rudely, resented others and rejoice in wrongdoing. All of these things are part of the carnal nature of man and to become filled with God’s good fruit, is a daily work in progress.
Some goals to strive for in your relationships this week:
Honesty—Be who you really are with other people… be authentic, no masks.
Warmth—be warm and compassionate with those around you, appropriately demonstrating warmth and affection.
Communication—Communicate to others those things which are important to you. Open the door to allow them to do the same.
Share Feelings—when we open a door of communication it initiates receptivity to the sharing of feelings; not only pleasurable feelings, but painful ones as well.
Acceptance—attempt to overcome embarrassment and shock when others share their feelings, beliefs and shortcomings.
Trust—when communication is open and we feel warmth, honesty, and acceptance, trust is established. Work on trust.
Faithfulness—be faithful to your commitments and promises.
Respect—show respect toward others by attempting to understand their need to make their own decisions.
Hope—each day is a new beginning filled with potential!
In your prayers this week, ask God to fill you with the fruit of the spirit…to show you moments of joy, love, peace, kindness, and gentleness. Ask him to deepen the relationships with those you love, giving you a better understanding of a God kind of love. Try to see others through the eyes of God, rather than your own—ask God to do that for you.
I want to see things for the way they really are. Please give me eyes to see the areas in my life that I need to work on. I know that you are a loving God and that you accept my weaknesses, my sin, and all of my character flaws. I thank you for that and I ask you to help me to accept these things too so I can begin to work toward making them better and in turn be blessed with deep and caring relationships and the fruit of the spirit! I want to relate to you authentically and to others authentically–help me shed any masks that I wear and just be me. Part of just being me is learning to accept myself and love the real “me”… I want to be able to be a witness to those around me that normal people with normal problems can find hope, help, comfort and joy in you. Thank you, Lord that you are such an ever present help and guide in my life.