Sunday, April 28, 2019

Growing the Fruit of the Spirit...


Today I walked to a vacant lot near my house and clipped a few branches of apple blossoms off of  a crabapple tree. The blooming branches look lovely placed in a vase and sitting on top of the cabinet next to my favorite chair in our kitchen nook.

While I love the beauty of fruit tree blossoms, blossoms aren't the fruit, are they?  They are the sign of fruit to come. When autumn comes, that tree in the vacant lot will be full of crabapples. In the meanwhile it isn't stressed out about bearing fruit. It doesn't strive, work and sweat to produce fruit. It simply soaks up water and nutrients from the soil through its roots and absorbs sunlight as well as carbon dioxide through its leaves and the fruit eventually comes!

For too long I've treated the list of the fruit of the Spirit as a to-do list. It was the list of character traits that I needed to strive toward. I needed to try harder to be loving. Try harder to be patient. Try harder to be gentle. Try harder to have more self-control. And then one day, I actually noticed these words in my Amplified Bible. "But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]." Galatians 5:22-23 AMPC
I realized that I couldn't produce the fruit of the Spirit in my life by working harder. Growing the fruit of the Spirit in my life was the Holy Spirit's job. My part was to let Him have His way in me, to yield and surrender to His work in my life. "May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]." Ephesians 3:16 AMPC 
As I let the Holy Spirit have His way within my spirit, He infuses my personality with Christ-like character, the fruit of the Spirit. I don't lose my unique personality, but I become more of the me God created me to be. 
In the margin of my Bible I wrote the words, "Pray daily!" next to Galatians 5:22. Care to join me?
Holy Spirit, I yield and surrender to Your work within me today. Fill me, strengthen me and dwell within every part of my innermost being and personality. Accomplish in me what only You can do. Infuse me with the character of Christ. Let His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control grow in me today. Amen.



2 comments:

  1. very thought provoking. You have inspired me to pay more attention and to open myself up to the ways in which the Holy Spirit works in me.

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  2. So good! It's the Fruit of the Holy Spirit and He does the work within us! I remember when I first stumbled upon that truth, too! It was so freeing... and it helped me to let go of all the striving and chasing after a try-hard life! Instead, I lean in to Him and let Him lead... it's still work --but there is so much freedom knowing it's His work --and not my own!

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