Monday, June 14, 2010
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." Galatians 5:21-26
Fruit salad is so refreshing. All of those different kinds of fruit, which are good on their own, are delicious and sweet when they are mixed together. Lately I've been thinking a lot about the Fruits of the Spirit and what a difference it makes when I consciously apply all of them to my life. It's like making a fruit salad. Take any one of those traits by themselves and it is a good thing, but put them all together, and life is sweet, refreshing. That refreshment comes from the Holy Spirit when we are walking in the ways of the Lord.
I once heard someone say that love and self-control are the bookends of these traits. It isn't easy to have joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness without love and self-control. When we love others, so many times that love manifests itself in ways that demonstrate joy or peace or kindness. And if we don't have self-control, it is difficult to show the other fruits as well.
The Message translation says, "But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely." We are treating others the way Christ would have us to treat them, living a life of integrity with Christ-like principles, and God rewards us for it. He brings gifts into our lives and blesses us beyond measure.
It isn't always easy though. There are times when I am not patient or kind and I don't always show self-control. I am a work in progress but it has to be a conscious decision on my part to demonstrate these traits. It doesn't come all at once and God doesn't ask that we do it alone. He is there to help refine us and help us to become more like Him, if only we ask. Today I choose fruit salad. I choose to ask God to help me show others the sweetness and refreshment that can only come from Him.