Do you ever buy a study or devotional type workbook and never finish part of it?
I have been trying to finish up one of the editions of Ruth Chou Simon’s Quarterly that I never completed. I do a little each day when I have some extra time in the morning.
This particular edition was on Fruits of the Spirit. It has been a good reminder that these come from abiding in Christ, not through personal effort.
Just like a grape doesn’t develop on it’s own willpower, we don’t bear fruit by putting effort into making the fruit.
In each section she has a portion of Scripture to read several days and meditate on that highlights one of the fruits. Then there are a series of questions to prompt self-examination.
She asks two questions that really get me thinking:
What does the fruit of _________ look like when you try to produce it?
What does the fruit of __________look like when you are walking in the Spirit?
I just finished “patience” and as I sat pondering those two questions, I could see myself in scenario #1.
Jaws clenched, determined not to lose my temper or my cool…blood pressure soaring, heart racing, breath coming in short and tight draws that almost hurt the chest.
That is “patience” when I am crafting my own shiny red apple or cluster of deep purple grapes.
And believe me…that fruit turns into dried apples or a bunch of musty raisins under my own hard work.
If I actually do maintain the pretense of “patience” under my own production efforts, it blesses no one and takes a toll on my mental and spiritual health. Also, if I muscle through with a slight smile and no one knows I was trying so hard, I can develop a false sense of pride that I am so…godly.
However, when I am walking in the spirit by reminding myself that I can pour out all of my heart and angst and wishes for things to go quickly the way I want and then leave all of that at the foot of the Cross and trust that God is working things out in His timing, I actually have the peaceful fruit of patience.
I am not distracted with my own striving and I am able to be the bearer of the fruit of patience that God is working in me.
So the secret is not working on being a certain characteristic of the fruits of the spirit, but working to walk in the spirit so that He can bring about the fruit of His character in our daily lives and interactions.
God bless you as you go about today with a heart to be near to Him in all you do <3