“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.”
When I read these words I find myself deeply challenged. Is it possible to have any or all of these fruits? I read each one and ask myself, “do I have this and does it show?”
Love, means to care for and love those who I don’t often want to spend time with. Love… is hard. It is an action word. It’s easy when we are with others we care for but that is not often the place we find ourselves in.
Joy, we can have deep joy in our lives and then it shows up in deep peace. Those who have joy inside them are often the most peaceful people one can meet. Remember the song, “it is well with my soul?” When peace like a river, flowing and fulfilling it spills out into forbearance, which means patient endurance and self control.
Kindness, is to be kind and good and faithful. If you have ever met someone without kindness they often show lack of self control. They are rude and not approachable. Gentleness and self control go together very well.
Living in the Spirit means I must take inventory of every word, every action and every behavior I show to others.
It is a good thing.
It is a wonderful challenge if we choose to grow in the Spirit.
When I was in high school one of my very good friends was in college. She was a mentor to me. Often challenging me to look inside my heart and think deep and spiritual. She had cystic fibrosis and I would call her and often ask how she was and in the end she was the one asking me matters of the heart questions. She lived by the fruits of the spirit. Gentleness, compassion, goodness, patient endurance. Her disease didn’t destroy her attitude in fact it made it sweeter for she knew her time was short. I learned from her to and her modeling of what a Christian was. She prayed, she listened and she asked questions. I never felt shamed or discouraged with her, she had a way of lifting me up even within the midst of her own suffering.
If we can challenge each other to live by the fruit of the Spirit and to show our ‘kindness to others’ in these crazy times of meanness, I think we will have more opportunity to show others who are watching, the love of Jesus. We can learn to answer meanness from other peoples words with forgiveness and the act of being gentle. This last voting season has caused a great stir among friends and family and there has been a spirit of ‘righteous’ behavior that I have not enjoyed.
Living by the Spirit means to show fruit of ‘kindness’… goodness and self control. We really do need to look inward and ask ourselves have we done these very well. No matter what opinion we choose to share if it is done in the wrong ‘way’ we lose all of our witness.
I pray we practice the art of discerning which fruit we will give our time and attention to.
“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.”
Are you ready for the challenge set before you?
Sharon Osterhoudt has been married for 42 years. She has two grown ‘children’ and six grand children. She and her husband have attended Grace chapel now for over ten years.
She is a creative author and blog writer of the blog: http://www.sharono-somethingtothinkabout.com/