“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 think back to when I first heard this scripture being read and I actually paid attention long enough to hold it to memory, I thought to myself, ‘I want to yield the fruit of the Spirit in my life! They sound so pleasant!’
But sounding pleasant and actually going through the process to becoming pleasant are on two completely different spectrums.
From my experience, I had to (and currently am) go through night and day experiences to gain these fruits. To gain love, I had to experience heartbreak. It was through heartbreak (disappointment, and being disliked for no reason) that I realized I cannot take the actions of others to heart, that it was not about how I felt that should determine how I loved others. This was the hardest lesson to learn because I am so nice, but then I was reminded of my imperfections. God never shorted me air supply when I hurt Him, disobeyed Him. His love stayed the same and still does, so who am I to determine who I love differently based on the treatment that I may unjustly receive? Now, some people you have to love from a distance, but you do just that…love them, not hate them.
You should never allow any situation or person to remove joy from your life. This is the true test to your joy. It is simple to say that you are happy and everything go well all the time, but can you hold on to that joy when negativity is surrounding you daily and although you continue to pray that God remove you from that situation, it seems He threw your request into the trash. Wherever you are in life, you HAVE to remain joyful. If you allow the wind to move your emotions left and right you will never be stable, be sound. One practice that helps me keep joy in the mist of chaos is staying focused on the promise. By staying focused on the promise, I am quickly reminded that what I am experiencing is preparation for that next big thing, His promise to me. When I realize that I should then handle the situation in the way that He trusts me to handle it (seeing as how He trusts me enough to go through it), my joy hits 200. Keep holding on, the best is yet to come.
This correlates with joy. Something that I had to learn is that worrying does not add a thing to my life other than illness, emotional instability, and depression. It is so hard to be in ‘waiting’ until the next big thing occurs. One thing you do not want to do is allow yourself to fall into depression. It took me to hit bottom before peace came in my life and took over. My situation did not change. My location did not change. My job did not change, but God put a peace in my life that is sustaining me as I continue to be in ‘waiting’. I literally got tired of feeling depressed, so I allowed God to use that negative to place me on a path to peace, and since then I chose to never go back. I chose life. Each and everyday is a blessing because of the peace I have now. I pray it does not take you to get so low emotionally. Although it may be hard and your situation still troubling, turn to Him for peace for it will remove all the pain you carry while in ‘waiting’.
I am someone whose tolerance is very short, but that has changed in this season of ‘waiting’. This is a great fruit to possess when dealing with relationships. People are not perfect. We all make mistakes and fall short not only of His glory but of expectations that we place on one another. Is it fair that at every time someone falls short in your eyesight that you cut them off, not deal with them anymore? Now again, some people you cannot have any relationship with and you should never force any relationship to happen, but if The Spirit is leading you to be of service to someone whom you consider a non factor, please be obedient. Your obedience could be their deliverance, ultimately leading to your blessing. There are a few people that I tried to rid myself of in my own timing but God did it in His own timing and I am glad that He did. I would have missed my lesson and would have had bad blood between someone that should not exist. Never quit people or a situation until God says it’s time. You do not want to the pleasure of relearning a situation in a new location because you could not see what God was doing in the mist of your lesson.
Kindness is a ‘warm’ fruit. I can honestly say that being kind has opened many doors in my life. With being kind it is never about what you can do to receive. It is what it is, being kind to be kind. With discernment you can usually tell when someone is being kind to you because they want something, not because they are truly being kind. This really bothers me. I’d rather you get to the point than manipulate kindness to get whatever it is you want. Do whatever you do in kindness or don’t do it at all.
‘It is only the God within me that is good.’ This is true for all mankind. Understanding that we are all born into sin, the only good thing that makes us who we are is the spirit God Himself living within our bodies. Every time I try to operate out of His Spirit, I experience epic failure. I am unsure of how you feel, but I do know that without the goodness of God nothing in life compares. We must tap into this goodness daily to experience a communion with Him that exceeds any relationship you will ever have.
What are you most dedicated to? What in your life are you most certain of? By answering this question, you know where your faith is invested. Apply that faith to God and how everything in your life is working together for the good! Faith is truly cultivated when what we see does not match what we believe. We at that point have a choice: continue building our faith in our situations and in God, or allowing the circumstance to dictate what and who our God is. It is easier said than done, but don’t allow the enemy to steal one of the most precious gifts from you. Continue to have faith!
Have you ever been in a conflict with someone? How did you handle that situation? God calls us to be gentle, meek. He does not call us to be pushovers, but he does expect us to be gentle, humble. In conflict, it may be hard to show kindness and remain humble to someone who seems to enjoy pushing buttons, but if you find yourself in these situations, allow gentleness to sooth the hostility. Your response can either release someone to receive a revelation or it can assist in perpetuating a response of hostility towards all who come in contact with them. Regardless of how someone treats you, choose to take the higher road. Showing gentleness not only blesses you but blesses others.
We live in times where we encourage do what you want, how you want, with whomever you want without the worry of consequence. We drink, eat, and spend however much we want to! So what? It’s my life, I ain’t hurtin nobody! In reality we are grieving God’s spirit within us, and hurting ourselves. Self control produces amazing fruit. When you practice self control, your body appreciates you for taking into consideration what you allow yourself to consume. Your finances increase allowing you to take that extra trip a year. Your spouse appreciates that you saved your body for them. Most importantly, God is pleased with your lifestyle. Everything else mentioned are just perks for being obedient. Make a conscious choice daily to practice self control so you can one day harvest the fruits of obedience.
As stated, to gain these fruits you have to go through the opposite, but if you are currently experiencing the opposite of the fruits, praise God! Decide to allow the fruits of the spirit to show up in your situation so that you can sow seeds that will develop into a great harvest!