But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
Last year I read an amazing book by Mark Batterson called Soul Print: Discovering Your Destiny. One of the chapters focused on the Fruit of the Spirit. It made me pause and take inventory of the actual fruit that is being produced in my life. It is a humbling thing to really look at your own life and be honest about what you’re allowing God to produce in your life and what you are blocking.
Growing fruit requires that I not only stay in relationship with God but that I submit to what He wants to do in me. Fruit shows the maturity of our relationship with Christ, although it is generally the gifts and callings we seek. Looking at the fruit produced in our life is an inventory that is needed ongoing.
In order for His love to flow through me to others, it must first be established in me. So it is with every fruit. It is only through testing of what is in me that fruit is shown.
For example, I must first come across enemies and those I do not feel drawn toward before the fruit of love and kindness are truly shown in my life. Anything less is a duplication of what is available outside of God’s Spirit at work in my life.
If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.
If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. Matthew 5:46-47 NLT
As I pondered on love, I thought about the other fruit that needs to grow in my life. I must show joy in times of sorrow, peace in times of war and patience during trying times to be considered different from the world. These fruit I really struggle with, although in isolated events because generally speaking I have peace, joy and patience. As I was listening to the follow excerpt I was convicted of when I lose my peace, patience and joy:
Now you will notice that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time that he reckoned on having at his own disposal expectedly taken from him. It is the unexpected visitor when he looked forward to a quiet evening. Or the friend’s talkative wife turning up when he looked forward to a tit-a-tit with the friend that throw him out of gear…..They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption “My time is my own”. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. …. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright.
Lewis, Clive Staples. The Screwtape Letters.
Nothing sends me in a tailspin as fast as not having time to myself that I thought I would. I lose my patience first, although that is easier to hide, or so I think. The loss of joy and peace can last for days when I lose time I thought I would have. Being made aware that I am allowing the enemy to steal my joy and peace over something so small as time helps me to know where I need to allow the Holy Spirit to work. I have to allow Him to grow this fruit in my life during this circumstance that I generally allow it to be destroyed.
It could be an unexpected visitor, a change in schedules, running late, or someone else running early. These are times that when I’m not careful, and I’m generally not, that I feel robbed of “my time.” God numbered my days, and He has plans for my life that I am not aware of.
Psalm 39:4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.
Allowing myself to be interrupted opens up doors of opportunity for God to use me and grow me. If I want the fruit of the Spirit in my life, I have to be willing to let God take me through things for it to grow. Different fruit grows in different seasons, right now I see God wanting to work on growing fruit in the areas of how I guard time. I have to stop seeing it as mine and ask Him “What shall I do with this moment.” And then ask again the next moment, and repeat.
This blog is part of a #Write31Days series on growth. 31 Days is an online writing challenge, where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day.