The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22&23 NIV)
Jesus says in Matthew 12 "A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad," and in Matthew 7 "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?"
So, if we know a "tree" by its fruit, then it is only logical that those of us filled with the Holy Spirit would bear love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control in our lives.
Please note that Going to church, Being active in Sunday School, Attending Ladies Bible Study, Singing in the choir, Serving on the children's committee, and Working in the nursery are not on the fruit list....but isn't that the criteria many Christians use to "inspect" themselves?
Therein lies the problem. We are working toward, cultivating, and focusing on the wrong things. The Fruit of the Spirit is born in us when the Holy Spirit sets up residence in our soul. It is a package deal, promised to all Christians. No one has been denied the fruit of Patience. Joy was not withheld. God did not choose to give some all the fruit except self-control. When we accept Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit enters in and resides in us. The outward sign of the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives is His fruit.....lots of fruit=healthy Spirit.....no fruit=no spirit. After all, you know a tree by its fruit.
In 2012, as you are making your resolutions, pause and do a Fruit Inspection....on your own tree. Are you Peaceful? Are you Joyful? Are you filled with Goodness? Would people describe you as Faithful, Kind, Patient, and Gentle? Are there areas of your life that are out of control or do you practice Self Controlled?
When you find your blood pressure rising and you want to scream, remember "The Fruit of the Spirit is Self Control".
When the line at the grocery is an hour long, remember "the fruit of the spirit is Patience".
When you feel the stress of life taking over, remember "the fruit of the Spirit is Peace".
I want to challenge you to cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit in your life this year.
Thank you for giving me the Fruit of the Spirit. Speak to my heart Lord and convict my spirit of the areas in which I am not bearing good fruit. Help me Lord, to always be mindful of "Fruit Inspectors" who are searching for something to put their faith in and grow me so that the fruit my life bears draws them to YOU. Father God, I want my life to be good and pleasing to you. Give me the courage to inspect my own fruit and honestly evaluate the fruit my heart bears. Where I am lacking and weak, I ask that you strengthen me. Guide me and direct my path so that I am constantly drawn closer to you. Create in me a hunger and thirst for your Word so that it will water and fertilize the fruit that is mine through the Holy Spirit.
Until next week!
"For Ladies Only" is the ladies ministry of Pearson Baptist Church in Pearl Mississippi.