For the fruit of the Spirit is.......? Galatians 5:22
This season has been a difficult one for me. I have had some major situations to adjust to, both in my family and in my personal life. So many things have come at once that my natural and immediate reaction has been to worry. Not just passing concerns and thoughts, but gut wrenching, stomach churning anxiety that won't let go. To be honest, I can only remember one other occasion in my life when this was a daily battle for me, and that particular season took a few years to pass. When these emotions and situations continue for months and possibly years, it causes one to reflect more and more deeply on what God is doing and what is the important thing going on here! “God, what are You saying and doing?”, is probably a question that we all often ask ourselves, and Him!
So, I am beginning to see something emerging out of the mist of trial and difficulty. Obvious, perhaps. Seemingly unrelated to my particular trials, but nevertheless there. The first is that God wants wholeheartedly that we flourish. I don't want to analyse that word. We all know what it means to flourish! The stark difference between a plant that is flourishing and one that is not is plain to see. A few days ago I stumbled upon Joseph Prince on TBN channel and my first inclination was to switch channel. But there he was talking about worry and I felt that familiar sense of God speaking. So I listened. He told the story of an occasion when his young daughter was very anxious about something and everything within him wanted to take the worry away, to reassure her. Later in prayer, he felt the Lord show him that his own desire for his daughter to be free from concern was just a reflection of the Father's heart toward us, that He longs for us to be free. It stems from LOVE. And there I was, in the back of my mind believing that God was standing back watching me worry and getting angrier by the day! Have you ever heard a preacher announce that worry is a sin? I have. That's enough to make you worry! God wants to take worry from us, not because it's on a list of sins, but because he wants us to flourish, and it's well nigh impossible to flourish if you are in a constant state of anxiety.
And my other train of thought is somehow mixed with this idea of God wanting the best for us. What about these; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Galatians 5:22. Is this a list of commands that we struggle to attain to? I don't believe so. If you have children, do you not hope and pray that they live with all these positives? What are the alternatives? Hate, misery, anxiety, irritability, harsh attitudes, evil etc. These fruits that Paul talks about are the signs of truly being filled with the Spirit. Having experiences of the Spirit's power is amazing and wonderful, and can indeed be life changing, but what is even more beneficial and important for us is to be growing and displaying all the fruits that only He can give. The fruits of the SPIRIT. These are the fruits of flourishing, not of attainment. These are HIS fruits and come from abiding in Him.
I hope that I am learning this lesson! Writing this blog is an effort to push the lesson deeper. Now, when facing a difficult situation, I pray through the fruits of the Spirit and ask that He will come and make them grow and be visible to myself and others.