I do not know much about farming…since I have never been a farmer nor owned a farm or lived on a farm. My Grandpa had land in Oklahoma where he raised bulls so I guess you could say he had a bull-sh*t farm and there were always cowpies in the field…but I digress.
I do love the fall…in fact, it is my favorite time of year. The beautiful leaves becoming orange, yellow, and red. The weather cooling off with cool nights and warm days. And the decrease in forest fires out west. Can you guess which state has had the most fires so far…Idaho.
And then there is the return of American football and since I live in Columbus Ohio where the University of Ohio State is located the Buckeye fans are going nuts. There really are people here that I think bleeds scarlet and grey and things get even crazier as the game with that state up north (Michigan) draws closer this fall.
And then there is the tradition of Thanksgiving when, if possible, families gather to celebrate the harvest and the blessings God has given to us. A golden-brown turkey stuffed with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy…and oh my…the pumpkin and pecan pies. Plus, a glorious nap on the sofa while the Cowboys are playing Detroit. I feel full just thinking about it.
But what about your harvest…your personal spiritual harvest. If you do not know what I am talking about there should be a harvest of the personal growth you have experienced over the year. In fact, we are even told of the “fruit of the Spirit” that should be developing in us and all of our relationships.
If you were to honestly judge yourself, do you see more fruit of the Spirit in your life and impacting your relationships with others? Perhaps you are not even aware that the Holy Spirit of God, who dwells in your body will begin to change you on the inside which shows up in your words and actions.
Fruit trees produce fruit slowly. If they have the rich enough soil they need with sunshine and water, then gradually flowers appear, and when the petals fall a tiny piece of fruit is there. And if the conditions remain good the fruit grows and ripens just waiting for your teeth to bite into it and give you a burst of natural sugar.
The fruit of the Spirit develops and grows that way as well. They develop slowly and with time and consistency, our words and behaviors begin to reveal that we are becoming better people…more Christ-like people.
So, what are the types of fruit the Spirit can add to your life? We are told in Galatians 5 that there are 9 of them and I think we can all agree that these 9 characteristics would be a great addition to help us be the people we want to be. Here they are…
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”
Look at that list of fruit. Read through it slowly thinking about what each word means and how having it in your life would make things better.
For example. what if you were more loving? How would that impact your relationships? Your wife would like that don’t you think? Instead of saying those little things that you know piss her off or make her feel bad about herself…you show her your love by your actions first and then your words.
And oh, by the way, that order is critical. As my wife told me at the beginning of our recovery my words meant nothing…it was my actions that showed her I was serious and that I loved her.
So, even though you may be struggling to show love to others…what if the Spirit inside of you began to change the person you are on the inside into a loving and more Christ-like person? That fruit is huge for becoming the person God and everyone else wants you to be.
How about the fruit of joy? I have noticed that the level of joy I am feeling depends on where I have been in my mind and in my life. Certainly, over the past 2 years, there have been plenty of things to be angry about. If you are watching hours of news, you might be seriously depressed or filled with anxiety because of all the stress we are all under.
And trying to balance that out with a few sitcoms or Saturday Night Lives are not going to help. Not joy in the sense of laughing at something funny. Laughter is very good for all of us, but it is a spontaneous response to something we see that is funny. Joy is so much more. It is having a sense that you are OK with the way things are in your life… and here is the key to that…be a person who expresses thanksgiving for all who God is and all He has done for you.
Lastly, how about peace? The third fruit of the Spirit is peace. We tend to see peace as something we might have if everything is going our way. But when was the last time…if ever…that everything is going your way? We may have peace with God through the finished work of Christ on our behalf. But what about peace in your family, peace with your spouse, your boss, your parents, and your neighbor?
Those three fruits of the Spirit…LOVE, JOY, AND PEACE are certain things that I want more of in my life. And the key to having the Spirit begin to develop His fruit in our lives is for us to be being filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit every day.
I highly recommend you join me in asking the Spirit to fill us and influence us as we are walking through whatever our day holds. There are things I can only fake for a while before the mask falls and I explode. With the fruit, there does not need to be a mask because the Spirit is making you more loving, joyful, and at peace.
Tomorrow the next 3…