Craving the fruits of the Spirit? Here's what to consider.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” - Galatians 5:22
Ariana Grande. That’s the artist whose songs were in my head as I sat down in my chair to have my quiet time at 6:15 am yesterday (but really 5:15 am because time change, you’re a mean one.)
While a catchy song playing in the background of my mind while reading my Bible doesn’t sound like a big deal, for me it was confirmation of my disconnect with the Lord I’ve been feeling for the past three weeks. Due to the major life transition of moving 1,600 miles across country coupled with work events, car trouble, and the unexpected hiccups that can really throw off a control-freak like me who already doesn’t like change, my quiet time routine and overall faith has taken a backseat.
Once I settled in with my Bible and got control of my mind (and the music in my head) I started taking inventory. What was off in my heart? What was I lacking in my current state?
Peace - not being anxious or fearful of the ‘what ifs’ in the future.
Joy - being grateful and keeping that joyful energy throughout the day.
The list grew.
Patience - waiting for things to happen or run their course rather than rushing them.
Self-control - prioritizing tasks and doing what needs to be done.
Kindness - not biting in response to my husband or loved ones in times of stress.
Sound familiar? The characteristics I was noticeably missing are some of the key fruits we embody when we walk by the Spirit as referenced in Galatians chapter 5 verse 22. While I could try, attempting to muster up the means necessary to embody these characteristics on my own would leave me coming up short. If I want the fruit of the Spirit, I need the presence of the Lord, to walk and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
But what does walking with the Spirit look like? While quiet time routines are definitely a part of it, it’s not a box you can check and consider yourself good for the day. Walking with the Spirit means not only being in communication with the Lord in the morning and throughout our days but actively denying or refusing the desires of our flesh.
Our flesh, or, the pleasures in life that aren’t productive for our growth to be more like Jesus, can make us believe the lie that they’re not a big deal, when in fact they’re taking root and suffocating our faith like weeds to a healthy plant.
When the temptation comes up to take part in something we know is not productive, we have to choose to slow down long enough to ask the Spirit for guidance. Because slowing down is usually the issue, right? If we were to stop and ask God if things like gossiping about our co-worker or binge eating to try and seek control were the right decisions, we probably wouldn’t do them. But when our flesh yells “don’t slow down. Just do it and don’t think about it,” it’s hard to stop and consider the ramifications for our actions.
But here’s the hopeful part. We don’t have to WISH for the Holy Spirit to fill us, because if we’re in Christ, we’re already filled. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice and the gift of the Holy Spirit, you and I are not held captive by the sin and desires of the flesh that so easily entangle us. We can call upon the Spirit for strength and wisdom at any time. We don’t have to let the desires of our flesh grow like weeds in our heart. When we trust the Lord with those weeds and allow Him to point them out, He’ll help us prune them which will allow His Spirit to flourish in us.
As I closed my Bible and the book of Galatians yesterday, I felt freedom knowing I don’t have to find enough strength to bear the fruits of the Spirit alone or take control of my life. No matter what we’re dealing with in life, we can ask the Lord for His help in removing the sin that's hindering our walk and trust that His way is always better.
Challenge: Are you feeling depleted of the fruits of the Spirit today? Pray and ask for the Lord to point out and help you prune the weeds in your heart that are affecting your faith walk.