As a follower of Jesus, we have within us the capacity to act in ways we would never be able to act on our own. When we accept Christ into our lives, the Holy Spirit fills us with the Fruit of the Spirit. We are filled with the ability to act with love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) But notice, this is not a plural fruits, but fruit, not just one of these qualities but all these qualities reside within us with the help of the Holy Spirit.
As a believer, I am amazed that I am filled with all, not just one quality, and that I have the capacity to live out life with each fruit as the power of the Holy Spirit is alive in my life. Each one is a gift by themselves, but a powerful gift to have all of these gifts from our Lord to help me be a witness to His deep-seated love. (Acts 1:8) As I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve gained a new awareness and respect for the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Singularly, it seems for me, some of the Fruit of the Spirit are easier to live out than others. I feel as if I don’t readily display all the gifts at the same time. There are days when I find it harder to love or be patient, yet find it easy to still act with kindness. Some days I tend to simply be frustrated with either myself or others and simply want to avoid interactions knowing I’m not in the mood to be loving or patient. In most cases, God graciously reminds me of His love and patience for me and when I allow the Holy Spirit to lead, it becomes easier to be a witness for Christ. The grace of God fills the gap where I am unable to do for myself, with more positive outcomes than if I tried to act under my own power.
When we live by the Spirit, walking in step with HIm, with our eyes fixed on Jesus and our ears tuned to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, then we are able to act in love. And out of the love we have in Christ, the remaining fruit is easily displayed in our lives.
My devotional this week has been centered around Psalm 107, and in it, I read of God’s unfailing and enduring love. That He alone is my haven in the storm. God must have known I needed a reminder this week of His faithfulness, His love for me, and His presence in the highs and lows of recovery. For in my recovery, my mind still tends to get fixated on the slow progress and not on the faithfulness of God to see me through. I can fix upon the lack of progress and forget how far I’ve already come.
As I sit in the sun this afternoon and write this(ok I wrote this on Monday), I wanted to share with you the importance of extending love to those around you. Tuesday’s are almost always my most difficult days as I go without dialysis for 2 1/2 days. I am sick to my stomach, swollen, and exhausted. The day seems bleak and my mood discouraged. Yet God is there. Last week on Tuesday as I went to serve at MOPS, God blessed me with a reminder of His love through a friend. She humbly exhibits the Fruit of the Spirit in the way she speaks, acts and extends love. She is a quilter and God placed it upon here heart to extend to me a gift of love in a beautiful quilt. Not only had she been listening to God as to whom the quilt should go to, but she listened to me over the last few weeks and knew I was always cold and that strawberries are a fruit I can eat. The quilt is backed in a strawberry fabric and the stitching is made of hearts, and it’s quilted in my favorite colors. It is beautiful. An expression of her love for Jesus, her love for me and the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit within. This quilt made me feel completely wrapped in the love of Christ that day. It still brings tears to my eyes that I am so loved by my heavenly Father and by my friend.
We love because Christ first loved us. We can love because He has shown us the way. It’s certainly not easy to love those around us all the time, but, because of the Holy Spirit within, we are empowered to love in new and amazing ways. Not in our strength, but in His power.
Are you in need of the love of Jesus today? Imagine Him at your side, His arms around your shoulders, His ears tuned to your heart. Share with HIm what is weighing upon you today and experience His unfailing love. Take a moment and open your bible to Psalm 107, read it through and notice the ending. “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.” (verse 43) Think back and remember the love of Jesus for you. Lift your eyes from your circumstances and look to the Lord. Start a blessing jar to keep track of what some call God sightings in your life, if you are having trouble remembering or seeing His hand working in your life, talk to a trusted friend, find a mentor, or simply get on your knees and ask Jesus to open your eyes to see HIm at work around you.