Do you ever wonder, why the fruit of the Spirit is not more evident in your life? I do!
Galatians 5:22 – The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I don’t know about you, but there are days when I wonder why in the world I’m not more patient. Why do I lack self-control? Where is my fruit of the Holy Spirit?
On Tuesday night, my daughter came to me with a complaint. Her body language said, “I’m mad at you and I’m ready for a fight.” Unfortunately, I was ready for a fight too. As we’re arguing, I know this isn’t going to end well. I know that I’m not handling it well and yet I don’t stop trying to get my point across. As we end on a lose-lose note, I think to myself, “what is WRONG with you? Where was the fruit of the Spirit in that?” I spent the next couple of hours emotionally beating myself up, feeling like a failure, until I finally went to bed well after midnight.
Wednesday, I woke up with clarity and godly remorse. I called my daughter in and apologized for not handling the situation with love and grace and asked for her forgiveness. We talked and prayed. We both agreed that we weren’t going to let one ugly argument define our relationship or us. Today is a new day and in reality we both know that we like and love each other deeply and we’re going to learn from this and do better in the future.
But to be honest… I did not have peace with all that had transpired. I tend to have a super high bar for my role as a mother (topic for another blog). I spent the day a little raw.
Thankfully, Wednesday night is my date night with Jesus… we go dancing. 🙂 It’s something new I started in 2018. It’s called Praise in Motion. It’s part bible study, part devotional, part exercise/dance and part meditation. For me it is an experience that nourishes mind/body/spirit and fills me up for the whole week.
During PIM that day I was lying on my mat and enjoying my intimate time with Jesus and I raised my hands and said, “Here I am.” At that moment the fruits of the Spirit began to run through my mind. My hands started burning with the Holy Spirit and I thought, “Yes Lord, I want more.” “More” is the word that God keeps bringing back to me this year (topic for yet another blog.)
As I left that night, I asked God and myself, “HOW? How do I get more of the fruit of the Spirit?” I realized that the fruit of the Spirit is not something that’s downloaded and you’re just miraculously more gentle, more patient, etc. The fruit of the Spirit comes from responding by the power of the Spirit rather than by the desire of the flesh. Let me say that again, in case you missed it… The fruit of the Spirit comes from responding by the power of the Spirit rather than by the desire of the flesh. (In the case of my daughter, my desire was to be right and to have power… it’s really just pride.)
That led to my next question. How in the world do I respond in the power of the Spirit when I can feel the desire of the flesh rising up? As soon as I asked the Lord that question, I was reminded of a moment that I wrote about in the book, UpperDogs; a time when I came under attack and I felt this heat rise up in me. It was like I was boiling just under the surface. At that moment, I cried out to God. I prayed, “God, I need you right now. I know that if I respond from my flesh this is not going to be pretty or productive.” I pleaded with God and the Holy Spirit to take charge, to lead me and give me words. You’ll never believe what happened. I handled the situation with peace, patience, self-control, etc. To be honest I wasn’t as gentle as I could have been, but I think I was exactly what I needed to be in the moment. God used that moment. That memory reminded me that it’s really not that difficult, all we need to do is ask for help. “Ask and it will be given to you,” Matthew 7:7. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead. In John 16:7 Jesus said, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you.” We have an amazing gift in the Holy Spirit. I, for one, want to live by the Spirit!
So friends, let’s try this together. Let’s practice letting the Holy Spirit do his job and coach us. I honestly think it is as simple as asking for help, submitting to the Spirit’s lead and then we will truly see the evidence of the Holy Spirit through the Fruit of the Spirit.
We’d love to hear how God leads you.