I used to be just one computer glitch or traffic jam away from pulling my hair out…I wondered, Where is my patience? At the end of too many days, I would have a bowl of Blue Bell ice cream—though I wasn’t training for a marathon—I never needed the calories! I wondered, Where is my self-control? I spent time struggling to keep a good attitude because things didn’t go according to my plans. I wondered, Where is my joy?
The “Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). I used to chase the Fruit of the Spirit, rather than the Spirit. I always fell short. This led to discouragement and despair, and with good reason: we were not made to do life on our own (Genesis 2:18)
As Paul reminds us “None is righteous, no, not one…no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10, 12). In fact, Christ says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in [your] weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9) and Paul agrees, saying “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). Knowing our weakness, drives us to Jesus.
The Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:37-20) tells us what it looks like when you love God above everything else: loving God, enables you to love your neighbor as yourself (v. 39). We simply are not able to love anyone at all, without God. And loving others comes most easily when the Spirit brings the other Fruits to the party (joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).
I used to chase the Fruit of the Spirit, rather than the Spirit. I learned, the hard way, that He was right all along. I can’t do anything good without Him! God’s nearness to me is my good (Psalm 73:28).
He is good for us, and to us. He is Worthy…worthy to receive praise and honor and glory (Rev 4:11)…and worthy of our love. And loving Him, enables us to love others.
I am a total work in progress. But now I see purpose in my messy process.
When I make mistakes, I repent and reconcile as needed. It helps when I remember how small I am and how weak I am. Because in spite of the fact that I bring nothing to the table, the Lord is constant in His steadfast, faithful love for me. This love of His is the difference maker. This Spirit of His is the change agent. He is fully committed to bring me to my After, to conform me to His image.