Lately there have been two running themes in my life: Patience, and Love….and the fact that I am lacking in both.
I’ve been going through Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself, a study on the fruit of the Spirit, with my mother in-law’s bible study group for the past month or so, and let me tell you, I have found myself challenged!
It seems like whenever we are trying to practice the Word of God we come into situations that just test us to the core of who we are and what we believe. And I think it’s both God, as well as the devil at work in those times…only satan is out to trip us, God is trying to grow us, and often reveal to us those really dark parts we didn’t know we had in us in order to get them out.
I ran into a particular situation not very long after I started the study; without going into all the details, there was a person that hurt someone very dear to me that kept popping up in my life. It sent a lot of feelings bubbling up in me. Feelings that I didn’t know I had in me. That was Dark encounter number one.
Encounter number two would come not too long after, testing my patience with life and its pace. Encounter three and four were right on its heels offering no break or breathing room.
And in all that I realized that God is sending some love stones at my head and trying to tell me something… I am not a very patient person. And, I am not as loving as I like to think. Those were harsh realizations to come to.
Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Now, if I am a child of God, and have the Holy Spirit dwelling within me, this is what I should be producing. Verse 16 says to “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh”, I know my fleshly desires lately do not line up with the fruit of the Spirit, and I have been carrying out those desires because I have not been surrendering myself and my emotions to Christ.
I want to love the way Jesus loves; I really want to be able to find compassion toward the people whom I dislike. I want to have patience with life and people, and know that God works together all things for good for those that love Him (Rom. 8:28)
In life there are going to be many people who you don’t want to love, many situations that are less than ideal, but they are all learning experiences. They are all opportunities to grow in Christ’s love.
Colossians 3:12 says “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”. We are a chosen people, and we are holy because God is holy and lives within us, we are not meant to hold such dark and filthy feeling in our hearts. The rotten fruit I have been producing is not of the Spirit I inherited from my Lord. It is not who I am. We are to be pure. That is something I could use lately, purity of the heart and mind. I could use new clothes, ones made of compassion and kindness. Clothes of patience and gentleness. Gosh, after all that is within me has been soaked in anger and selfishness, all I want is the clean clothes of righteousness.
“Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” – James 1:2-4
I am trying to be grateful for the hiccups and in life and realize that there are blessings because they give me a way to be closer to God if I so choose to surrender these situations to Him. I want to let Him sort though all those emotions with me and heal them the way I know no anger can do.
“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”. – Gal 5:22-23
Beth Moore sates in her study that the issue of spiritually rests on yielded-ness to the Holy Spirit, the deliberate choice to surrender the fleshly nature and walk in the Spirit of God. We have a choice to make everyday, we can let the fruit of the Spirit feel our hearts and minds and surrender to peace. Or we can dwell in our dark places and stay bound.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” – Gal 5:25
I want to know what it is like to walk in the fruits of my God, to really be love, joy gentleness, patience self control, goodness…I want to know the connection with God that comes with being so surrendered that I naturally produce those things in my daily life. It is something by no means do I have down yet, but I am trying, and thankfully our sweet Lord’s mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23), and His grace is sufficient for all our needs (2 Cor. 12:9). I’m finally learning to trust Him in that 🙂