Then last night, I was reading the first three chapters of the book of Genesis. (I am reading the Bible along with my dear blog friend Wendy and many others). And there was fruit again. This apple is a different kind of fruit as it was the fruit that they were told not to eat. What caught my attention last night (and I don't recall ever having caught my attention before that) was how the fruit in the book of Genesis is a foreshadowing of the fruits of the Spirit that we hear about in the book of Galatians. What if Eve had restrained self-control and didn't eat of the tree? What if they had been faithful to God's words to them?
"By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against such things."--Galatians 5:22-23 (New Revised Standard Version)
So often it seems that life gets in the way and we forget about these fruits of the Spirit. It is so easy for us to get greedy and totally throw self-control out the window. It is easy for impatience to creep in. I will admit that there are some days that I am more guilty of being impatient than I am of being patient. And it is easy for us to say we hate something or someone.But do we really mean those words? Or do we dislike--Hate is such a strong word-- the sin and not the sinner?
I want to be a person that embodies the fruits of the Spirit. I want to show kindness to those that are different to me. I want to be gentle with myself and with all of God's children. I want to exude joy...like children exude joy. I want to steward what God has given me and to be generous with my time, talents, and treasures. I want to show love to even the unlikeliest among us. Jesus was so good at that. Jesus was always eating with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus was always turning the world upside down!
This past week, in the news headlines, many of us have heard the story of Bruce Jenner transitioning to a woman; to becoming Caitlyn Jenner. I understand that we are all going to come down on different sides of this issue. But I believe that even in our differences, we can agree to disagree and simply show God's love to God's children. I remember a seminary professor once saying, "When a line is drawn in the sand dividing sides and you believe Jesus is standing next to you, he is probably on the other side of the line." We may not agree or understand the choices people make, but I believe God stills calls all of us "children of God." And that my friends is enough because we are called and claimed by God!
The youngest of God's children among us can teach us so much when it comes to living out the fruits of the spirit. I am reminded of a friend's Facebook post from earlier this week. She shared about her son who is currently in a dance class. As they were getting ready for a big dance show, her son mentioned how he thought a lot of boys would be afraid to participate because they would be afraid of being made fun of. Her son then went on to share how he didn't care because he likes doing this and was having so much fun! "And a little child shall lead them."
God loves us! And when we forget who we are, God reminds us of who we are because God knows our stories. God knows who we are. And God will always be there to remind us of that. I am reminded of these lyrics from Jason Gray's Song "Remind Me Who I Am." "Tell me once again who I am to you, tell me lest I forget who I am to you, that I belong to you; When my heart is like a stone and I am running far from home, remind me who I am; When I can't receive your love, afraid I'll never be enough, remind me who I am; If I am your beloved, can you help me believe it." (
Jason Gray Lyrics)
Can you help me believe it? Those words are so powerful because it is so easy for us to forget those words. But the truth is that God has the power and the love to always help us believe them. Because we are enough! God created us to be who we are and God's spirit gifts us with the fruits of the Spirit.
I love how the Message translation translates these verses from the book of Galatians. "But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard--things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely." (Galatians 5:22-23) YES! AMEN! I believe these words are words for us to live by as we live out the fruits of the Spirit that God's Spirit gifts us with!
(Check this out for a fun way to learn the fruits of the Spirit: Fruit of the Spirit by Uncle Charlie)
Today I am linking up with Holly for Testimony Tuesday, Kelly for the RaRa Linkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee for Tell His Story, and Holley Gerth for Coffee for your Heart: