In high school, I remember going to church one Sunday night and learning about the fruit (singular) of the Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Before that I had always viewed it as a plural fruits, each quality was a separate thing I had to work on. That Bible lesson opened my eyes and caused me to completely change my views on what it means to be growing in the Holy Spirit. Basically, I learned that when we ask God to make this fruit manifest in us and when we spend time in communion with Him, we won’t grow in only love and kindness without growing in the others. The more we grow in the Holy Spirit, the more we will grow in our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness AND self-control.
Because of that, I no longer pray for God to help me in my patience or to help me be more joyful. I now pray that God may strengthen me in the Holy Spirit to grow in the fruit of it. When I struggle in one area I will inevitably struggle in all the others, because they are so interconnected and woven together through the Holy Spirit.
That being said, I was reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan this morning and something really jumped out at me. In my Sunday School class we have been learning about different religions, what they believe, how that differs from what I believe, and how we can share Christ with them. I have enjoyed learning about them, because I have always been interested and intrigued by what other people believe, and Chan took this a step further.
We have been learning all about what these other religions believe, which is good, but can people tell there is something different in me than those who believe in lies? If I take the fruit of the Spirit, and ask myself if I possess them to a supernatural degree, what will the answer be? As Francis Chan said, “Do you exhibit more kindness and faithfulness than the Mormons you know? Do you have more self-control than your Muslim friends? More peace than Buddhists? More joy than atheists? If GOD truly lives in you, shouldn’t you expect to be different from everyone else?”
That really made me think. And I hope it makes you think too. My prayer today is that we may live our lives in such a way that when people see what we do, they say “Your Lord- He is God!” (1 Kings 18). I pray that no glory be given to me, but that all glory be given to Him.