The sun finally decided to come out and say hello today, and I have to say, it was nice to see him. Even now, I am enjoying his presence through my open window. Everything around me is all pretty and golden, and my back is being warmed nicely.
On my way to class today, I ate a delicious apple, which hasn't happened in a while. Lately, I've been disappointed with the kind that appear good, only to discover a soggy inside; but this one today did not disappoint. It was red, as red could be, and juicy as ever. You know what I'm talking about. The kind that you're convinced came straight out of the movie, Snow White. The kind that probably populated the Garden of Eden, before the fall. That kind. And so you bite and bite and bite, until there is nothing left but the core. yum. Speaking of apples, that makes for a smooth transition into what I actually wanted to write about today, which is the fruit of the Spirit. Imagine that.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26
I am silly and arrogant enough to try and produce this fruit by myself sometimes, even though it is blatantly the work of the Spirit. Hence the phrase... the fruit of the Spirit. Couldn't be any clearer, huh? Still though, I try to love people, and be joyful, and live peacefully, and be kind, and show goodness, and remain faithful, and be gentle, and practice self-control in my own strength. These attempts are pathetic though, and result in - defeat, disappointment, and guilt, (and usually in that order). In other words, I fail miserably when I try to do these things on my own. My tree is bare and fruitless. I look like winter.
But that is not how God intended it. No, rather He, in His grace, gave me His Spirit when He saved me. And it is His Spirit at work in me that produces the fruit. It is nothing in me or about me that can do it. It is the Spirit, that raised Jesus from the dead, residing within me, that can do it. I am so glad God has shown this to me lately. I can breathe a hUGE sigh of relief. To rely on the power of God, and to keep in step with the Spirit, that is what I am called to... and then, and only then, I can watch the fruit grow and multiply into beautiful orchards. It looks like summer, and God gets all the glory.
P.S. That is why verse twenty-six tells not to be conceited or envious of one-another. I used to think that that verse was sort-of awkwardly tagged onto the end of this chapter. I mean... really? c'mon! How is that relevant to the fruit of the Spirit. Well, come to see, it is totally relevant. The reason we can avoid conceit and envy is precisely because it is the fruit of the Spirit. How can we be proud when we realize that we have nothing to do with the fruit, because it is the Spirit of God who produces it? And how can we be jealous of another, when it is the Spirit working in another's life to make them more like Christ? Conclusion: we should be humble (and not think of ourselves more highly than we ought), and excited (giving thanks to God for another's faith).