Category: God & Life

Fear Itself

One of the greatest and most important lessons that I’ve learned over the past year or so has been about fear. Before I found my current church and met the people there, I never realized just how powerful fear—and it’s opposite, faith—can be. If I were to choose the three most valuable things that God has shown me throughout my life so far, the first would be that believing in him is both logical and reasonable; the second would be that doubt is not only okay, but necessary to faith; and the third would be that faith and fear are both choices, and my choices in this area will define my life.

The Bible tells us a lot about faith and fear. It tells us that while we are living in this world, we are a part of an unseen war between the powers of goodness and darkness. As much as that may sound like the tagline for a modern sci-fi novel, the truth is that this plotline was originally introduced in the Bible, and it continues to be the reality of life today. As you might guess, God is the King on the side of goodness, and the devil (AKA the enemy) is the evil force on the side of darkness. Whether or not we recognize it, the war is raging on, and both sides have their own weapons of mass destruction. Fear is what the enemy uses to capture his prisoners, and faith in God is what we use to fight back.

I’ve become more and more aware of this spiritual warfare over the past year, and especially recently. I recognize these themes in many other places as well. A little while ago, I was watching the movie After Earth and I couldn’t help but notice how strongly this idea is portrayed. The premise of the movie, set in the future, is that humans have been forced to abandon Earth and live on a planet called Nova Prime, where they face new dangers in the form of alien attacks. The aliens use a type of monster called an Ursa as their main weapon; the Ursas are huge, nasty-looking creatures who locate and kill their human prey by smelling their fear. It is discovered that the soldiers can defeat the Ursas by eliminating their fear, a technique called “ghosting”; when they do so, they become invisible and can then kill the otherwise blind creatures.

One of the most memorable lines in the movie is when the main character explains to his son how he learned to ghost. He says: “Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed.”

There is so much truth in these lines. Fear comes from thinking about something bad happening in the future, whether the immediate future or sometime farther off. In both the movie and in reality, fear is very powerful; it allows the characters in the movie to be seen and killed by the enemy, and it allows us to be controlled and affected by our enemy. Yet the choice is ours. We can tell ourselves the story of bad things happening, thus giving the enemy power over us; or, we can tell ourselves the story of good things happening, believing for the best and refusing to let fear cloud our minds. This is the essence of faith. When we have faith instead of fear, we may not become invisible to our enemy, but we do become untouchable.

The power of faith comes directly from Jesus. The Bible says that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, dying on the cross to pay the price for all of humanity’s bad choices, we now have freedom. Colossians 1:13-14 says “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (NIV). It also says in Romans 10:10, “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (ESV). In other words, there is a “God part” and an “us part” to this process. Jesus died and rose again; with his blood, he covered us and made us perfect in God’s eyes, and with his victory over death, he gave us the ability to have victorious lives. In order to receive any of this, though, we have to believe it and confess it. God’s grace and our faith have to meet in order to see the power of God over the enemy in our lives.

Faith allows miracles to happen. The first miracle that faith brings is called salvation, when we accept Jesus and become a part of his kingdom forever. But faith is not just for saving our souls; it’s for saving our lives as well. In Matthew 9:29 Jesus said “according to your faith, let it be done to you.” In other words, we will see only as much good in our lives as we believe we will receive. The stories we tell ourselves are powerful indeed. We can have the abundant lives that Jesus came to give us, if we let faith rule and tell fear to take a hike.

Of course, faith is not easy most of the time. Sometimes, for me at least, it can feel downright naïve and unrealistic. For instance, does it really make sense to believe that I will not die prematurely and to refuse to fear death? The world tells me that I could die at any moment. But the Bible says “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 118:17 ESV). Which should I choose to believe? For me, the answer is God. If I let the enemy fill me with fear of dying, then I step out of God’s protection; it’s my choice. I can either listen to the story that God is telling me, or I can listen to the story that the devil is telling me. My choice will define my reality.

Ever since Cory and I lost our first baby, Sam, early in pregnancy, I’ve been struggling with fear about future pregnancies. The devil is trying to whisper things in my ear, and it has not always been easy to ignore that. Sometimes, it has felt extremely illogical to believe that I will never lose a baby again. A while ago, while talking to Cory about it, I said that I felt like God was asking me to stick my head in the sand and ignore reality. But then a thought occurred to me; why would I be afraid to “stick my head in the sand” if I knew that somebody was standing guard next to me? Perhaps trusting God sometimes feels like we are being foolish and ignoring reality, but maybe that’s okay. God is standing guard over us, and he is the most trustworthy and undefeatable guard imaginable. The truth is that trusting him often means we have to take control of our minds, pushing away thoughts that are not from God and filling them with his words instead. Some may call this ignorance, but it makes perfect sense when you believe in the power of fear and faith. I believe because of the clear results I’ve seen in my life.

My miscarriage was about more than just the one event making me sad; it was the enemy’s attempt to stop me from my future and block my trust in God. The enemy delights in bringing despair and ending lives prematurely, and I have no doubt that he was behind it. But I also believe that he did even more damage than it first appeared. If I had let him, he could have used this experience to fill me with fear about the future. Taken to the extreme, I may have never wanted to try to have a baby again, and my fear would have kept me from what I believe is one of the main purposes for my life, being a mother.

Unfortunately for the devil, I can see what he’s trying to do and I’m not falling for it. I believe what God tells me in the Bible: “He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 113:9 NLT). I have faith in God, and whenever fear tries to slip back in, I tell it to get lost. The victory is mine through Jesus if I’m willing to claim it.

It seems like FDR had a good point when he said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The lesser known second part of that sentence is equally wise: “—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Fear truly is an unreasoning force which keeps us from advancing forward. Fortunately, with faith, we truly have nothing to fear—not even fear itself. 

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 9

Anybody who has spent time reading the Bible probably knows that it’s full of uplifting stories and verses, helpful wisdom and guidance, and overall, the beautiful promise of hope through Jesus. But there are also some pretty strange things in there. One story that I always used to think was weird is about Jesus cursing a fig tree. As told in the book of Mark, it goes like this:

 

The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.

Mark 11:12-14 (NLT)

The story continues a few verses later:

The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

Mark 11:20-25 (NLT)

 

What on earth is that all about? Aside from the basic strangeness of Jesus cursing a tree, it doesn’t really seem fair. As the verse clearly states, it was too early in the season for fruit. So why was Jesus so angry about it having no fruit? And when his disciple made a comment about it, why did he seem to change the subject instead of explaining his reasoning? At first, I was stumped. So I did a little bit of research, and I discovered that apparently, fig trees (at least in this area and at this time in history) would produce fruit first and leaves afterward. In other words, a fig tree “in full leaf” would be expected to have fruit, despite being out of season. Jesus was clearly disapproving of this poser fig tree, displaying its leaves proudly without having any fruit to show for it. And like all of Jesus’ parables, he told this one with a deeper meaning in mind.

My interpretation is that the tree was a symbol for people who call themselves Christians but have nothing to show for it. Many people decide to accept that Jesus died for them (which is a miracle in itself!), but sadly they stop there. They don’t continue to seek God and pursue his will for their lives. They have the leaves— their salvation through Jesus and the title of “Christian,” and perhaps even regular church attendance— but they aren’t bearing fruit. Their faith isn’t continuing to grow and their lives don’t show Jesus’ love to others. The Fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—are nowhere to be found in the lives of these Christians. They are the fruitless fig trees.

This same story is told again, slightly differently, in the book of Matthew. Here, Jesus makes it clear that there is a vital connection between bearing fruit (literally for the tree, and figuratively for his followers) and faith:

 

Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Matthew 21:18-22 (NIV)

 

At first it may seem like Jesus is avoiding the question and changing the subject. But this is simply Jesus’ way of teaching his disciples. Often in the Bible he performs a miracle, and then gives a mini-speech about a seemingly unrelated, but important, concept. In reality, though, the two things are intricately related. We can see how that’s true in this case. Jesus is showing us that when we call ourselves his followers without bearing fruit (think of the fruits of the spirit), we are not living up to our full potential and we cannot be useful to him. That’s not to say that that he’s going to take back our salvation (he never will) or that he’s going to curse us; it just means that we won’t get to see the full extent of what he wants to do in and through our lives. We won’t get to feed hungry people with our delicious fruit. Instead, we’ll just be leafy and useless.

When we have faith, however, and continuously pursue Jesus, we can bear much fruit. We can live abundant lives with bodies that are whole and healed, families that are safe and provided for, and a passion for living and loving with Jesus by our sides.

This is God’s vision for our lives, presented in this passage in the book of John:

 

(Jesus is speaking)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

John 15:5-8 (NIV)

 

Our fruitful and abundant lives are not only a gift from God, they are designed for his glory. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; as followers of Jesus, we should be better. We should have better lives, and we should be doing more good in the world, compared to all of the non-believers out there. That should be how the world identifies us— by our fruitfulness. That fruitfulness comes naturally when we seek God and allow him to change us.

The fruitful life is a life full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It’s a life lived in complete surrender to God, trusting him to take care of your every need. It’s a life in which we see the desires of our heart become reality, because we follow an amazing, loving God who promises to give us all of this and more. And ultimately, it’s a life lived for the glory of God. That is the kind of life that I want, and Jesus is bringing me into it step by step, every day.

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 8

I’ve recently resigned myself to the fact that my life is busy, and blogging is a pastime that I will do when I have time. Sometimes (like for the past several months) that means I’ll be lucky to post once a month. Other times (hopefully) I’ll be able to post as frequently as I’d like to, and that would be at least once every week. For now though, I’m just going to do what I can and not worry about it. So even though this series has taken me an exceptionally long time to get through, I’m pressing on! Today, I’m continuing with the second-to-last post, on the final two fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

 

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

-Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

 

Gentleness and self-control are very intertwined for me. I have a slight anger problem that usually comes out over very stupid things. My computer not working properly, or my cat meowing incessantly at me as I’m trying to do my homework, or accidentally injuring myself have all been causes of disproportionally angry outbursts. I’ve recently come to understand that my anger, which stems from frustration, is actually a result of me feeling out of control. For some reason, I get ticked off when I feel like things aren’t working according to my plan. As a result of feeling out of control, I lose my self-control. I’ve realized that whenever I feel frustrated and angry at something, all I have to do is tell myself “you don’t have to control that” and I feel better pretty much instantly. It’s weird, but it works for me.

In my experience, gentleness goes out the window when anger takes over, and anger takes over when self-control goes out the window. And interestingly enough, I’ve noticed that for me, self-control goes out the window when I try to control things outside of myself. Perhaps that’s because when I try to control everything and fail, I give up on controlling anything at all. It’s a fascinating little cycle. I’ve found that the solution, at least in my humble experience, is to stop trying to control things outside of myself. And really, the only way I can feel at peace with doing that is by trusting God. So like so many other problems in life, it all comes down to letting go and trusting God.

The virtues of gentleness and self-control are so important when it comes to a Christian’s job of pointing others to Jesus. It’s a sad truth that many of us frequently forget to be gentle when we tell people about God. Perhaps we forget that it’s not our job to convince people to love God or change their minds and hearts; it’s only our job to love them like Jesus. When we try to control other people and realize that we can’t, we begin to feel frustrated and angry, and our gentleness disintegrates. We desperately try to force them into compliance with our beliefs. Yet this passage in the Bible is a small reminder that gentleness should be a natural result of the Holy Spirit working through us, as believers. Forcefulness is not God’s way.

Self-control is also important when it comes to how we live our lives. Christians are supposed to be examples to the world of a life lived with God. My pastor once said that as believers, we should be “better” at whatever we do. Better spouses, better parents, better writers or computer programmers or students or fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-you-do’ers. We should have better lives, lives that prosper because that’s a big part of what God has to offer for those who believe in him and trust him. Although many of those things are out of our control (which is where trusting and relying on God comes in) there are certainly areas of our lives that are directly affected by our behavior. We are responsible for our own actions.

Think about the way that a child’s behavior reflects on his or her parents. Since even the greatest parents cannot control a child’s free will, this often isn’t fair, but it is still how the world seems to work. Like it or not, people judge a misbehaving child’s parents. The same is true with God. The way that we, as children of God, behave reflects either positively or negatively on our Heavenly Father. Followers of Christ have a great need for self-control, because we are representatives for a perfect and Holy God. Obviously, we cannot be perfect or Holy the way that God can, but having strong self-control can go a long way. Like all of the fruits of the spirit, the good news is that God will do a lot of the work in this area for us. Our main job is to surrender to God’s will in our lives, and let him change our hearts to make us more like him. He gives us supernatural self-control, which allows us to better represent him to the world.

The more time I spend on this Earth, the more I see that trusting God is the key to life. We can trust God to take care of us, to make us into the people we are meant to be, and to be faithful to his promises. In trusting God, we must learn to let go. When we let go of the things that we can’t control, we only have to concern ourselves with the things we can control; our own thoughts and actions. Although controlling our thoughts and actions is not always easy, we can do it with God’s help. This process of letting go and taking responsibility for ourselves brings peace. And when our hearts are filled with peace, then we can be the gentle, quietly strong people that we were designed to be. We find victory when we relinquish our lives to the Lord, training our thoughts on him, basing our decisions on his guidance, and letting Him do the rest.

 

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.

Psalm 62:1

 

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 7

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

-Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

 

These last few months, I’ve learned a lot about faith. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had my ups and downs with my beliefs. At times, I have felt so certain of God and secure in my understanding of Him; at other times, my doubts and confusion have grown to the point of nearly swallowing me. There have been points in my life where I almost gave up on God and decided that He wasn’t real. But there have also been great times in my life where I’ve felt God’s presence in unmistakable ways. My spiritual journey reached a major turning point about eight months ago, when my husband and I finally found a church that we felt was right for us in our new city.

Since we’ve been a part of Passion Life Church, we’ve learned some amazing things about God. I’ve found mentors who have helped me through some of my struggles in faith. I’ve found friends who encourage me and pray with and for me. Because of this community, or more accurately, because of what God is doing through this community, I am the strongest I have ever been, faith-wise. Yet the biggest growth of all has been within the last few months and weeks, after experiencing the tragedy of miscarriage. My faith was tested almost to the breaking point when that happened. I thank God that I have been blessed with a faith-filled church family, who helped me to work through the pain and actually learn to trust God more because of it.

Now that I’m ready to get back to writing more regularly, I want to finish my series on the fruit of the spirit. The seventh fruit, faithfulness, just so happens to be one thing I’ve learned a lot about recently and I am eager to share my thoughts.

To be faithful means to be loyal, constant, and steadfast, or to have a strong belief in something or someone. As a fruit of the spirit, it means that as we walk through our lives with God, his Holy Spirit develops greater and greater faith in us. We start off as spiritual babies, believing Him for our salvation but perhaps not much else. As we grow, we discover that we can trust in God for many other things. We may become more attuned to the Holy Spirit and aware of the spiritual warfare going on around us. Then, we can learn to fight using our faith.

My biggest struggle after losing my baby was this question: Why would I trust God, or have faith in him, if he lets bad things like this happen? If this was his will, then how could he really be a good God? People would say things like “God must have known there was something wrong with the baby, so it was really a blessing in disguise that he didn’t give you a sick child.” I found that so ridiculous, because that’s just replacing one bad thing with another. Instead of being sad about having a miscarriage, I was supposed to be relieved about my baby being sick in the first place? That didn’t make sense to me. The most confusing part was the idea that God somehow wanted me to have a miscarriage. How could a good God do that? Why not just keep me from becoming pregnant in the first place?

My breakthrough came when I realized that it wasn’t God’s will. It definitely was the enemy’s will, though. And unfortunately, he won that battle. It seems a little short-sighted to me, seeing as my baby is now in Heaven and well out of his reach, but I guess he was just happy to make me and Cory so sad for a while. What he didn’t realize was that we’d come back stronger, ready to fight. Now that we understand things a little better, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Being faithful means that I am loyal to God and his will. I read his word and go to church so that I can learn more about his character and his will for my life. I fight against my own thoughts and ideas that I realize are contrary to God. I gently but firmly assert that the truth is the truth; that God’s character is love, that what the Bible says is reality, and that Jesus is the only way to God. Sometimes, people don’t like to hear those things, and in those cases, I back off but never back down from what I believe. I am loyal to God, and I’m determined to keep it that way.

Being faithful also means that I’m constant and steadfast. I believe that we are in a spiritual war, with the enemy constantly trying to “steal, kill, and destroy” as the Bible says in John 10:10. If I’m not vigilant in the fight, then he has more opportunities to get his way. But when I’m steadfast in my beliefs and constant in proclaiming God’s power and promises over myself and my family, then I win, because God wins. Cory and I have what are called “confessions” that we read each day. They’re not the Catholic kind of confessions, though, in which we confess our sins. Instead, they’re basically promises from the Bible and other things that we believe God wants for us. It goes something like this… “God, we know that you are our healer. In your name, we declare that we have healthy bodies and minds.” We have confessions for every area of our lives, from financial provision to health to our desire to have children. For each confession, we have a Bible verse to back it up and confirm that it is indeed God’s will. While at first I thought the idea of reading these confessions was strange, I soon realized that they have power. Romans 10:10 says “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” I believe that this verse is about more than just salvation; the Bible is full of amazing promises to us, and we grab ahold of them when we believe and confess them.

Finally, being faithful simply means that we believe. It means that we trust in God. The fact of the matter is that I will never fully understand him, but I can fully trust that he is good, that he loves me, and that ultimately, I am going to Heaven. Even though I am loyal to God, constant in the fight for his will, and believe that God himself is faithful to his promises, there still will be times when things don’t go the way I hope they will. Sometimes, God heals people slowly or through medical intervention rather than through an instant miracle. And sometimes, no matter how much faith I think I have, the devil still wins battles. It would be easy for me to lose faith in these situations. Instead of giving up on God or his promises, though, I can use my final piece of the faith puzzle and continue to trust him. Just because I miscarried once, doesn’t mean it will happen again. I trust God and I believe that it won’t.

One of my most treasured Bible verses that I rely on for having faith is in Matthew 9:29, when Jesus says “According to your faith let it be done to you.” God meets us where our faith is. If we trust him to save our souls, he will. If we trust him to provide for us, he will. If he trust him to heal us, he will. If we trust him to give us children, he will. As I continue walking with God, I believe that the Holy Spirit will continue to produce the fruit of faithfulness in me, and I’m beyond excited to see where that faith takes me.

 

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”

-Hebrews 10:23

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 6

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

-Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

 

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably know that I’ve been slowly working my way through the Bible verse above, sharing my thoughts on the fruits of the spirit and what it means to live a fruitful life with God. And if you read my last post, then you also know that I’m pregnant (talk about bearing fruit… hehe). You may or may not know that one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy in the first trimester is fatigue. Well, I may not feel pregnant in any other way, but I’ve definitely been experiencing this symptom. So if you ever start to wonder if I’ve fallen off the face of the planet, don’t worry. I’m probably just too busy lying on the couch in my pajamas to write a blog post.

For the moment, however, I am here and ready to write. So let’s get down to business… in this post, I’m writing about the fifth and sixth fruits of the spirit, kindness and goodness.

These two virtues are so simple, in my opinion. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that being kind and good are, well, good things to aspire to. Even many people who aren’t Christians believe that kindness is the key to a better planet. If we’re honest, we might even say that people who aren’t Christians often appear to be better at being kind to others than Christians are. Maybe it’s just a minority of Christians who give the rest of us a bad reputation by being judgmental, self-righteous, and unloving. But either way, I have grown uncomfortably familiar with the seemingly popular negative perception of Christians. Is it just me, or does anybody else feel that it’s ironic (not to mention twisted) that people who claim to follow Christ are often thought of as harsh and unwelcoming? We should be known for our unconditional, God-like love for others above all else. So where did things go wrong? Why does Christianity have such a negative connotation for many people?

If you ask me, it happened because some Christians, both past and present, forgot to love. Or, even simpler than that, they forgot to be kind. They forgot that every single person on this planet is cherished by God. It doesn’t matter what a person has done or how they live, God still loves them beyond reason. And even though many people reject him over and over again for their entire lives, Jesus would still willingly and gladly die for them. He just loves them so much. Now I understand why it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, for us to love every single person that we come into contact with. But even if we fail to love them, we can still always choose to be kind. Treating every person with dignity and kindness should not be negotiable for those of us who use Jesus’ name to identify ourselves.

Of course, we can neither love others nor live in kindness towards them every day without help. We are human, and we are weak. My kindness can often dissipate in the blink of an eye for any number of reasons; perhaps I’m hungry, or hormonal, or in some cases, perhaps I’ve actually been wronged in some way. But God doesn’t want us to be kind only when we feel like it, or when the other person deserves it. He wants us to be kind always! Since that doesn’t seem to be possible (at least for me), I am relieved to know that I don’t have to struggle to do it on my own. Kindness is a fruit of the spirit, meaning that the Holy Spirit (God’s “agent” on Earth) produces this characteristic in us when we keep our hearts and minds focused on God.

So why do so many Christians seem to struggle with this? Maybe it’s because they don’t keep their focus on God. They get distracted and lured away from God by the tempting things in this world. They decide to live as “Christians” by their own power, instead of by the power that Jesus feely gave. The result is that Christians are often more human-like than Christ-like. And it’s sad, because there is so much more available to us if we are just willing to reach out and grab it.

The same is true with goodness. The way I think of goodness is basically a deep desire to do what is right. People who are good are considerate of others, treat people well, and understand that there is a higher system of right and wrong than our own constantly changing opinions. Being good may be something that we naturally want to do, but it usually isn’t something that we naturally achieve on our own. At least for me, my humanity gets in the way. Instead of acting based on my morals and what I know is right, I act on my emotions and my impulses. And even though I consider myself to be a “good girl” based on the world’s standards, I know that based on God’s standards I have fallen short—very, very short.

That is why I need God. (Well, it’s one of many reasons.) I need the Holy Spirit to be the one guiding my actions each and every day. Without him, I am simply not good. Yet the last part of that sentence sounds so wrong to me, because I know that now, with Jesus, I am good. I am perfect and whole and overwhelmingly good in God’s eyes, because when he looks at me, he sees Jesus. Knowing that just makes me want to live up to the person that God has shown me I truly am. Jesus made me good, my Father sees me that way, and his Holy Spirit works in me every day to help me live it out. All I have to do is let go of my own attempts to control my life and let God take the wheel. Fortunately, he’s a much better driver than I am.

😉

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 5

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

-Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

 

Having patience is not always easy. Obviously. I mean, who really wants to wait for things that they want right now? Nobody! But patience is one of the fruits of the spirit, meaning that when we walk with Jesus and follow God, his Holy Spirit develops this trait in us. So what’s the big deal about patience, and how are we supposed to get it?

Like all of the fruits of the spirit, developing patience is not something that we have to do by trying really hard. God doesn’t expect us to please him by being good through our own efforts. The reality is, we all kind of suck. If it was left up to us, we would never be able to be good enough for such a perfect and awesome God. But thankfully, it isn’t left up to us and we don’t have to (and never could) earn his love or grace. Jesus paid the price for us. Then, he gave us the Holy Spirit so that we could live our lives in a way that pleases God. The Holy Spirit is our helper; he helps us walk on the path that God wants us to walk on. The fruits of the spirit don’t come from us, they come from him!

So what does patience look like, and why does it matter so much to God? If you ask me, all of the fruits of the spirit are things that are not only pleasing to God, they are also good for us. Perhaps that’s one of the major reasons that they are pleasing to God, because he wants what’s best for us. Think about it—life is so much better when it is filled with love, joy, and peace. Patience is no different. When we aren’t anxious about anything, we are able to more fully enjoy what we have right now. Patience means that we are okay being where God wants us to be right now, because we know that it’s all part of his ultimately perfect plan for our lives.

Do you know what patience doesn’t mean? It doesn’t mean doing nothing, allowing ourselves to get stuck in stagnation, or waiting forever. When we are waiting for something that we really want, we should use that time of waiting to prepare ourselves and draw closer to God. Other times, what we really need isn’t patience, it’s faith. I believe from my own experience that sometimes when we feel stuck, God isn’t asking us to wait, he’s asking us to take a step in faith and go for it.

My pastor once taught us a simple truth based on 1 Corinthians 13:13, which says “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (NLT). He said that when it comes to living to the fullest that God has for us, faith, hope, and love are the keys. “Hope expects it, faith takes it, and love is the motivation,” he said. In other words, we expect to be blessed by God because we have hope, and we receive his blessings through believing that we will receive them—that’s faith.

Faith means even more than that, though. It doesn’t just mean that you believe you will receive great things from God eventually. It means you believe that you have already received what you’re asking for! Because ultimately, from God’s timeless perspective, you already have. Faith is when we thank God in advance for what he is going to do, or rather, for what he has done. Mark 11:24 says “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (NIV). When we ask in faith, we receive.

Love is the motivation for our faith and our hope. Understanding God’s love for us gives us perfect trust in him. We know that he loves us so much that he would never allow anything to happen to us that he won’t somehow use for the good. He loves us so much that we can surrender ourselves to his control over our lives. One way that we show our love for God is by trusting him completely.

When we are walking in faith, hope, and love, we often don’t need to wait very long for the things that we desire. And when our first and foremost desire is for God and his will, the Holy Spirit fills us with the patience that we need. When we seek his will, and pray for what we are asking in his timing, we will receive it at the best possible time. What a relief!

Of course, patience doesn’t just mean waiting for things. It also means that we are graceful in how we deal with others. We should remember that at times, we can all be extremely annoying. We all make mistakes, do stupid things, and act like bratty little snots. So when other people do the same things, wouldn’t it be wise of us to give them some grace? As difficult as it can be, we should focus on letting the Holy Spirit reign in our hearts and minds instead of acting on our own impulses. When I feel like cussing out that awful driver who just cut me off, I focus on the Holy Spirit and I am reminded how much God loves that person. When my husband’s incessant tapping on the desk is driving me crazy, I focus on the Holy Spirit and remember that God loves my husband, and so do I, and honestly, what’s the big deal about something so small in the grand scheme of things anyway? When that random lady at the grocery store is so undeservedly rude to me that I feel like ramming my cart into her ankles, I focus on the Holy Spirit and remember that he loves her, and she’s probably just having a bad day. You get the picture. Patience leads to peace, not only in our own lives, but in our interactions with others.

Patience given to us by the Holy Spirit is truly a gift from God. It allows us to enjoy our lives on a day-to-day basis, seeing the beauty in what we have now. We can also look ahead to the future and feel excited for what’s to come, because we know that something good is coming. We can have joy knowing that God’s timing is perfect, and we are where we are for a reason. Then, when the timing is right, all we have to do is ask, and God will bring us into that next great thing in our lives. How exciting is that?!

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 4

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

-Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

Hello readers, and welcome to part four of my series on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit! I apologize for the long absence; there are a lot of changes happening in my life right now, and I’ve been taking some time to relax and adjust.

Today I want to write about peace, the third Fruit of the Spirit. The word peace has many meanings. Used as an attribute to describe somebody, it can mean that a person is at peace, as in not afraid, anxious, or worried; it can also mean that a person is peaceful in his or her relationships, and not in unnecessary or unresolved conflict with others. Both of these meanings are important. A follower of Christ should be a person of peace, because Jesus was the Prince of Peace.

When you trust in God, it’s probably because you know that he loves you, he is good, and he will provide for all of your needs. It is easy to trust in God when you truly believe these things without a trace of doubt. The trouble, at least for me, is getting rid of that trace of doubt. Doubt is something that I battle with all of the time, probably at least a few times each day. I have to constantly tell my doubt to go away. I know that the devil wants to plant seeds of doubt in my mind so that I don’t experience the full awesomeness that God has in store for me. When I trust God and believe that he has the perfect plan for my life, I will see that plan take effect. But when I doubt God, I allow the enemy to steal that away.

In Mark 11: 23-24 Jesus made a big promise when he said: “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” (NLT). He reminded us that we must believe that we have received what we ask for as we ask it. That is called faith, and that’s what opens up our lives to God’s amazing power.

When we have faith like this, peace follows easily after. The truth is, we can’t always have exactly what we want. Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NLT). God isn’t a genie. He is a loving Father who longs to bless us with great gifts. When we seek his will above our own, trust him and find joy and peace in him no matter what our circumstances may be, that’s when he starts to give us the desires of our hearts. Why? Because then, and only then, are the desires of our hearts Godly things that he, as a wise parent, is eager to give us. If the desire of my heart was to be a billionaire, then I wouldn’t be delighting in the Lord; I’d be delighting in money! And God knows that focusing on money cannot lead me to live the best life that I can.

It brings me peace to know that God will enact his plan for my life, not my plan for my life. He has much better foresight than I do, after all! As ironic as it may seem, I am very grateful that God does not always give me what I want, or what I ask for with the wrong motives. I would much rather let him have control. His plan is perfect, plain and simple. Knowing that brings me peace!

Right now, I am waiting to see if Cory and I were approved for a lease on a house that we looked at yesterday. We really, really like this house. It feels perfect for us, and I cannot envision a much better place for us to live. Honestly, I will be disappointed if this is not what God has for us. But I will only be disappointed for a moment, and I will not be anxious or worried. Because if he doesn’t put us in this house, then I know he will put us in an even better one! I can rest, knowing that everything is in God’s capable hands. That, to me, is the essence of peace.

The other aspect of peace is related to our relationships with others. Christians are called to live at peace with each other, whenever possible. Of course, if somebody comes against me because of my beliefs or I am confronted with injustice, it is my duty as a Christian to fight against that. But whenever possible, I am called to make peace and to be peaceful. In Mark 11:25, right after Jesus promises us that we will receive what we ask for in prayer, he reminds us: “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” (NLT). We cannot expect God to fill our lives with blessings and the Fruit of the Spirit when we are harboring grudges. Every Christian has been forgiven for their mistakes; how could we dare to not forgive others for theirs? If the perfect God of the universe can forgive us, and anybody else who asks, then surely we can forgive others too.

Luke 6:27 says, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (NIV). We are given a clear command to forgive others and love our enemies, whether or not they apologize or change their ways. That doesn’t mean that we have to put ourselves in the same situation and be hurt again! It just means that we let go of our anger, and let God take care of righting wrongs.

Forgiveness doesn’t just go one way, either. When we do wrong, we need to apologize to those we have hurt. Whether or not they forgive us is up to them, but we need to take that first step to admit to our mistakes. Sometimes, it isn’t even other people who we should seek forgiveness from. Sadly, it seems that we often hold grudges against ourselves. I want to say once and for all that guilt is not from God. Guilt is from the enemy. That nasty little guy wants to make sure you feel like a terrible person, unworthy of love and especially unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness. But that nasty little guy is stupid and wrong. God loves you, no matter what you may have done. He has offered his forgiveness to you, and if you accept it, he will see you as 100% clean and clear. Thank Jesus for that!

Being at peace within ourselves and with others is a Godly calling, something that we should aspire to. None of us are perfect, but we should still strive to be the best that we can out of love for our God. We should be slow to anger. Romans 14:19 tells us to “…pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” If you are a Christian, be an example to others. Don’t be quick to fight. Don’t be that guy or that girl who tries to stir up trouble. Recognize the danger of gossip and hurtful words, and strive to use your words to help and uplift other people. We are called to be peacemakers. What would the world be like if we actually lived that way? I’d like to find out.

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 3

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

-Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

 

Joy is the second Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. The Fruit of the Spirit is, in simple terms, the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. When we walk with God, we receive these things, and we become more like God by embodying them as well. In my last post, I wrote about love, the first Fruit. Joy is obviously very closely tied to love. In fact, all of the Fruits of the Spirit are interconnected. It would be difficult to show love to others without kindness, goodness, and in some cases, a lot of patience. It would also be impossible to have a life of joy without love!

I think that it is so significant that joy is only second place to love in this list. Because while they may not necessarily be listed in order of importance, I do think that there is a reason for love and joy being at the top. If you have love in your life, it is easier to love others. Since love is the reason for everything, it definitely deserves top priority! But putting joy right behind that may surprise some people. After all, doesn’t God care more about things like self-control, discipline, and following the rules? I would argue that joy is listed way before self-control for a reason. While self-control and pleasing God with our actions are both important things that we should strive for, I believe that those things are more of a means to an end than anything else. Like any loving parent, God disciplines us because he wants what is best for us. He wants us to live good lives and be joyful! I believe that our joy is one of our Father’s biggest concerns.

In my last post, I briefly mentioned the relationship of God to suffering. I want to reiterate the point that I made. God does not cause suffering. He does not send tornadoes, sickness, or loss. Those things are the enemy’s work. In John 10:10, Jesus said that “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (NLT). That thief is Satan and he wants to ruin your life. Seriously. But God doesn’t want that for you! He wants to give you a rich and satisfying life. He wants to give you a joyful life.

Yet God does allow suffering in our lives at times. When he does, he always uses it for the good of those who follow him. Sometimes that is not clear to us; in fact, sometimes it seems completely impossible that God could use some things for the good. But he does, and whether we come to understand the benefit of our suffering in this life or in the next, it will make sense someday. Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT). We can hold on to that promise from our loving Father.

All of that being said, I firmly believe that God would much rather see us happy and joyful than sad and hurting. And guess what? We can be happy and joyful so much more than we realize. All we have to do is ask. This truly shocked me when I first came to understand it, so let me say it again; all you have to do is ask. When you have Jesus in your life, you can ask him for anything, and he will give it to you. In John 16:23-25, Jesus said: “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (ESV). One day, I know that I will be with my Lord in paradise, and at that time I will never have to ask him for anything again. But until then, all I have to do is tell him what I need.

Now of course, it is absolutely vital to remember that God is not a genie. He may not instantly give you anything that you wish for. Because while he does want you to have the fullness of joy in your life, he also wants what’s best for you. I have a theory that the two things are actually the same. Sometimes, though, we confuse happiness with joy. Happiness might be the result of having a lot of money, being really popular, and having fun all day, but it would still manage to fade away after not too long. Joy is something deeper, more meaningful, and it’s also everlasting. Joy can never be taken from us, no matter what the circumstances, if we rely on God for it. He will provide for your needs in his perfect way, and he will give you the desires of your heart in his perfect timing.  Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV). We can’t ignore the first part and expect the second. God wants us to delight in him! After all, he delights in us. If we are willing to enter into a loving relationship with the Lord, then he has so much that he wants to bless us with in return.

 

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

-Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 2

What a lovely thing love is. As a blogger who started off mainly writing about marriage, I obviously have written a lot about it in the past. I have shared my beliefs that love is not just a noun, but a verb, and that love is a choice. I have shared my beliefs about God’s love for each of us, and tried to reflect my love for Him. I have attempted to convey the depth of my love for my husband, although the truth is I don’t think I could ever put that into words. Now, I want to share my thoughts on love as a Fruit of the Spirit.

What is a Fruit of the Spirit, you might ask? I wrote about this in greater detail in my last post, but basically it sums up to this; when we accept Jesus as our savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us, and as we continue to walk with God the Spirit produces a lot of awesome things in us and in our lives. Some of the best of these things are listed in Galatians 5:22-23, and they are appropriately named the Fruits of the Spirit. God uses his Holy Spirit to fill our lives with fruitfulness and abundance. The closer we walk with him, the more fruitful we become.

 

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

 

As you can see, the first thing in this list is love. I think that is significant. Love is the reason for everything, if you think about it. God created us and the entire world so we could love him. When we failed to do that, he sent his son, Jesus, to sacrifice himself so that we could be reconnected with God and all of his perfection. Since the beginning of time, God has desperately loved us and wanted to be loved back by us.

In Matthew 22:37-40, we are told that love is our greatest calling. “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.’” (NLT). Love is the most important thing that we are supposed to do. Every good thing comes from love, because every good thing comes from God, and God is love.

In 1 Corinthians 13:13, it says “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (NLT). So love is the beginning and the end of everything. Our greatest gift in life is God’s love, and our greatest joy is in loving him back. But love wasn’t just made to be between God and people. As the second greatest commandment makes clear, love is supposed to be between us humans as well. When we have love in our lives, it is a reflection of God. He wants our lives to be full of him, and that means full of love.

There are so many forms that love can take, and they are all part of God’s will for us. He wants us to have amazing friends whom we love and who love us. He wants us to have strong, loving relationships with our family members. He wants us to show love to strangers and neighbors. And of course, he wants us to know his love for us and love him back with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. For many of us, he also wants us to know the romantic, passionate, and unconditional love between a husband and a wife. Not everybody has a desire to be married one day, but for those who do, this is something that God also desires and has planned for them.

You see, the Fruit of the Spirit is not only produced in us, giving us the ability to love others more like him, but it is produced in our lives. The Spirit brings goodness to our lives. He wants to bring each of us who desires it into a strong, happy, healthy marriage that is full of love. It is in this kind of relationship that we can begin to understand even better how much he loves us. When I look at my husband, I know that the love I feel is just a fraction of the love that God feels for him, and for me. And that is really saying a lot, because I have never loved anybody so much!

For those of you out there who are single or in a relationship but not yet married, I pray that this post gives you hope for your future. If you want to be married, and you are walking with God, then you will be. His timing is always perfect. You will never look back and think “You know, this is great but I wish you would have made it happen sooner, God.” I fully believe that if you do have to wait longer than you wish, then when it does finally happen for you, you will look back and say “Wow, I see what you were doing, God. Thank you for being wiser than I.” It doesn’t always make sense to us at the time, but God really does know what he’s doing. And his plans are always for the good.

One last thing; knowing who God is, I can confidently say that although he may allow suffering in your life at times to use it for the good (remember, he never causes it), he does not want the majority of your life to be suffering. If you are in pain because of love right now, particularly romantic love, then please remember that God loves you so, so, so very much. He does not want to see you in pain, emotional, physical, or otherwise. He wants to fill your life with the Fruit of the Spirit, including love. If you walk close to him, then I promise you he will.

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 1

Confession: I have a secret fear of being “overly spiritual.” It’s only recently that I’ve come to realize this. Before I started growing closer to God over the past few years and months, I never really understood how to interact with God in a tangible, personal way. That was okay, though, because I preferred to keep things casual. Concepts like feeling God’s presence, praying in groups, and speaking in tongues were a little uncomfortable for me, because they felt somehow overly spiritual and forced. For me, they would have been, because I just wasn’t ready for that side of God yet. I preferred to keep things light and simple; I would pray, go to church, and occasionally read my Bible, but that was as deep as I ever went. That was what worked for me at that point in my journey.

Now I’m becoming more and more aware of the spiritual side of things each day. I’m beginning to feel more attuned to the Holy Spirit, and I’m learning to harness the power of prayer. Yet I still have to frequently fight off my fear of being “overly spiritual” and allow myself to be genuine with God. For non-Christians or newer Christians, these things may sound a little weird, so I’m going to try to explain it in a way that makes as much sense as possible. In the end, though, I can only do so much. As 1 Corinthians 2:14 says “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” In other words, if you haven’t experienced God for yourself, and you don’t want to, then most of what I say will probably sound loopy. All I can say is that I believe what I do because of what I’ve experienced of God.

It all starts with the trinity. Ah, what a marvelously confusing concept. Honestly, the best way I have found to put my own mind at ease is to just remember that I am a human, and God is not, and some things are simply beyond my understanding. This is not a copout; it’s the plain truth. The trinity is one of those things. In a nutshell, the Bibilical concept of the trinity is that God is three “persons” dwelling within one Deity. Those three persons are the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. There are other names sometimes used in the Bible, but they all refer to this same God, consisting of these same three persons. Yahweh, Jehovah, Elohim, and Adonai are sometimes used to refer to God as a whole. Abba is another name for the Father, Messiah, Christ, and the Lamb are other names for Jesus, and Holy Ghost, Comforter, Counselor, Advocate, or simply the Spirit are other names for the Holy Spirit. There are many other names besides these. And again, they all refer to the same God; three persons who are one God.

My main interest for this series is focusing on the Holy Spirit. That’s because within the trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each have certain “jobs,” if you will. Jesus’ main job was to die for us, so that we could be forgiven for our sins. He also lived as an example for us and rose from the dead so that we could have abundant lives. He is love and mercy embodied. The Father’s main job is to take care of us, and to be the perfect judge in His infinite wisdom. He is love and justice, among many other things. The Holy Spirit is particularly special, because His job is to live inside of every believer and be with us every moment of every day. As a Christian, I believe that the moment I accepted Jesus as my savior, the Holy Spirit came to me.

The Holy Spirit is the part of God that we can feel and interact with the most. Not only does He bring us comfort and strength and wisdom when we need it, He can act on our behalf. When we pray, the Holy Spirit is the one who acts. Learning to understand the Spirit in our daily walks and receive His power is one of the greatest things that Christians can do. (Of course, before that, the greatest thing you can do is to receive Jesus and become a Christian! Then you’ll receive the Holy Spirit, too.) The Holy Spirit transforms lives in incredible ways.

This series is going to be about what is called the Fruit of the Spirit. The concept originates in the passage below:

 

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”

-Galatians 5:16-24 NLT

 

When we are living to the fullest, following God’s guidance through the Holy Spirit, we are transformed and our lives are transformed. We become people who produce good things (fruit). Our lives are fruitful and we are able to feed others with the bounty that God has created for us. In simple terms, we become better, our lives become better, and we can help others better. That is the meaning of the Fruit of the Spirit.

I have found that the closer I get to God, the more I experience all of the awesome gifts that He has for me. My husband’s job is one of those awesome gifts. The timing and perfect provision of this job is nothing short of supernatural. In John 10:10 (NLT), Jesus says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” It is written in Ephesians 3:20 (MSG) “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” For my husband and I, this job is just the first step towards the rich and satisfying life that God has for us. And that is so thrilling to me! I know that He really can do anything, and I am so excited to see what He’s going to do next. It’s an ongoing journey, and each day my goal is to become more fruitful through the Holy Spirit.

In each post for this series, I want to focus on one of the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. I hope you will follow this series with me and learn about some of the great gifts that God has for you. He wants to work in your life, and use your life for a purpose. So tell me, are you ready to get your fruit on?