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)
From Unexplainable by Don Cousins:
“I cried out to God with a voice of exasperation: ‘God, what do You want me to do?’ His silence had been deafening, and I was running out of time.
“What I then heard was this: ‘I don’t really care what you do. I care about who you are – and who you are is failing.’ It wasn’t an audible voice, but it was unmistakably clear. I received these words not as condemnation, but as an expression of mercy.
“I returned to where I was staying and turned in my Bible to Galatians 5:22-23, verses I’d read countless times before. In fact, I had them memorized. This time, I read them more carefully and slowly than before.
“Then I did something I’d never done before with these words. I began to evaluate myself in light of those nine characteristics on the list.
“Love. How am I doing? I didn’t score well, so I moved on.
“Joy. How’s that going for me? I didn’t score well here, either, so I kept going…
“In reflection, I summed up my little self-evaluation with this thought: I’m two for nine. Though I had to admit that my two “hits” (faithfulness and self-control) had little to do with the influence of the Holy Spirit…It was the other seven characteristics that pleaded for the influence of the Holy Spirit. In those areas, I was failing. And I knew it.
“While the world cares almost exclusively about what you do and accomplish, God cares first and foremost about who you are. He wants His presence to so fill your life that you experience the blessings that come from being a loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled person” (excerpted from p. 113-117)
The fruit of the Spirit is not a measuring stick to judge our performance. It’s not an incentive to try harder. God’s fruit comes as we are connected to Him. Jesus said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me” (John 15:4, NLT).
As you read this list of characteristics: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, how do you score? The solution is not to “try harder.” The fix is to check your connection to God. The better the connection, the more plentiful the fruit.
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