We have been studying about the Forgotten God of the Holy Spirit lately and I am once again convicted about how I spend a great deal of time, effort and emotional energy trying to muster up the fruit of the Spirit on my own. Francis Chan talks about praying for patience through gritted teeth.
(Not kidding, just this second, Jesse dropped an entire big tub of yogurt in the kitchen and it splattered all over everything. He is cleaning it up & I am gritting my teeth. I did calmly tell him that he is not in trouble, but he did, in fact, need to clean it up on his own.)
See what I mean? I'm not who I want to be.
I know that the Holy Spirit is living inside of me, and there are moments or even hours...I won't lie and say "days," that I feel His super natural Fruit working in my heart:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
I used to think that he developed these fruits, each one at a time in our hearts over a lifetime. I have even heard it taught that He works that way. It is true that sanctification, transforming us into the likeness of His Son does happen over a lifetime. But that's different. The scripture says singular "Fruit of the Spirit."
So, we are to believe that where the Spirit is, the Fruit is...all of it.
In my life the Fruit seems elusive.
The closer I walk with God, the more time I am in His Word and in prayer, the easier it is to access...the more natural, the more ME it becomes.
Otherwise, I look at each of those 9 characteristics of the fruit separately and try to fake it till I make it, I guess. I mean I don't consciously think, "I am gonna fake like I have peace in this difficult situation," I just know that I "should" have peace in all circumstances, and others may find me a "stumbling block" if I don't remain peaceful, so I choose peace on the outside and try to believe it on the inside. I don't think to myself, "I am going to fake like I have a gentle spirit" when I am in public, if a child makes a mess, but in reality, at home, I can blow up when a yogurt tub explodes. (not this time)
The truth is, I want that Fruit. I know I need that Fruit, so I try to get it, find it, create it myself, find someone who seems to have it and learn from them how to grow it.
I have always been taught to seek out a mentor whose Fruit is evident. I have also been taught to look for women with a soft appearance, a glowing face, like St Stephan when he was being stoned to death. Here is the deal, I can only think of a few women in the world who do not have CBF like myself, and the "soft" ones I have sought out to be my mentors have always proven to struggle with the Fruit of the Spirit internally, just like me.They may appear to have it, but I have never met a person once who lived up to the ideal of displaying that Fruit inside and out all of the time. Maybe that is why we are human...we are sinners in need of a Savior...we need grace like water and His word like food...AND we are promised access to Him moment by moment through His Spirit living inside of us so that we can be filled with that Fruit...BUT, every once in a while humanity wins. That is kind of how it should be, every once in a while, I mean.
Let's say, a person is filled with the Spirit and walking moment by moment with God. The fruitless moments or seasons would be the exception, not the rule, right? I mean most of the time they would display those 9 characteristics, and every once in a while they'd fall prey to their circumstances.
That's a tall order.
That's an expectation that overwhelms me.
When people say that, I want to run and hide, ashamed that I can't make it an entire day holding onto all of that Fruit...maybe not even a hour most days.
So here's the deal. I am choosing NOT to be overwhelmed, but to pray to be OVERCOME instead. I want to be overcome by His Spirit to the point that I am not trying, reaching or grabbing, I am just ME with His Fruit coming totally naturally to me & through me because He has conquered my heart, my selfishness, my humanity. I want Him to prevail against any emotion that is contrary to that Fruit.
I want to be over myself and full of Him.
I have prayed for each of the individual Fruits at various times, but my prayers have changed.
I am boldly believing He can overcome my heart.
I mean, He says He has overcome the world, so my heart should be a piece of cake if I just let it go.
He has already done SO much clean up in there, trust me, but it's time for a take-over. I just want His Spirit to be so alive and moment by moment in my thoughts that with no effort of my own, I can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
I want the moments of mere humanity to be the exception and not the rule. I can't do this, but He can.
Overcome: overpower - vanquish - conquer - defeat - surmount - beat - prevail against
In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world. John 16:33