Fruit of the Spirit part 2:

rotting apples

Part 2: The fruit is Rotting

The journey to writing about Spiritual Fruit, actually started because I knew I had produced fruit in my life at one point, but in the most recent season, I was not seeing the evidence. It was almost as if my Fruit of the Spirit was rotting away. 

Galatians 5: 22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

Reasons your Spiritual Fruit may be rotting.

  1. You are leaving your harvest behind in your walk. You may have the Fruit of the Spirit at the moment, but when life gets hard or the world is tempting you have let it go and become buried in the mess.
  2. You have not shared the harvest with others by connecting with a community. You must USE your fruits of the Spirit. We cannot hold on to our fruits of the Spirit for our own gain. Our gifts are to bless and impact the Kingdom. It is then that we will see more fruit production because God’s math multiplies a good thing!
  3. Distraction is a killer of the fruit of the Spirit. When we are consumed with the weight of this world or the busy craziness of life, we are not focused on our God. He is the producer of our fruit. If we are disconnected from Him our fruit will rot.

 

Let’s look at the fruit of the Spirit and see how it may look when rotting. Now mind you, I am not talking about a once in a while I messed up, but if I am constantly walking in the ‘mess’ I am going to have rotting fruit.

*LOVE: Love your neighbor as yourself, love your family, love your church, love the stranger and love your enemy well!

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I already failed at this one today, as I was not very patient or kind with my own husband.  I was tired and moody and failed. I was not showing the fruit of the Spirit within me. Now he was gracious and the Lord gives us grace, but how much more love will the Lord bless in my heart when I can actively obey his call to LOVE and love well?

*JOY: A feeling of great happiness. A source or cause of delight.

Psalm 47:1- 
Clap your hands all you nations; Shout to God with cries of Joy.

When I was grumbling and complaining to my husband about what I perceived as an offense, I was not shouting for Joy. I was not walking in joy. How many of us grumble and complain from the moment we see someone until we depart?
If we are grumbling and complaining we are not showing the fruit of the spirit, Joy.  If we are spending more being critical than we are walking in Joy, we are going to be sitting on the rotten fruit of the Spirit.

* PEACE: It is impossible to walk in stress and anxiety at the same time as peace.  I may begin my morning in peace, and by the afternoon of facing the daily stress, I often have chosen to let peace fall to the ground and rot. I must WALK in peace.

Isaiah 26: 12- 
LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

God has established His peace for me, I do not need to pick the garbage back up. He has done it and I have to share it.

 

*FOREBEARANCEHolding back or self-restraint. Specifically, a refraining from the enforcement of a punishment; holding back judgment.

Matthew 5:38-42
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Oh how I have wanted to retaliate, throw the stones back that was smacking me in the face. Even though I didn’t, my heart was so ugly with the thought of revenge. My Forbearance was undeveloped for sure. I don’t even think that one had a chance to rot. But now that I am aware of what it is and how to walk in it, Lord will give me the strength to sow that seed with HIS grace.

*KINDNESS- Friendly, thoughtful and considerate. 

Luke 6:35- But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

I think kindness is taking love into action by actually connecting. For myself, in the past, I could compare my kindness vs. others towards me and get disgruntled. But I must be kind to the ungrateful enemy as well as those that will sow back. I can’t expect anything in return, just sowing the kindness for the sake of being kind. Because the Lord has given me much, I must share much.

*GOODNESS- The quality of my character and conduct. For example; integrity, honesty, and uprightness.

Ephesians 4:29- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

It is so easy to tear down what we see as flaws, but the Lord directs us to build up. Edify others with our speech and conduct. He has called us to be faithful and honest. In my name of ‘sickness’, I have not walked in goodness but in despair and my character showed it. I affected the atmosphere around me and truly was giving off an offensive rotten fruit.

* FAITHFULNESS- Faithful, constant, loyal imply qualities of stability, dependability, and devotion.

Matthew 5:7- When you make a promise, say only “Yes” or “No.” Anything else comes from the devil.

I am learning to take on less so that I can be faithful in my YES. There is nothing more frustrating to others in my life when I can not follow through. This area of study has me more thoughtful on what I am able to do.  

*GENTLENESS-  Walking in the tenderness of the Father. Choosing to use a soft word.

Proverbs 15:1- A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

So many times with my family I have been harsh and I have watched the anger stir up. I have also experienced the anger stirred up in myself from the harshness in others. At the same time, I have seen the hand of God move when I answer with a gentle and tender heart. Lord I am praying that my action of tenderness is my first and my fruit won’t fall from you and rot.

*SELF-CONTROL-   Controlling your emotions and desires or the expression of them in difficult situations. 

2 Timothy 1:7- For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid; but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

God has given me the tools I need to be self-controlled. When I blow up in my emotion of the moment, I have not glorified His work in me. I have not turned to the creator with my emotion. I have let my spirtitual fruit is rotting.

I am still a work in progress, and I know the Lord gives me grace in my seasons of mistakes, but I have made up my mind to not WALK in this state, but rather in HIS POWER.


I have GROWN UP :)

 So I do know there are many many areas that I am childish and need extra help. But today I am going to focus on my victories.  I must admit that this last year of trials has left me growing in great ways and I would not trade the lessons learned for anything.

 As I turn to the words of Jesus and learn HIS character I find that I stand stronger and am unmovable in new ways.

 The other day, something that would have bothered me to distraction and would have affected my mood, tried to rise up. This is an old haunt that has had control over me before. Yet I have chosen to renew my mind and focus on what the WORD says about me and these situations. I have chosen to focus my mind on what is GOOD, what is RIGHT and what brings HONOR to HIS name.

 So when these little darts started flying at my mind, and I began to get anxious, I pulled out my sword (the word of God) and dispelled those fiery darts! You know what ? IT WORKED! After just a few moments praying and focusing on the Lord and what HE says, my emotions and feelings were put in the right position.

Now these darts came at me a few times that day, and each time they needed to be addressed with the TRUTH of God’s word. If I would have excepted them as they shot at me, my whole day would have been different and the atmosphere around me rather soured.

We all have our battles and our areas we need to grow. But there is something so special about that moment when you realized, ” I have GROWN UP, and I have arrived in this area and it doesn’t own me!”

I feel like the child that has taken the first steps on their own, then it is time for a bicycle with no training wheels, then it is time for my drivers license. There is ALWAYS something new to learn but that doesn’t mean each time I grow a little more, that it is any less exciting. 

I remember the milestones of my children, they have ALL been special and continue to be so.

I have GROWN UP and in  areas of victory, they are true treasures. I am no longer a babe crying over the loss, but rejoicing in what I have gained 🙂

 

Challenge this day my friend: Keep pulling out that sword in your battles, keep growing and when you have realized you have accomplished a goal in your steps… REJOICE for the LORD IS GOOD!

Ephesians 4:14-15

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ

It is time to make things tasty

I am working on controlling my tongue, anger, lonliness, self and depression. I am working on changing myself for the benefit of the Kingdom and those around me. I desire to walk in blessing rather than the curse of selfishness. In these character transformation moments, there are times I try to stamp down something that is ingrained in me.

I am finding in self discovery that there are areas in my personality that at times I want to stifle or erase from my being because I find it embarrassing or less than perfect. Very characteristics that God himself has placed inside of me that I am to cultivate, not disintegrate.

We are called to be the salt of the earth. I am to flavor the earth in just the way that GOd created me to. I have shared with a friend in the past that a thought struck me, there are many kinds of salt; sea salt, garlic salt, iodized salt, seasoning salt, or rock salt just to name a few.

We are to be flavorful and to season this earth with goodness. We are to not lose our flavor. But we can be original to our own design. He creates many flavors and personalities for His purpose. While I encourage myself to change for the Kingdom glory, I need to be mindful to not change the flavor he has made me. It is time I make the world around me tasty in the only way that I was created to do. I will NOT lose my saltiness.

Challenge this day my friend:  Discover your own original gifts and share them with the world, not losing your flavor but sprinkling all you come in contact with the Lords goodness. Do not stamp out what He has placed in you that is unique only to you.

Matthew 5:13-

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt looses it’s saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

(NIV)