After looking at the verse in Galatians, what specific “fruit” (love, joy, peace…) do you find yourself lacking in your daily life?
Give an example if you can.What circumstance in your life shows your weakness with the specific “fruit” you mentioned above.
Welcome back to Cafe Chat. I enjoy participating each Saturday. Sometimes I struggle with beginning my day in the Word on the weekend, so the Chat has me pondering verses and how I live them out in my daily life.
Kim shares with us, "This week’s question is meant for me as much as for all of you. Recently, I feel like I have come to a place where I see that through all my life’s circumstances, especially the tough ones I have an opportunity to become more like Christ. Through my life circumstances, I get to practice dying to a very "selfish" self. To think of others more than I think about myself. To practice self denial when my flesh cries out to indulge. To show love when I don't feel at all loving. I could keep going with my "to" list, but I will stop here, and leave you with one final thought. If you are at all like me, or maybe even a little like me; I want to challenge you to see whatever "life circumstance" you named above as a great and wonderful opportunity to become more like HIM, our sweet and lovely Jesus."
Oh, how I echo Kim's "dying to a selfish self"! This is such a daily challenge for me....to keep my mouth CLOSED and not say that biting comment, to think of others' needs above my own, to restrain myself from going to worldly pursuits (i.e. IDOLS!) instead of the Lord when I am feeling overwhelmed (usually food, but could be shopping, or spending too much time on the computer). I love the other day when Joyce Meyer said something like, "you need to first take authority over a sink full of dirty dishes before you worry about having a worldwide ministry." Her point was that sometimes we avoid the "menial"tasks of taking care of our home because we are busy doing the "spiritual" things- serving, bible study, (blogging- OUCH). But, all areas of our lives are "spiritual". God doesn't want us to neglect our own families in the name of serving Him. I love Brother Lawrence who strived to live every moment in God's presence- "practicing the Presence of God while peeling potatoes"!
I love Paul's letters. He continually teaches us the difference between living in the flesh vs. living in the spirit. When we are walking in the Spirit, keeping in step with Him, there will be FRUIT in our lives.
Galatians 5:16 says, "But I say, walk and live habitually in the Holy Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; THEN you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God)." AMP
Well, what are the desires of my "flesh"? (By the way....WHAT is my '"flesh"?? That simply means my body, my personality, my mind, the human-ness of me.) What are the CRAVINGS and DESIRES of my flesh?
"The sinful nature (the flesh) does not want what the spirit delights in. And the Spirit does not want the sinful nature delights in. The two are at war with each other. That's what makes you do what you don't want to do." verse 17 from the Adventure Bible
They are at WAR! And, sometimes, I FEEL like a casualty of that war! It can at times be painful!
What does my flesh "naturally" gravitate towards?
idolatry (putting other "things" before God)
jealousy, envy (ouch)
anger (ill temper)
selfishness (ouch, ouch)
party spirit..drunkenness, carousing
But the fruit of the Holy Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy, gladness, peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence).
...loving someone when I don't "feel" like it....forgiving....loving those who don't "deserve" my love....loving my neighbor....loving my enemies.
...being joyful always, even in the midst of suffering and trials....
...experiencing the peace that passes all understanding during hard circumstances BECAUSE I have put my trust in the Lord.
...not losing my temper, even when everything is going WRONG...even when kids are NOT LISTENING....bearing with others' faults...extending grace and mercy.
...looking for ways to be kind to others....not thinking of MYSELF, but of others.
...do I look for ways to bless others....performing charitable acts...random acts of kindness.
...trusting God, even when it is hard.
...being humble, sweet, soft, meek (power under control).
...not "flying off the handle", doing whatever "feels" good...taking my time to consult with God...to follow His leading.
I like to continue reading in Galatians because Paul continues this "theme" of gardening in 6:7-9. It says we "reap what we sow." If I sow to the flesh, "I will reap decay, ruin, and destruction." But, if I sow to the Spirit, "I will reap LIFE".
Oh, how the Adventure Bible puts it so simply, "Some people plant to please their sinful nature. From that nature they will harvest death. Others plant to please the Holy Spirit. From the Spirit they will harvest eternal life."
When I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, guide me (when I YIELD to the Spirit!), then His FRUIT spills out of me! The seed is already in there! When I yield to the spirit, the seed is watered. With every choice I make, I can nourish that seed so that it grows, flourishes, and NOURISHES those around me. When I choose to KILL that flesh, (not eat out of frustration, not yell at my kids when I am angry, keep my mouth closed and not say those critical comments, give to others even if I am tired, do the laundry cheerfully, generously put others' needs before my own, smile at the short-tempered check-out clerk, forgive my husband when he has been short-tempered with me, extend grace to the child who least deserves it, NOT gossip, pray for those who are mean to me....) and instead WALK IN THE SPIRIT, the fruit grows and is displayed in my life.
Father God, help me to choose to sow in the Spirit and not the flesh! Help me to be sensitive to Your Holy Spirit. Help me to make choices that glorify You. Help me to live for You. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
Thanks, Kim for continuing to challenge us. Please visit the Cafe today for a list of other chatters sharing about the fruit of the Spirit!