Hindsight being 20/20, I can see how God was using this passage to get my own heart ready for today's(Sunday) message. Our pastor is in the 2nd week of a series on the Holy Spirit. Today, he focused on the evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives through, you guessed it, our fruit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23. Now being raised in a Christian home, these verses are not new to me. In fact, I've heard them pretty much my whole life, memorized them, even done focused Bible studies on some of them. But I never related them to being "evidence" of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. I guess I just always saw them as a list of Christian character traits. Looking at it now, it seems like a no brainer. I mean it starts with "the fruit of the Spirit is"! I guess that's how it is when your heart is ready, the blinders come off and you see familiar verses in a new way!
As he went over the list (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control), I could hear myself talking to my kids about many of these. "Stop looking at the bad side of the situation and find the JOY in it." "PEACE starts with who?" "Speak to your brother/sister with KINDNESS." But then it hit me, you talk to them about these all the time. When was the last time you acted them out yourself to them? Instead of repeating it over and over (which I think sounds like the teacher from Peanuts most of the time), try making these traits evident in your own life! Lead your kids by your example, not your lip service! Wow!! Is that what I've been doing? As I thought about it all afternoon, I realized that's exactly what I've been doing. It reminded me of a story my mom used to tell me about my grandpa. He wasn't saved until late in his life, mostly because he had a sister that shoved God down his throat. She wanted him saved so badly, she became so pushy with her words that it pushed him further and further away for many years. Sometimes, I think that's what I do too. I so deeply desire that my kids grow to love & serve God that I push Him down their throats too. Now, don't get me wrong. I strive daily to live my life and raise my kids as a Godly wife/mother. But I have to ask myself, "Am I as loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled as I should be?" "Do I respond to situations with the Fruit of the Spirit the way I expect my kids to?"
Thank you for your love, guidance and forgiveness. Thank you for your Word and for bringing it to a new and fresh light to me today. Please help my actions, not just my words, be filled with the fruit of your Holy Spirit. Help me each day, be filled with more of you and less of me. In your precious name, Amen.