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Growing Fruit of the Spirit

Am I growing the fruit of the Spirit?

I was walking the other day in the pouring rain and spotted a heron. It made me stop in my tracks. I was already wet so I didn’t mind pausing for a while and just watching this heron as it sat there apparently doing nothing. 

There was a lot of activity that day on the pond – the rain had brought all the birds out. The ducks were squabbling over bits of food at the water’s edge, some geese have appeared there over the last week or so, and even a swan had made a reappearance after a while of being away. The coots and moorhens were scrabbling about in the long grass making their distinct high pitched ‘peep’ and as always the seagulls were screeching and making a fuss. But this heron just sat there, still, watching, unphased by the commotion around it, looking out over the water, waiting.

As I stood and watched, something within me wanted to wait for the heron to move, but I know enough about herons to know I could have been waiting a very long time. As I have thought back to the heron it has made me wonder: What am I known for? Herons are known for being focused and patient. Do people know me as a gentle, patient person? Do I overflow with joy and peace? Am I kind and faithful and do I practice self control? Sadly the answer to most, if not all of those will probably be no. Don’t get me wrong – I have my kind moments. Sometimes I am patient and I have been known to say no to a biscuit very occasionally!! But does the fruit of the Spirit characterise me? Am I growing them in my everyday life?

I’m not saying here that we should all be prefect representatives of all 9 fruit of the Spirit. I’m pretty sure there is only one human who did that. I guess I am left wondering a few things though: Am I actively seeking to grow in patience when the seagulls of life are making a racket? Am I joyful when all seems grey, rainy and grim in life? Am I gracious when someone else appears to just glide through life like the swan glides through the water? Am I self controlled when others are pushing past me for something I think is rightfully mine, like the ducks squabbling for the food?

God promises us in scripture that there is no law against the fruit of the Spirit, as it is ever-available and freely given. So coming back to the question, ‘Am I growing the fruit of the Spirit?’, let us rephrase it to the corresponding promise: I CAN grow the fruit of the Spirit! 

Rachel is an Inspire Missioner in England who longs to grow the fruit of the spirit in her everyday life.

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.
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

One fruit of the Spirit is joy. The Bible Project has done a series of word study videos, tracing single words through the Bible and seeing the overarching meaning of that word from beginning to end and seeing how it points to Jesus. In their word study on joy they say, ““Christian joy is a profound decision of faith and hope in the power of Jesus’ own life and love.

Watch the BibleProject’s Advent Word Study on Joy which explores the unique type of joy to which God’s people are called. It’s more than happy mood, but rather a choice to trust that God will fulfill his promises:

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