Today was the third day of my Spirit-led Life Challenge, and the third day that I have been fervently seeking that the Spirit would pour His supernatural love into my life. I must say, it has been an awesome experience so far. He truly has surrounded me with His perfect love, and it is affecting the way I think, act, speak and live.
As I look at Galatians 5 where it lists the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit, and as I seek after more of God's love in my life, I am finding that all the other characteristics are so heavily hinged on this very first step- the choice to love. I know each one holds its own special benefit as we walk in the Spirit, but I am seeing in my own daily life that as I seek after more of His love, the joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control come right along with it! It really is a package deal.
It was brought to my attention a few months ago as I read Francis Chan's "Forgotten God" that we often mistake the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit as being different "fruits" that are separate from one another. However, in Galatians, it is listed as the singular "fruit" of the Spirit, with many attributes. I think it is important to realize that you can't truly have the supernatural love that the Spirit-led life brings without also having the peace, patience, kindness, etc. I have always been taught each characteristic as a separate, distinct "fruit", implying that you may have one fruit and not another. But when we look at the Word of God, it is clear that all these parts of the fruit of the Spirit are so intertwined with one another, it is impossible to separate them!
This is such an encouraging thought to me as I continue on this journey of letting the Spirit have complete control of my steps. I realize that I do not have to work so hard to achieve more joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. But if I focus my attention on walking in the Spirit and living in God's love, all these things will come to fruition in my life accordingly.
It is not about what we can do. All that we can do is the same that the world can do, and this does nothing to testify of Christ in us. But when we stop trying to "bear fruit" and simply let the Gardener do His pruning and weeding in our lives (painful as it may be), the fruit will grow. The plant itself simply soaks in the sun, water and nutrients. And that's what we are called to do. Soak in the Spirit. Be nourished by the Word. Dwell in the light of the Son. And as we do, the fruit will grow- beautiful, fragrant and able to feed the hungry souls around us.
I encourage you today- don't be overwhelmed with the task of trying to bear more or greater fruit. Focus on walking in Him and His love. And when you do, the rest will follow!