I feel it's important to re-visit this very familiar topic because of my own personal shortcomings. I personally could use more development (and maturity) of my own particular 'fruit' - a lesson I clearly learned during my bus ride to work last week.
I take the bus every day to work. So, every morning, I rush to get ready, get in my car and head out to the bus terminal, where I leave my car for the day.
Well, I got on the bus one day last week and had pleasantly settled into my seat. I had an empty seat next to me, so I got a little more comfortable than I normally would have (my body language normally resembles an uptight effigy - arms tightly glued to sides or crossed in front of me, feet close together, firmly in my own space). So, just as I hit my optimal state of relaxation (or as relaxed as it gets on public transportation), the bus stops to pick up someone else and the woman who got on sat down right in the empty seat next to me! Or, I should say, right next to me and partly on top of me!
She was an older woman (which should have made me feel more forgiving, but had the exact opposite effect), so she stumbled a bit in reaching her seat, and leaned heavily against me as she regained her balance. This caused me to promptly draw myself together, hoping to silently encourage her to do the same. But, no such luck! She was comfortably sprawled in her seat, in part of mine and definitely on top of my coat.
And then the ride began. We hit every bump, turn and curve in tandem, as she stayed glued to my side. Any sharp left-hand turns (and there were several) meant she was comfortably cushioned against my resistant side. Every bump meant she had to re-straighten her bags, her arms, her legs, her whatever. She never seemed to get properly braced, instead seeming to rely on me (and the person on the other side of her) to help her get through the rough places on the ride.
By the time she got off, I was silently blessing her out, muttering things about 'old people' under my breath and giving her the evil eye as I vowed to be on the lookout for her the next day so that I would not have to suffer such indignities and abuse of my person.
It took several moments after she left for me to 'remember' I was a Christian. And then, of course, I was appalled at myself! Needless to say, I spent the rest of the day trying to get it together and vowed to do better with my 'love' walk, among other things.
So here we are today.
And now, on to our study!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the 'fruit' of the Spirit, these are attributes or qualities we should display as Christians. They are virtues that every Christian should try to attain through time, practice and under the guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit (because you cannot do it alone!). As with most things Biblical, developing more 'fruit' is a spiritual exercise, and should not be confused with positive thinking, positive affirmations or mental gymnastics of any kind. It is not based on your thoughts or your emotions - but it is a lesson learned directly from the Holy Spirit to your own spirit. (Maybe that's why it's so hard to develop them sometimes!)
So that's what it is meant by 'fruit' of the Spirit. And what are these 'fruit'? They can be found in Galatians 5 and are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control. Sounds fun already!
Love, however, is the most important of these fruit. As a matter of fact, love is so important, there is an entire chapter devoted to it! (And I know you already know it, if you've attended any wedding in the last decade.) It can be found in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13. It, reads, in part:
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil;
6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth;
7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Love never faileth:
And, if you didn't gather just how very important love is from the above verses, this chapter ends by saying:
1Co 13:13 But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
So, there you have it: we absolutely, positively must have love. And not just any kind of love. Strong's Concordance defines the type of love mentioned here as 'agape' love - which is far, far from the type of love we normally show to each other. Agape love is the type of love that God shows to us - unconditional, unwavering and selfless.
So, we are not only to love each other, but to show the type of love that God shows us to other people, too! Wow. That's deep. (And far, far from what I felt towards that poor woman on the bus!)
So that's our lesson for today - love others with the same love that God has shown us.
(Please feel free to add any other hints, tips or advice to this series. Anything we can say to help each other in our walk is always good and useful information.)
Religion, Spirituality, Christian, Christianity, Love, God