Whether it’s picking out the best fruit in the store, navigating through traffic or waiting on other people, everyday we can share our gifts through the Fruit of the Spirit and humility.
I was running errands today and stopped in my local church to say a few prayers. A sweet lady and her daughter were there, so they knelt with me and we prayed the Hail Mary. As a Christian who was raised Catholic, I still go to local churches because God is always with us and the power of prayer is important especially in this world.
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, It does not boast, It is not proud…
After praying with them, I headed to the store and tried to pick out the biggest watermelon I could find. A lady soon walked over and pointed to one at the very bottom, “I want that one.” She said it in a way as if she wanted me to get it, which I wouldn’t have minded doing for her, but you can’t pick up the really heavy watermelons from the floor. I told her that they were too heavy and the men usually do it. These watermelons weighed about 15-20 lbs each and you couldn’t safely stoop down as they were in a bin, and you would have to lean over awkwardly and that’s not good posture for the back. A worker came over and helped and the woman said defiantly, “I picked the biggest one. See, I caught it with my eye first!” I laughed, as I was content to have any watermelon – as long as it was sweet. It reminded me that in all my time making prayer cards and helping with outreach ministries of various types, I hadn’t done a card on the Fruit of the Spirit and God’s gifts. Mental note to self!
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
As I navigated up and down the aisles, a few shopping carts were in the way and I had to wait to let people pass. A homeless man who was in front of me said thank you and I went about my way. I saw him again a few aisles over and I let him pass again. Then at the register, I realized he was in front of me and holding up the line. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I didn’t mind waiting, but the funny thing was the cashier acknowledged to me that she knew he was taking longer than he should and for me to be patient. Sometimes we’re tested in this way and it’s interesting as this has happened at the register before. Once it was a lady who had some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder and I just stood back to let her finish. She knew she was holding up the line, but turned to me and said, “Thank you.” I think we entertain angels more than we know and it’s important to humble ourselves even if it means we have to wait in line a few seconds longer.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
As the homeless man left, the cashier wiped her counter down and turned to me and said, “I’m not rushing him. I’m not rushing anyone. They have a right to finish,” and it was a reminder to me that we all have the same rights to complete our transactions and not be rushed. We have the right to be respected – but we also have the obligation to respect others and use our gifts, i.e., the Fruit of the Spirit. As I headed out the door a young man helped me with my bags and even when I reached my front door, someone had the door propped open which was a big help considering I had a lot of bags. When we open the door for others and make room for them, God opens the door for us.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
In life, as we go through day to day struggles, there are so many obstacles that we’re faced with, just like those shopping carts, that we have to take the time to help others, to pray with one another, and be patient. When we were leaving the store, a lady in the car in front of us rolled her eyes and refused to move her car. It reminded me that attitude is everything. What we give we receive and what we put out into the atmosphere comes back to us. Hence the importance of sharing our gifts and the Fruit of the Spirit – and that reminds me, I did do a prayer card once on the Fruit of the Spirit, but I had labeled it incorrectly. I called it the Fruits of the Spirit and sent it to the customer to proof. She corrected me and explained that it’s Fruit because it’s as the whole thing, or the whole group. As there are 9 traits, we shouldn’t try to interchange them and say “I’ll take the oranges of kindness today. I’ll deal with that watermelon patience thing tomorrow!” It doesn’t work that way.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
The fruit encompasses all traits. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches and it’s our attitude and how we perceive the Spirit that helps us to bring forth much fruit. Try to see the Holy Spirit as a gentle dove that rests on you, but if you don’t feed your Spirit the right things, like reading your Bible, praying, praising God, etc., the Spirit can be quenched and that’s not what you want. That’s why some songs have lyrics like, “Holy Spirit, fall fresh on me.” Just like a sensitive dove, if we are impatient, yelling, screaming and fighting, we can cause that dove to flee because we’re not walking in love. Always try to remember this, and when someone wants the big(ger) watermelon, let them take it. When someone is taking longer in line, let them do it. Just remember to walk in love, embrace the Fruit of the Spirit and share your gifts!
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7
In using our gifts and the Fruit of the Spirit, we are using cleansing oil, meaning we are showing humility and nurturing in the Spirit. Pray and ask God to help with any area of your life where you may need help with the Fruit of the Spirit and ways that you may need to show your gifts more. Humility in this manner is not about judgment, it’s about redemption. The woman who went to the well had several husbands because her life wasn’t fulfilled. She felt empty. That’s why Jesus told her He had water that if she drank it she would never thirst again, meaning, by filling up on Christ, she wouldn’t search in meaningless relationships.
Asking God for help and making the changes we need…
For each of us, God knows just what we need. Just like Jesus knew about the woman at the well. God created us and while He knows what we should have, He always gives us freedom of choice so we have to invite God into our lives. It’s for us to pray, “Lord, you know me and areas where I need help. I want your gifts. I want the Fruit of your Spirit, help and healing in my life. Forgive all my sins and areas where I have made mistakes, in Jesus name, amen.” If you haven’t accepted Christ as your savior, add this to your prayer, “I know you died for my sins, and I turn my back on sin. I want to serve you for the rest of my life. Please come into my heart. I make you my Lord and Savior, in Jesus name, amen.”
I pray this message has encouraged you and that you remember to embrace the Fruit of the Spirit each day – and even if you catch yourself having a bad attitude one day, just repent and get back on track! You will produce much fruit and grow in God, even if it means giving up the bigger watermelon!
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