From the inside out

 Continuing my Spiritual goals for 2021, today’s goal builds on the previous two. It’s not enough to live in the Spirit, we must grow in the Spirit.  Stagnant water stinks and breeds bacteria. I confess, I tend to have growth spurts rather than consistent growth.  This year I’m striving for consistency. 

  Pastor Cooper talked about growing from Galatians 5:22-23.   A very familiar passage of scripture, the fruits of the Spirit.   These characteristics cannot sit and rot, the Christian needs to grow the fruit, pun intended.

The Amplified Bible says “But the fruit of the Spirit (theresult of His presence within us) is love (unselfish concern for others) joy, (inner) peace, patience (not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”   The fruit of the Spirit is the result of His presence within us.  It’s what is shown daily when one is filled with the Spirit.  Ellicott comments that “The fruit of the Spirit is that which naturally grows out of the operation of the Spirit, in which it naturally results.” 

This version of the verse hit me like a tomato in the face. (I couldn’t help it, a fruit reference).     “How we act while waiting”.   We were at dinner last week when my 6-year-old grandson lamented about the wait for dinner to arrive.  He rolled his head back and forth on the chair and moaned, “I’m starving, I’m starving,” When ignoring didn’t stop him, his mother took things in hand with some choice words and threats.  This adult, (who was also hungry) sympathized with his plight but never considered following his behavior.  I know how to act when waiting in a restaurant. I know how to act when waiting on God, but I am not sure I always wait well.

Once again, the growth of this fruit within me is dependent on the Holy Spirit.  If the past few months have taught us anything we cannot love on our own. Peace is hidden as we watch the siege of our Capitol.  The dearth of kindness among our citizenry, the lack of self-control among our highest office holders, the lack of truth among our media, and the absence of gentleness mock this scripture.  Our culture has robbed us of any joy.  These fruits are clearly out of season.  The truth is:  it is impossible to grow these fruits in our lives without the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Thinkin’ its time to pray. 

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