Focusing on the fruit of the Spirit

The first thing I heard when I woke up yesterday and I got  into prayer was, “Focus on the fruit of the Spirit.” I loved that message because I love learning about the fruit of the Spirit. The message stayed with me for a few hours while the Lord was teaching me about His fruit and encouraging me to grow it, preserve it and give it away. These are three vitals steps. We need to grow the fruit, then we need to maintain the fruit and finally we need to share the fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is a great gift from God and every gift He gives us is meant to be shared with others at some point. That is why it is important to develop the fruit so that what we give to others is sustainable and lasting. Love is the head of the fruit of the Spirit. I call the fruit of the Spirit “the traits of the Spirit” and love is the most important trait.

 Without love, the fruit of the Spirit can go bad. Without love, the fruit of the Spirit can lose its taste. Without love, the fruit of the Spirit can’t multiply. Without love, the fruit of the Spirit is a counterfeit. It then makes sense that love is what we ought to grow in our lives and what we should concentrate on the most. We want faith without going through the love phase. We want peace without taking love into consideration. We want joy thinking that it is crucial to be happy and joyful and love will be added to the list once we have reached a level of happiness. Love should always come first. Love makes everything work. Love is the fuel and the power behind the whole fruit of the Spirit. Remember that the fruit of the Spirit is intended to be shared and love rejoices when it gives and when it shares.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control.* All the components of the fruit of the Spirit are characteristics of the Holy Spirit. We have the Spirit in us and it is up to us to let Him guide us and to give Him room to do what He wants in our lives. We have to put time and effort into it. The fruit is in us and with a willing heart we can see it grow and flourish. When I heard that I should focus on the fruit of the Spirit yesterday, I was reminded that the fruit was there and it is easy for us to ignore it or to put it in a basket and keep it in the fridge where it becomes cold. Fruit baskets are not supposed to be put away. They should be displayed and there should be in the open. 

Put oranges and bananas in the fridge and you will have a cold experience that could rob those fruits of the delicious potential that they have. Sometimes we put the fruit of the Spirit so far deep down inside that it sits in the freezer of our thoughts and it is just a distant memory that we don’t think of often. I am not saying that we become monsters but we don’t give the fruit the chance to manifest God’s traits. Love should always be out in the open, ready to be spread and ready to touch people’s lives. Ask God to help you ripen His fruit. His Spirit will take you through the steps of fruit maturation and you will be a basket of peace, joy, gentleness and love above all.

It is crucial to keep love at the center of our fruit basket and to operate through love. We develop love by practicing it and by spending time with the Father. Praise, prayer and worship are amazing times of impartation when the Lord fills us up with His love. When we yield and we surrender, we can be strong vessels of love that are positioned to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Love will always lead us to share Jesus and to give hope to people. During the times spent with God, we also receive peace and joy. If we keep up with those practices and they become a habit, the fruit will be maintained in our lives. We will have it and we will preserve it. We will then have no choice but to share it. We will be patient with people, caring and good. 

If we maintain the fruit, God’s traits will be part of our spiritual DNA and our thoughts, our words and our actions will be impregnated with the fruit. We will move around with gentleness and self-control. Self-control is a much needed fruit. It allows us to stay calm when things go wrong and to bless those that wrong us. Today I want to reiterate the message from yesterday morning and encourage you to grow the fruit of the Spirit, to preserve it and to share it with everyone around you. The kindness and the goodness of God in you will leave indelible footprints on the hearts of those you interact with. Do it all for God’s glory. Focus on the fruit of the Spirit every day!

Suggested reading: John 15:2; Galatians 5:22-23*; Colossians 3:12-17

Go with the flow from Heaven

I like the expression “to go with the flow.” It means to be relaxed and accept a situation rather than to alter or try to control it. I like that the expression encourages us to relax. The part about accepting the situation works for me as long as it is accompanied by the belief that God is in control of the situation. A few days ago, I was trying to find out what I needed to do in a particular situation. My mind was going in different directions and I couldn’t come up with a rational solution. Sometimes we need to put the rational on pause and rely on the supernatural. Relying on our God of the supernatural is actually always the best course of action. I did what I do when I need help. I went into my prayer closet and sought the Lord’s face. What I was told during that prayer session was to “go with the flow.” Go with the flow of the Holy Spirit. Go with the flow from Heaven. I loved that encouragement. There is a flow from Heaven. We can go with the flow of the world or with the flow from Heaven. What is the flow from Heaven? It is a way of saying “Go with what the Lord says” or “Go with the reality of the kingdom of God over the reality of the world.” We have a choice to make. We can go with the flow and accept the situation as is or we can go with the Lord’s flow and accept His version of our situation. His version is always backed up by hope. He has the power to change anything. That is the flow from Heaven as well. If you are faced with a choice today, go with the flow from Heaven.

 

A flow is an action or fact of moving along in a steady continuous stream. There are actions that move in a good direction and some that move in a bad direction. There are ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions that do the same thing. When we are angry and we act with anger, we flow in a bad direction. When a bad situation arises, we can go with anger or we can go with peace. We can flow with hope or we can flow with worry. We can flow with faith or we can flow with doubt. When your mind tells you to go with the flow, be sure you check which flow you are going with. Don’t be passive and just accept the bad circumstances. Don’t be afraid of what is happening and decide to just let it happen. Take a stand and go with the flow from Heaven. That is the flow of the Holy Spirit that can get you to a much better place. When you flow with the Holy Spirit, you allow His fruit to dominate you. You let Him invade you with His traits. This is how you can win many battles. Faith will be at the forefront and love will be the power behind everything you do. Flowing with the Holy Spirit implies flowing with peace, patience, joy, long-suffering, self-control, faith and love. Those are all great representations of who He is and they come from Heaven where God is sovereign and His peace and love abound. Could it be that God is telling you today, “Go with the flow. Go with My flow”?

 

When I decided to go with the flow from Heaven, my situation changed. Why? When we flow with the Holy Spirit there is a change in us. The change starts on the inside and we see everything differently on the outside. Peace is what came first. I said a prayer and peace became vibrant. It was tangible. It was unbelievable. It was supernatural. I love the peace from God that surpasses all understanding. I strongly believe that God gives us that amazing peace from time to time to remind us of how supernatural and almighty He is. We can’t flow with the Spirit of God and not receive peace. Peace helps us be more in control of our emotions. When we go with the flow of the world, we have a defeatist attitude if the flow is bad and we just go with it. The Spirit of God doesn’t give up. He never gives up. He doesn’t know how to lose and how to fail. When you go with the flow from Heaven, you flow in the direction of victory. You flow in the direction of the impossible being possible. Get on that wavelength. Get on the Lord’s flow. Go with what He says in His Word. Let His Word lead the flow. Let His Word be the direction you are taking. Today I recommend that you flow with the Spirit of God. React to what happens today with the flow of the Spirit. Go in the direction of Heaven. Invite the Lord to help control your emotions and feelings. Don’t subscribe to any negativity but be a fervent pursuer of the positivity that comes with the fruit of the Spirit. Go with the flow from Heaven and you will stay away from defeat and discouragement.

Suggested reading: John 7:37-39; Romans 12:21; Galatians 5:22

 

Thank God for patience

I appear to be a pretty patient person and I am for the most part but there are times when patience is a fruit that is not part of my fruit basket. Times when I keep looking at the clock for my next life event to happen. I wait and wait but I don’t wait patiently. My focus is too much on the waiting and I don’t enjoy myself. All I have to say is thank God for patience. When I get impatient, I turn things over to God. I need His patience. I need the fruit of the Spirit in my life. All of it. Not just faith, love, peace and joy. The fruit has a patience component that is crucial. I have dismissed it too many times but now I am making sure that I am watering the whole fruit and patience is part of that amazing package. Patience coming from God is supernatural and it surpasses all understanding just like His peace. It is when we plug into the Holy Spirit that we get access to this beautiful patience. The Holy Spirit dwells in us but if we ignore Him, He is dormant for lack of a better word. He is a gift from Jesus that we should unwrap and embrace. Have you ever received a gift, loved it and then let it sit on a shelf? That is what happens with the Holy Spirit at times. We love Him. We are grateful for Him but then we put Him on a shelf and go about our business without considering Him. In other instances we enjoy the Holy Spirit but we don’t get to know Him. We love the gift but we never read the manual so we don’t understand how to interact with the gift and what to do with it.

 

The Holy Spirit is a comforter, a counselor, a coach, a Jesus promoter and a fruit producer among other wonderful things. Today I am focusing on the fruit of the Spirit and I want to talk specifically about patience. God is a patient God. Imagine if He weren’t patient with us. We would never be changed. We would never be blessed. We would never be loved. Sin would separate us from the Lord forever but God sent His Son for us. He was patient enough to let the process happen for humanity even though people were and are rejecting Him. God was patient with Saul and then Paul was born. God is patient with every single of one of us. Someone could live his or her life in rebellion against the Lord and be saved five minutes before they die. God will wait a lifetime. God is in no rush. He doesn’t lose His temper and He doesn’t get out of control. My prayer is that we adopt His patience and we keep it in the middle of our hearts so it guides what we do, it influences how we deal with people and it gives spiritual fuel to our faith. Patience is needed when it comes to faith. Faith waits patiently.

 

It is hard to have faith without patience. Faith like I said, always waits and it is sure of the outcome. Faith allows you to be patient because it lets you know that God is in control and you know without a doubt that there is nothing to worry about. Patience doesn’t look at time as an issue. It sees time as being on our side. Patience savors the minutes that go by. Patience keeps you in the moment. It doesn’t project and it doesn’t live in the future. Patience loves today. Patience loves what the Lord is doing today. It doesn’t count the days and it doesn’t pay attention to all the signs that point in the wrong direction. When we are waiting for something, it’s easy to focus on the details that are imperfect in our lives. It’s easy to make a list of all the negative things that come to pass. Patience puts that list away and it takes out the list of blessings the Lord promises. Patience stays in the positive. It doesn’t associate with negativity at all. Patience says “Things might not look good now but with the Lord everything is going to be fine and I am enjoying my life today.”

 

When you take a bite at the apple of patience, you can’t stop eating it. Patience makes you feel great. It touches your soul and it blesses your spirit. God’s patience is phenomenal because it is stronger than irritation, chaos, anxiety and defiance. With the fruit of the Spirit we don’t defy God. We wait on Him. We love seeking His face. We get blessed internally and it shows on the outside. Patience gives us the strength to wait even when our minds tell us to start moving and to keep going when we shouldn’t. Patience suppresses panic and makes us pause and take a break. It is needed in prayer and meditation. When we pray and meditate on the Word, rushing around will never help us get to where we need to be. Patience is the power behind a good prayer life. It is the power that enables us to receive messages from God. It is the power that helps us love our neighbors. Love is patient. We should also direct God’s patience toward ourselves. Let’s be patient with ourselves. The fruit of the Spirit grows and we need to be patient with our own pace. God has given you and me patience. Let’s thank Him for that and let’s keep on nurturing the good fruit of the Spirit!

Suggested reading: Proverbs 15:18; Galatians 5:22; James 5:8

Stay in the fruit basket

Yesterday morning when I was praying, I heard deep down inside “Stay in the fruit basket.” I was surprised by that message and it made me laugh. It was around 5 am and even though it was early, I was very alert. I pray very early most days. My spirit is very receptive and ready to go in the wee hours of the day. I didn’t ignore the message and I decided to go with it. I meditated on it and prayed for clarification. The fruit of the Spirit is a big part of what living with the Holy Spirit is all about. The Spirit of God produces beautiful fruit in us. Our job is to grow the fruit and let the guidance of the Spirit take over. We can’t grow spiritually if we take control of the growth. The Spirit assists us. We are not the ones doing the assisting. There is a strong need for dependence and surrender to the Spirit of God in the Church. When we depend on the Spirit, things happen. We start seeing the wonder of His love multiplied in our lives. The fruit basket of the Holy Spirit is all the wonderful attributes that He has and that He wants us to adhere to.  Staying in the fruit basket means staying on board with who the Holy Spirit is. We are not called to jump out of the basket so to speak and wander around among the rotten and sour fruit of the world. The fruit basket of the Spirit keeps us in the right field, the field of the Lord, His kingdom. When we are cautioned to seek God’s kingdom first, we are invited to stay with the fruit. If you are ever wondering how you can stay centered in the Lord and how you can grow in Him, stay in the fruit basket!

 

 

I try to eat some fruit every day. It is good for my body. I try to eat the fruit of the Spirit every day. It is good for my spirit. Eating the fruit of the Spirit is embracing love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, patience, long suffering and self-control. The word fruit here represents the attributes that are characteristics of the Holy Spirit. They depict God very well. They are the personification of God. They embody the person we should aspire to become. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit so we could be more like Him. The fruit of the Spirit is in us. It can mature and it can ripen and reflect the image of the Lord. It is those attributes that make us look more like Jesus. The world needs people who look more like Jesus and not people who pretend to be Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit is genuine, holy and pure. Selflessness is part of the fruit and it is a powerful characteristic. God gave His Son as a sacrifice for the world. That is selflessness! We ought to give up who we are and let the Lord mold us and transform us through the manifestation of His fruit in us. It’s not about us. It is always about Jesus. If we believe that, we will partner with the Holy Spirit and stay in the fruit basket.

 

 

When I picture myself in the fruit basket, I see a tiny version of me hanging out in a basket that has fruit that look like giants to me. It is a good way to look at it. The fruit of the Spirit should be bigger than us. They should overtake us and make our ego become small so the fruit in us can spread the good aroma of the Lord. The fruit of the Spirit should be kept in its entirety and in its purest form. We can’t add man-made fertilizers to it and we can’t take its sweetness away. It should stand alone and be appreciated for what it is. God knows how to take care of everything and the ripening process should be entrusted to Him. We shouldn’t try to make the fruit leave the green stage too soon. The fruit will get its color and its sweet taste at the perfect time. We need to remember that it is there and that we can access it at any time even if it’s on a small scale for a while. There is no doubt that with the Holy Spirit the fruit will grow. Let’s stay in the fruit basket and praise the Lord for the good fruit. He knows what we need!

 

Suggested reading: John 15:5; Galatians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:12-17

 

The love fruit

Serving at church has been one of the highlights of my weeks this past year. It has opened my mind to considering other people’s perspectives and learning to put myself in their shoes. It has opened my heart to welcoming everyone. It has helped me recognize that Jesus loves everybody no matter who they are. Jesus is love and the mention of His name alone brings love more than the world could ever know. Jesus is the perfect example of service. He died on the cross as an act of servitude. He put you and me before Himself. There is no greater love. Now, He wants us to keep that spirit of service in and outside of church. We should be willing to serve and help people wherever we go. Serving others is following in Jesus’ footsteps. It is a demonstration of who He is. You and I will be the only Bible that some people will ever get to read. God’s love through us can change lives just like the Bible changes lives. Let’s nurture God’s love by keeping an attitude of servitude and of giving. Love is a fruit of the spirit and it can grow (Galatians 5:22-23). The more we water it, the more it will grow. How do we water the love fruit? Yielding to love and expressing love is the best way to water this fruit. Practice makes perfect. Let’s make it into a way of life. Here is a secret about love. Whenever you are going through a hard time, give in to love. Find someone who needs love. Find someone who is going through trials and help them. First of all it will take the focus off of your problem. Second of all it will bring great satisfaction to your soul and spirit. There is tremendous power in showing love. It will not only bless the person you are helping but it will bless you a great deal. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) so give love with a joyful attitude. Love exists inside of you and even if you don’t feel very loving, it is there. You might need to jump start it and it will come to the surface. Do your part and God will meet you halfway. God will take care of you. Take care of someone else and God will come through. Keep serving people as if you were serving the Lord. Great satisfaction guaranteed!Suggested reading: Luke 6:31; Luke 6:35; Romans 12:9; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:10