Jan 18 1:48 PM
Jan 18 1:48 PM
Monday, January 18, 2021
Welcome to another week of Life Lifters. We hope this series is encouraging for you and that it really gives your day a 'lift' and a great start to the morning.
This week I want to talk to you about some of the chaos and difficulties that we've been seeing in our nation for almost a year now—the coronavirus, the shutdowns, people getting sick and losing their lives, quarantining over the summer. We really saw how divided our nation is over racial and political issues, too. We went through a difficult election cycle this year and it's still continuing with the most recent riots down in Washington, D.C.
So while there's a lot of chaos and strife going on in our nation, the truth is that so many of these things are out of our control. We can't control what happens, but there is one thing that we can control amidst the chaos, and that is how we respond to it. I want to share with you a passage that the apostle Paul wrote in the book of Galatians. He talks about something called 'the fruit of the Spirit'. If you look at Galatians 5 as a whole, the apostle Paul is comparing and contrasting a life that is living in a way that follows the Holy Spirit and one that is living after the sinful nature. When he talks about the life that lives after the Spirit, he talks about something called the fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22 it says, "but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control". These are not nine different pieces of fruit—all of these characteristics make up the fruit of the Spirit. It's one fruit, and this is the fruit that should be present in our lives when we call ourselves Christians.
If you think about how a tree works or how a plant works to produce fruit, there's typically a vine—and Jesus, in fact calls himself the vine—and then there's a branch that comes off of the vine. Jesus says that we are the branches and in order for the branches to produce fruit, they have to remain connected to the vine. That's living a life that follows after the Spirit. So Paul is telling us that when we are connected into that vine, the fruit that we're going to produce has the characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
So let me ask you, are you seeing these things play out in your life? As you think about the chaos that's going on, are we acting in love with the people around us? People who may have different opinions than us? Is there joy in our lives, or are we miserable? Is there peace in our lives, or is it full of strife and stress? Are we patient with people, or do we just cut them off and start talking on top of them? Are we being kind? That's a tough one, especially for the people that might live in your own household... oftentimes, we're not really kind to those people.
So are we being kind? Are we being faithful to our Lord? Are we being faithful to our commitments to people? Are we acting in ways that are good? Are we exhibiting self-control in our lives? These are the things that Paul is is talking about. These are the things that Paul is saying, as Christians, we should be seeing in our lives. So I want to encourage you today to examine yourself. Look at Galatians 5:22. Are you seeing these pieces of the fruit of the Spirit play out in your life and, if you're not, let me challenge you. You need to go back to the vine and you need to go back to Jesus. Are you spending time in His Word? Are you praying? Are you worshiping? Are you taking the time to listen for the voice of God in your life to lead you and guide you?So take some time today and think about that. Pray and ask God, "where do I need to go deeper so that I can see more of this fruit in my life?"