Fruit of the Spirit
“Consciously choosing to trust God’s promises opens the door to fully experiencing the depth of God’s love, grace, and His very presence in the world.”
~Mary C. Neal, M.D.
One of the famous promises God has made to us is that we can experience the Fruit of the Spirit.
“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… If we live by the spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” ~Galatians 5:22-25 NRSV
This is quite a promise. As I look at the list of fruits given to us by Spirit, by God, I see a list that most of us strive to experience. It is about a way of living, making connection with the God within and living from that connection the best we can. Let’s take a look at what happens if we accomplish this goal:
Gifts come into our lives – just like fruit is a gift from the trees. When we are in the flow of this fruit we experience affections for others. We feel exuberance about life. We feel the basic holiness that permeates all things and people. We do not need to force our way in life; it flows naturally.
Often it helps to define the words that are key to the meaning. Looking in the dictionary, we are given other clues.
- the state of bearing, product of growth
- the effect or consequence of an action
- contains seeds for new growth
- from Latin spiritus meaning “breath”
- often refers to consciousness; aware of something within oneself
- concept of a person’s soul in contrast to body
- an animating or vital principle held to give life
All of us are in a process of becoming, of being the person we envision. All of us are growing in our understanding of what makes life work to produce love, joy peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The seeds for new growth and understanding are within. “Rich soil” produces growth toward our goal.
We are two part beings. We are human – but we also have a soul – the Spirit part of us. We walk in two worlds. This understanding produces more growth. For years I wondered, how does all of this work? As I took seriously this reality, things changed. Did you ever hear, “You are in this
world – but not of it”? Most of us have been taught by our culture to just use the human part of us. Yes, the human part experiences fears and doubts, struggles and sorrows, but also love, joy and peace. We might say not enough of the fruits are being produced. The “rich soil” comes as we combine the joys of being human with the gifts the soul provides. It is a balancing of the two parts of us. As we become conscious of our soul, the seen and the unseen begin to work together. Communication with God is always possible. The connection is within, not “out there somewhere”! It’s real!
The communication system is like radio waves. We cannot see or hear them, but when they are tuned in to the right waves, we hear the music and the talk the radio is producing. That happens to us. It is a challenge to identify the messages. We can feel them first. Feelings are the language of the soul.
The messages feel like our imagination produced them, or like we are having a conversation with ourselves. Sometimes new information or ideas pop up, and we say, “Where did that come from?” The more we pay attention, we begin to believe. The more we believe, the more we experience this communication. The more we connect with the Spirit, the more we bear fruit!
Set the INTENTION to connect with God each day. Make time to pray, read inspirational material, sing, take a walk, listen to music, meditate, and sit in nature… whatever works for you – there are many ways to connect to God. The tools we need are built into us. We do not need to create them. WE NEED TO CONNECT TO THEM. The tools that are within – given at the time of creation, are – Love, Peace, Strength, Courage, Gratitude, Humility, and Divine Love! I believe the heart is the seat of connection.
Remember, we are each unique. We were created to be that way. The world would be very boring if we were all alike. The world needs the gifts that each person poses to make life work. Therefore, we are in different places in our understanding of who we really are. Be patient with yourself. Some have no sense of themselves other than a human body with a mind that operates their body. Some have dedicated their whole life to expressing the spirit part and balancing it with the human part. They are connected to God’s inner guidance. There are people experiencing all possibilities of that balance. God loves us ALL. Think of it like children. We love them just as much when they are just beginning to walk and get into all kinds of trouble, or at three as they begin to talk back to us, as we do when they are making us so proud when they have learned to be kind to others. God stays in touch with us. God helps us ALL, in all stages.
When I was writing, I realized that the order of the 7 Fruits of the Spirit, brought more meaning.
By acting with kindness to others,
being generous with the talents we have been given,
as we practice gentleness with ourselves when we “fall short “,
and patiently and faithfully start anew – as many times as it takes –
we gain the self-control that allows us to feel God’s Presence
and then the love, joy and peace –
flow from within, out to the world!
“Grow deep roots to harvest rich fruit! When your roots run deep, you cannot help but bear the fruit of the Spirit”