Sunday, August 19, 2012

Real, lasting, biblical fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22)

I’m sitting at the hospital with my mom tonight. She went into the hospital on Monday for a “routine” brain surgery and had some complications. The complications have been frightening and traumatizing for all of us. Mom went from being a healthy, stubborn, independent adult to needing help to even get out of bed.  To say that it’s been a rough week for me and my siblings would be a real understatement.

Through it all though, I have been incredibly blessed by a true spirit of peace, joy, and yes, love for my stubborn, independent mother—healthy or not. The thing is that I know this is a peace that’s outside of me: a contentment and compassion that far surpasses my own abilities, and is truly the fruit of the Spirit who is living inside me.

Biblically speaking, the fruit of the Spirit is something that we as Christians should show. It’s a fruit that we in many ways can’t learn, can’t practice, can’t try harder, or even choose to “choose the right,” but instead, it’s a fruit that comes to us in the most unexpected times: in times when situations are beyond ourselves, in times that we just can’t do one more thing, and when we give our burdens up to God and let Him carry them.

John 15 talks about our relationship to God and compares it to Him being the vine and us being the branches. Branches are a great analogy because just like when the branch of a vine is disconnected from its roots and dies, the same thing is true of us. When we’re disconnected from God, we too wither up and die spiritually. John 15 verse five affirms that “without me ye can do nothing.” What's most important about this analogy is that a disconnected vine simply cannot bring forth fruit, no matter how hard it tries.

The Christian life isn’t a life of try, try, try, or even a life of choosing the right, but instead, is a life of God working through us. It’s a life where I acknowledge that the things that originate in “me” are messed up. What originates in me is anger, resentment, depression, hurt and more! (See Galatians 5 for the whole laundry list of things that I bring about) The Christian life on the other hand, is resting in the truth that One resides within me, who IS peace, love, joy and much, much more. It’s a life where that One acts through me to bring the fruit of His Spirit into my life, and really I’m just a conduit for Him. 

Thanks for your prayers for my mom, and also for me as I allow God to love her in His perfect way through me. (Doctors are optimistic that she’ll have a complete recovery but it’ll take some time).

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