Fruit of My Spirit
Fruit of My Spirit
I 'm a mess. The highlights in my hair hide a pre-gray drab. One hip and one knee have been replaced and another knee should be. I'm overweight and under the illusion that I'm going to wake up one morning to a younger, skinnier self. On good days I whine and complain. On bad days I whine and complain more. I'm impatient whenever life has the audacity to thwart my plans. I get frustrated whenever life presents a detour or a hurdle. At one point I planned to live to 125. When I remembered that the Bible says Moses only lived to 120, I decided on 119. I can't imagine God needing me around longer than Moses.
Life has its challenges. Life is a challenge. I know my existence is about more than this body. I know it's not about gray hair, failing body parts, and excess pounds. I know the important stuff's on the inside, but honestly, I'm not so sure that the inside stuff's any prettier. Perhaps I've been expecting God to act as my own fairy godmother, ready to pop into the scene any moment now with a twinkle in His eye and a wand in His hand. I've been waiting to be tapped ever so gently on the forehead and magically transformed into a loving, joyous, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled delight in His life, adorned in a nice white ensemble, cute shoes, and fresh nail polish. In thinking that, I've not only trivialized God's love and forgiveness, but I've missed the magnitude of His mercy that's been shared with me over and over again. I've overlooked the fruit of His Holy Spirit that's already a part of my own spirit in all that I do and all that I am.
So now what? Filled with His Holy Spirit, do I step back from life as I've known it? Do I need to tiptoe around the messiness of each day, avoiding the dirt and grime of my daily existence? If not wearing a white ensemble, something off-white? With His fruit, will I have this new aura about me that parts the seas and calms the storm within?
From an early age, I've been told that I am a child of God. I was brought up in the church. I went to Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. I attended youth group. In high school and college I worked part-time in the church office. I was active as a child, as a young person, and as an adult. That being said, I've still wondered at times about my place in God's family and God's place in mine. When the lights are turned out and I've left the church building, is there really a spot in God's heart for a defiant child? In His divine plans for a self-centered teenager? In His family for an adult who gets tired, impatient, frustrated, and distracted? Just having to ask tells me that I've truly failed to grasp the enormity of God's love and mercy. And today, I stumble through life trying to understand a gift that has no measure, picking myself up, only to trip on the very next hurdle. Bumped and bruised I've failed to see God's incredible ability to make the best out of the worst, the most out of the least, using forgotten moments, selfish intentions, and regrettable mistakes all for His glory.
I think I have a pretty good understanding of God's gift of unmerited love and complete forgiveness intellectually. Like any good Sunday School student, I could put together a well-worded essay on the tenets of faith; my head's got it. But my heart's not so sure. I realize now that I've rested in my intellect without finding comfort for my soul. I've reacted to life with the frustrations of a child, the hurts of a teen, and the failings of an adult. I have buckled under the weight of God's law and found it harder and harder to stand tall in the light of His love and grace. I've let my own plans and ambitions trump God's will for me in my life. I've i