"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." - Galatians 5:22&23.
Have you ever walked by an apple tree and heard it grunting? Or strolled by a raspberry bush and witnessed it frantically trying to spurt out more than leaves?
No? Me neither. Know why? Because they're just doing what they were created to do.
"Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good." - Genesis 1:11&12
The two greatest commandments require us to make conscious decisions and act on them.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”" - Matthew 22:36-40
I don't know about you, but I'm certainly aware of when I'm loving God with all my heart and loving my neighbor as myself. It requires my active participation, for sure. And if I were to be honest, at times, that participation takes effort.
But this past week, as things have been a whirlwind, I've found myself struggling to display the fruit of the Spirit. Striving with all my might to express love when I'm exhausted. To display joy when yet another room has been torn apart by a toddler. To remain at peace as deadlines rapidly approach. To practice patience as we wait for things that are beyond our control. To practice kindness, goodness, and faithfulness towards everyone I encounter. To be gentle when the shrilling screams of a tantrum are making my head throb. To exert self-control when I'm tempted to cry - or quit - or both.
But producing fruit shouldn't be a struggle. Not for a healthy tree.
"So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit." - Matthew 7:17
Tonight, as our daughter and I were saying bed time prayers it hit me: We don't have to struggle to display the fruit of the Spirit. We have to surrender so He can produce the fruit of the Spirit through us.
Maybe I'm alone in this. But I don't think so. You see, I think we all have a desire to do good. To hear Him say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!' Even in our weakest moments, when we're utterly in love with Jesus, our heart's desire is to be pleasing to Him.
This isn't about striving. It's about surrender.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30
So tonight, friend, if you're reading this wondering why it's been such a struggle... if you're questioning whether you've been bearing fruit that glorifies Him... if you've exhausted yourself trying to show less of you and more of Him... stop striving and simply surrender.
He doesn't need us to shine a light on Him, because He IS the light shining through us. When we surrender to Him, it won't be a struggle, because we'll simply be doing what we were created to do.
Are you striving? Or living surrendered? How have you seen God move through living a surrendered life? What are you striving for?
Here you will find the musings of a homeschooling, work from home, adoptive Momma of 7! Adventures in faith, family, adoption, and training up a tribe to follow hard after Jesus are spilled into these posts --- most often written with a cup of coffee in hand. I hope you'll stick around a while and find something - more likely SOMEONE! - that brings you hope!
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