Monday, March 12


When I was a kid, my grandmother had a small wall hanging in her bedroom. It was a collection of tiny wooden plaques attached to one another like a long train heading up an imaginary track next to the door frame. Each piece of wood had a single word painted on it, "love" and "joy" and "peace" and some others. It was years before I connected that decoration with the verses from Galatians 5.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I read that list again this morning as part of my devotional time. I realized with dismay that my life more closely resembles the previous verses most of the time. Paul pointed to actions which make our focus on our own pleasures painfully obvious:

... hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy ...

And yet, it doesn't have to be this way. I looked at the "fruit of the Spirit" verses again. What would my life look like, I considered, if I were to truly allow God's Spirit to shine through me?

Living my life with Christ at the center, I have the power to
  • care for myself and others with God's own heart
  • delight in God's attention to every detail
  • recognize that God holds me by the hand, no matter what my circumstances
  • relax in God's perfect timing
  • make life easier and more pleasant for those around me
  • choose God's best in every situation
  • remain true in my commitments to God, to myself, and to others
  • temper my anger and my frustrations with God's grace
  • be deliberate in my actions and reactions
Frankly, that sounds like a much nicer life to live than the one I'm generally inhabiting. Which makes me question, why don't I simply allow God to work His power in me, all the time? Instead I'm continually giving my heart to Him only to wrest it from His hands, screaming like a two-year-old, "Mine, mine, mine, mine!"

What exactly is it I think I'm gaining?

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