Wednesday, 2 November 2011

By The Fruit

When I was younger, I used to think that God was up in heaven eating grapes while He watched our lives on a big screen TV. I figured that if He could see everything I was doing, and if He knew everything about me, then there must be cameras on me at all times. It then, somehow, stood to reason that for every good and bad thing I did, I got a check mark or an 'x' by my name on the whiteboard he held in front of Him. Where did I pick up these ideas?!

Over the years, I've come to realize that He is much more involved than I could have ever imagined. And He knows me more intimately than I know myself. Yet, when He invites me to dance with Him, I withdraw and protest, "But Lord, you don't really know who you're asking. I have stains and blemishes and I'll just embarrass you. You don't want to dance with me." As if He didn't know my faults. And He gently extends His arm to me and asks me to dance again, saying, "Sarah, I know those things, even better than you do, and I still want to dance with you."

This picture of an invitation to dance absolutely astounds me. How can He be so loving and gentle and pursue me with such patience? Especially if He knows how filthy and unworthy I am!
Why is it so hard to accept grace? For me, it's because I have to remove my pride, accept that I'm a sinner saved only by grace, and then accept that God is a bigger 'person' than me because I wouldn't have the love to do for others what He does for me. And that process is hard, because I'm a selfish, sinful person - I was born that way. (Reference to Lady Ga-Ga not intended.)

"The Lord works by the fruit of His Spirit." -Cal MacFarlane

And what are those fruit? They are found in Galations 5 starting at verse 22.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The Lord works by the Fruit of His Spirit. Therefore, what truly stands to reason, is that He is gentle and patient with us. There is no scoreboard, no cut-throat competition. He lovingly works through those characteristics and develops them in me.

By using the very traits themselves to work them in me, I experience what the fruit I'm bearing should look like in my life. I need to follow the Spirit's example. So whether I'm mentoring youth or teaching kids, I need to be participating in the work that God is already doing in their lives. I need to gently and lovingly come alongside in partnership with God. It is not my responsibility to make sure someone converts to my faith or my opinion of what they should be doing with their life. Instead, I need to bear the fruit of the Spirit, following the example of the Spirit's work in my life: patiently, gently and lovingly coming alongside and speaking truth.

God would rather dance with me than watch me from a distance. He would rather show kindness, goodness and self-control than their counterparts. My beloved works by His expectations.

Oh how He loves us so!

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

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