“… the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance….” (Galatians 5:22) This is the fruit of the Spirit. It is not human but Divine. It is what Life of the Spirit bears. The degree to which we experience these gifts is, in some proportion, how much we experience Him.
Right now, there is very much to be concerned about in our lives. I know personally, and have heard from many, that this is one of the toughest times to be ‘getting through’ all the things that confront us. I was sitting around trying to make sense of much of that this past weekend, and I was a bit disappointed in the crushing thoughts coming to my mind. Why is all this stuff, this suffering and disappointment, in the middle of the creation of a loving God? Why do we not see just the snap of His fingers to make it all go away? A simple spoken Word from God could change everything. In the middle of that conversation with myself, I began to realize that in spite of so many pressures, our lives can be filled with these gifts. They are delivered to us as part of the contact between His heart and ours. Something about this is in the great plan of God, something we may never completely understand.
Joy, Peace, Loving-kindness, Goodness, Faith all are made for us. In some way, they all are unnecessary. By that I mean that had the heart of God not wished that they be a part of our experience, they would never have been here to experience. They are not naturally occurring in the universe. They could just as easily not exist at all. We would not have discovered them on our own. They do not exist separated from Him, but exist only because of Him. They have been given to us for our pleasure, for our comfort. While thinking about how they are unnecessary except as a part of God’s plan, it occurred to me how even we are unnecessary. You know God could have just skipped over the human part. He could have created a universe without human contact, without the creature at all. He could have made a world that had no problems, no grief, but He chose not to do so. Not only that, but He, Himself, chose to enter into the same sufferings, disappointments and pain through the entry of Jesus Christ into the earth. Something about ‘human’ was a desire of God. He chose to bring us into the picture, His picture, and while the absence of His Love leaves a darkness in its middle, still the presence of His Love brings all the blessedness that we receive as gifts to us. We are not necessary, but we are preferred. It’s God’s pleasure for us to have been placed here. He did not do that as a second thought, a whim. Something in the heart of God believed very strongly that all the frustration, pain and damage in this life were worth it for Him and for us. Something more valuable than we can understand is going on here, something held simply in the Wisdom of God. Importantly, He did not leave us alone or without his presence. At the very least, He gave us the Fruit of His Spirit to sustain us.
Without Him, none of those things exist. As they occur in our lives, they represent His presence with us. His finger prints are on each one. They are gifts to us, imagined in the Heart of God before the world was! Our choice is to choose whether to live in that Spirit or live apart. Paul encouraged us not only to live by the Spirit but also to walk in the Spirit. Get dirty in them. Get down and roll around in them, get them on our lives. To tap into the Heart of God will take prayer, not the kind you get at the Hallmark store, but one that is personal, heartfelt, and honest and with the expectation that God is on the other end of that prayer. This kind of prayer can jerk our lives around, cause our minds to come into agreement with the Heart of God. Trouble can find Peace, mourning can be turned to Joy, anger to Gentleness, fear into Faith. It’s becoming necessary for us that ‘whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things’ must become, not just a memorized scripture, but become a purposed daily attempt to overcome the world going off in the earth and in our heads. (Phil 4:8)
As mentioned earlier, Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance were not invented by us, they are not here because we did anything to create them. We see them in our lives because they were there from the very beginning. They existed before we existed. They are real but invisible. Christ Life reveals them to us; in seeing them we see Him. In the music we sing, in being a mother or a father, in our friends, in cooking, laughter, sunsets and vacations we run into them everywhere. They have been set before us as part of the Life that Jesus Christ purchased for us. We recognize them in our pleasure because God reveals them to us in the things He has prepared for us. I often tell people that for me, Life is like art. We can add the colors that we wish to add to the picture of who we are. We can add dark colors or bright. It can be full of midnight or full of yellow, white, and sky blue. What we place in our picture is determined by our desire of what to paint in our lives. The textures and the colors are very much the work of our hands, and God placed a palette of the fruit of the Spirit for us to use or not use in our painting. But what we add from that palette to our picture is a picture of who we are.
God lives through us. He has chosen to enter our humanity and walk around in our lives. A part of what we do is a part of what He does. He is not on some distant planet, a deity separated from us, but lives as a mediator for us and a companion with us. He has presence in our hearts and in our ordinary day. Everything that is dear to us as human has its origins in His heart. Those are all gifts to us. Why we love life is because the Fruit of the Spirit has found a place in Life. The things we cherish are found in Him and His Spirit and the world cannot destroy them, but we can choose to ignore them, to reject them.
Why can’t we constantly live in the fruit the Spirit bears? There is evil in this life, a spirit against the Love of God, and it tries to destroy the union between God’s stuff and us. Simply, we can be deceived. We get sold a bill of goods by the great liar. We get out of sync with the heart of God and become worldly rather than tapping into the Spiritual. It’s not that we are separated from the Love of God and what He has prepared for us, it’s the perception that we are separated that causes us so much trouble, gives us a sense of aloneness. Separating us from what God has done for us is the end game for the anti-Christ spirit in the earth. However, if we continue to believe that Life is about Him, celebrating and praising what He has done for us, we will discover more of the life that was prepared for us. We are so easily moved away from who He is and what He has done for us. Knowing that God has prepared a Life both in this one and the next, while it does not isolate us, it does insulate us from the challenge of having our Life stolen from us. Remembering Paul’s prayer of Ephesians 1: that the ‘Father of glory may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened that you may know what is the Hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe…’