October 19, 2012

got fruit?

 Galatians 5:22-23 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Did you catch that??? It is the Holy Spirit that produces all of that good fruit in our lives!! It's not something we have to conjure up on our own.  Left on our own....human nature is selfish, broken, needy and sinful. 
Always looking out to preserve self. 
There in lies the battle. Flesh vs. Spirit.  

I was praying with my kiddos the other night and I prayed for God to make them instruments of peace, love, and forgiveness.  That they would learn to discern those GOOD things that are already inside them and allow God to use them as a vehicle His fruit can flow through.  That they would live the kind of life marked by the characteristics of the nature of God. Then when people looked at them they would see GOD and come to know Him better because they saw His character displayed.  

It seems impossible when we are constantly bombarded with and harassed by the things that threaten to rob us of that fruit.  Suddenly Joy becomes replaced with sadness. Peace is traded for unrest, fear and confusion. Unforgiveness and bitterness has stolen our ability to love and give freely and openly. We hesitate to give.  Our impatience with other people hinders an opportunity we had to minister and we are robbed of that moment to be an instrument of goodness and grace.

We already have everything we need to live a life chocked full of goodness---- a harvest of righteousness!!  

2 Peter 1:2-4, 6-8 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.  In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God's promises.  Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the midst of turmoil. We CAN have peace.  When we've been hurt we still have love to give. Fruit enough for us and spilling over in abundance to share. He promised an abundant life for those who walk after the spirit and stuffed it full of GOODNESS!!!!  It's IN there.  and it's a CHOICE. Without any effort from us but to deny the flesh and walk after the spirit......the HOLY SPIRIT will produce good stuff in US.  And those are the things we need pertaining to LIFE and godliness.  It's HIS job to develop GOODNESS in us as we obey......I choose *JOY*.  I CHOOSE to be an instrument of PEACE and LOVE and GOODNESS.

Max Lucado wrote a relevant and beautiful reminder about CHOICES. From the moment we wake up we are presented with choices.  I choose what brings *LIFE* to ME and those around me.

The Choice by Max Lucado

IT’S QUIET. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.

In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose.
I choose love . . .
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I choose joy . . .
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical . . . the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I choose peace . . .
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I choose patience . . .
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I choose kindness  . . .
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
I choose goodness . . .
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
I choose faithfulness . . .
Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.
I choose gentleness . . .
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
I choose self-control . . .
I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day.

If I succeed, I will give thanks.

If I fail, I will seek his grace.

And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.