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)
The fruit of the Spirit is familiar to most. Even if we can’t quickly name them all, we know the basics of what they are. We know that these things don’t come in our own strength. They’re cultivated by God. We can feel bad about not being well-developed in one or another, or we can wear some as a badge of pride because we see how far we’ve grown. Many times, we want instant growth. We get a glimpse of how far we might still have to go and wish we had an instant-grow capsule, the kind that dissolves in water and quickly grows in size and shape. But it’s not about us and our comfort. It’s about God working and showing through us. He provides, because He knows.
I grew up on a beautiful farm, which meant (1) there were always adventures to be had and (2) there was always work to be done. The hills close to our house involved both: adventure and work. In the winter, the hills were fantastic for sledding. The summer we cleared the north hills, they were a lot of work.
The bulldozers came in to knock down trees and pull up root systems. We’d check on the process when they weren’t working, and I was amazed to stand beside many tree trunks large enough for me to walk through with barely a stoop if they had been hollowed. It was quite a process of transformation to watch. The hills of scattered trees I had known became almost unrecognizably bare. I noticed details I had never seen before. And it wasn’t long before I knew those hills more intimately than I ever thought I could.
After the large machinery was done, it was our turn to scour the hills. Since farm machinery would be working the hills, planting and harvesting beans and wheat in the coming years, we had to pick up what the large equipment couldn’t get and the farm machinery shouldn’t get. So, our trekking began.
We walked back and forth across the width of the hills. We worked as a team (most of the time), picking up rocks and broken pieces of root systems and throwing them onto a trailer. It was dirty, exhausting work. Every now and then, we’d find a treasure—an arrowhead or a fossil—and we’d gather around to examine each other’s discoveries. We’d soon go back to the monotonous search for rocks. The land was rough, a result of being pulled apart. We weren’t working on level ground. What looked like stone was often a clump of dirt and when kicking a clump of dirt, we often found stones. Walking on uneven ground was tiresome. Repeatedly bending over and picking up debris was exhausting. The adventure of the process quickly wore off as we returned to the hills day after day.
But the process was necessary in order to prepare the fields for the next thing: crops.
We often are in the process of clearing something of the past in order to prepare for the future. It’s essential we do the work. Sure, we’d rather be enjoying the thrill of sledding or consistently finding treasures. The filth and exhaustion isn’t as much fun as the adventures, but it’s a critical part of the process. We can complain and whine. We can sit and pout. Or, we can get to what needs to be done.
When we’re obedient in letting God work in us to cultivate the fruit of our lives, it’s about Him. He knows the best process and timing, and He gets the glory along the way. But we have to yield in order to get the best yield. We have to let Him prepare our lives for the next season. But His purpose is worth every experience along the way.
Dear God, I thank you for Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for not only providing for me but setting the example of every good thing in my life. You live it out in who You are. You give me an accurate inspiration for the possibilities. You are beyond my wildest imaginations, and I’m passionate about living my life fully for You.