Monday, June 11, 2007

Fruity Christians

If you're like me, and you've been around Christians for any length of time, you know there are some that seem a little "fruitier" than others. I'm not talking strange here, folks! Don't misunderstand! (Although, now that I think about it, there are some...well, anyway.)

Let me explain. There are Christians that seem to just overflow--dare I say ooze?--with the fruit of the Spirit. They always seem to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind... No matter what trial they're going through, they seem to be able to walk in the Spirit. The truth is, though, that none of us get it right all the time. Some of us just get it right more often than others!

I've heard the illustration many times that if you're carrying a glassful of milk, and someone bumps into you, milk will spill out. Not orange juice. Not Pepsi. Milk. Why? Obviously, because that was what the glass was full of. Similarly, whatever we are filled with is what comes out when we are "bumped" with the difficulties of life. If we spend most of our time in front of the tube, then what we are viewing there will spill out. If we spend our time viewing things in magazines, online, etc. that are gratifying to the flesh, then that's what will come out. If we spend our time listening to music filled with profanity, well, that's what will come out.

I realize that if you work some place where everyone around you is using profanity, that makes it difficult to keep those words out of your mind and speech--especially when something makes you angry. I went to public school. Trust me. I remember.

However, there's a difference between that and purposely leaving a program on TV that is full of profanity. I think you see what I'm saying here. It is more what we choose to do that I'm focusing on here.

In contrast, if we spend more time fellowshipping with those of like precious faith, watch uplifting TV programs (not necessarily "Christian", but wholesome, anyway), spend time in God's Word and in His presence, etc. I believe we will see a difference in what comes out when we're "bumped".

When I was younger, I tried to focus on one fruit a week. I told myself, "This week, I will be more loving." I figured that if I practiced that for a week, it would become a good habit in my life. Then I would be able to move onto the next fruit, see that established as a habit, and so forth. As you can probably already guess, that didn't work. No matter how hard I tried, someone would say or do something that caused me to react to them in a very UN-loving manner. Harsh words would be spoken. Attitudes would come forth that were not very Christlike. I just couldn't get a grasp on that loving thing so I could move onto the next item on my list!

The reason is very simple. In order to have the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, it must come from the Spirit! We must be walking in the Spirit on a daily basis, allowing Him to work out the things in us that are opposed to the Spirit. The more we allow Him free reign in us, the more we will see the fruit of the Spirit in us. Then when those tough situations arise, we will see the good fruit in us spilling out.

It is so much easier to allow the works of the flesh to rule. It's an easier path to walk. But in the end, if the fleshly desires are all that fill our lives, we will reap the "reward" of that lifestyle. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Thanks be to God that He desires to put those godly traits in us, implant them deep within, and work them out in our lives.

Let's work together to be fruity Christians! :o)

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would...But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another." Galatians 5:16-17, 22-26, RSV


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