Galatians 6:22-23 (NIV): “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Jesus is quoted in Matthew 7 as saying: “By their fruit you will recognize them… every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” He was speaking on false prophets, but I think His words apply to all Christians. We cannot judge whether a man is a Christian, as only God knows his heart, but it is smart to judge whether a man is good or bad based on his fruits and his speech. How else could we protect ourselves and our children from wolves in sheep’s clothing?
I want people to see me as a good tree bearing good fruit. I am imperfect and I do sin, even though the Spirit dwells within me. I use the Galatians scripture as a personal checklist to help me visualize areas in my life that need work. Occasionally, I revisit the scripture and honestly scrutinize myself to see what kind of fruit I’ve been bearing recently. While there will always be room for improvement for each characteristic, I focus my efforts on particular areas at a time, maybe two or three. It’s easier to hone in on a couple than to tackle them all at once.
Right now, I’m struggling most with patience and self-control.
I’ve been impatient with Nate, though I don’t know if he’s noticed. I rarely voice my impatience and dissatisfaction with his behavior, but I know that a brewing heart is not a patient heart. Sinful thoughts/feelings, like my impatience, are like a poison, even if never voiced. They cause spiritual and emotional harm, obviously, but can also cause physical pain if hidden long enough. I need to replace this impatience poison with a remedy and my chosen antidote is to sing hymns. Hymns should take my mind from my unhappiness with my husband and focus it on God. I am going to try this and see how it helps.
I’ve also been struggling with self-control. Now that I am out of school and home all day, it is much harder to control my snacking habits and tendency toward laziness. I’ve done much better with keeping busy than with eating less this week. My plan of attack here is prayer, as it has helped in the past. I have just been lacking in diligence in this area and the same old problems have snuck up on me. Prayer here works marvelously as I’ve found that the Spirit renews my diligence in have self-control. Sometimes after a bit of prayer, my “hunger” (which was really just boredom, I’m sure) disappears and I become antsy to get busy doing something!
I’m going to work on patience and self-control. I encourage you to think about what fruit you bear–is it good fruit or bad fruit? If someone secretly followed you around for one day, would it be obvious to them that you are a Christian?