Thursday, March 13, 2014

fruit bearing life

Lately conviction has been poured out on me in copious amounts.

I have felt compelled at times, to prove myself.  To prove that just because I am a woman, doesn't mean I can't be strong, smart and capable.

I have also hated myself.   I have hated that I am vulnerable, lighthearted, goofy and sometimes just a full blown idiot!

In my weak moments, the enemy has convinced me that I need to fix myself and become a person that I am not.  

That in order to protect my fragility, I need to be more harsh and defend myself in a way that could potentially intimidate others and make them feel that I somehow possess some sort of power to obliterate their heart at the drop of a hat.

I want a steel door, with a guard and maybe some dragons at the entrance, to keep watch and protect me from hurt.  Unfortunately, I am going to have to be the one to create these dragons, doors and ferociously intimidating guards.

And you know what?  These things are created from anger and bitterness.

So to properly manifest the desires that I have, I would need to cultivate things in the soil of my heart, that would inhibit a greater work. 

And. that. is. wrong.

That is not the fruit of the spirit. 

The spirit of Jesus Christ that resides in the soul of my being.  The spirit that whispers sweet truths to the ears of this heart, that burns red with a heat that is being fueled by pain, pride and anguish.

Right before Paul talks about walking in the spirit, he tells us... "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."  {Galatians 5:1}

That is probably my favorite verse in almost the whole Bible.  And even though my favorite verse changes almost daily, that one will consistently be one that brings tears of sorrow and joy to my eyes.

We. are. free.

Free from death, sin, bondage, slavery, oppression, fear, doubt, anger, bitterness and any other thing that is the result of sin.  

So after Paul tells us we are free-- that we are free to be and belong, free to live and to love, free to love-worship-honor-serve-obey-follow and rest in the bosom of the Savior who suffered all for the sake of our souls.  Our souls! 

After Paul establishes that truth, he tells us to walk by the spirit and then lists off the fruits of the spirit to us.  The fruit which shows Who we belong to.

"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}

Paul lays it out for us in simple words.

l o v e 

j o y

p e a c e

p a t i e n c e

k i n d n e s s

g o o d n e s s

f a i t h f u l n e s s

g e n t l e n e s s

s e l f-c o n t r o l

This is life and love.  This is what it means to be redeemed.  It doesn't matter how well I can debunk a falsehood or how well I argue my position on preferences, or what kind of job I have.  What matters is if my life is bearing fruit. 

If  I am showing evidence of a heart planted in the Lord, cultivated by the Great Shepherd and watered by the fire of the Holy Spirit.  

That is what matters.  And this?  This love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control?  They should be the air I breath and the foundation of my entire soul's existence.

Life isn't about promoting ourselves.  It isn't about defending the weakness that we stare at every day or about gaining some sort of place that we feel we deserve or need.  It isn't about exalting our name, boosting our egos or padding our pride.  Because to do most of these things, there are people we need to be putting down.  There are crevices in our flesh that we are feeding, and before we know it, they will own us.  They will dominate the broken ground that Jesus has worked to tenderize for the work of His love, and they will callous all tenderness and beauty that was being wrought in a heart that was purchased with scars, blood and flesh tears.  

So surrendering to this beautiful work... surrendering to this beauty that lies at the foot of the cross and that beckons us to open our hearts to let love do it's great and passionate work, is one of the most challenging things we will ever face.  It means slaying our flesh and putting to death the passions of our sin that scream at us to indulge them and to nurture them in the core of our soul.  It means loving Jesus and having a faith in Him, that can never be shaken.  

Because guys, having Him break open the cell that your soul would otherwise be a prisoner in, is the greatest and most fulfilling rescue that will ever be done for you.   

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