Fruits of the Spirit

5 May

Conviction is brutal sometimes. Mostly because it taps into who we REALLY are. Wounds to our flesh always hurt, but they’re temporary. Even if they last a lifetime, they will one day be no more.

But our spirits – who we REALLY are – the eternal part of us that lives forever, when THAT takes a hit, we feel it, deeply.

Conviction is ALWAYS good though. Even if it causes us to grieve and weep because we see how awful our sin is, and how much it hurts the Father, it always brings about growth and change! So, instead of resisting conviction, it’s best to embrace it and let it change us for the better!

That being said – I’m wrestling DEEP conviction right now.

When I look at the fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-24, I am challenged to understand what I’m really reading.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Oh the contradiction to claim the Spirit lives in me, and I live by the Spirit, but to openly know I wrestle with these things.

One thing is true: If I am battling to live out these fruits, I may full well still be a Christian, but I am DEFINITELY acting in my own strength, with my own insight, my own wisdom, my own opinions and for my own gain. If I am acting in Christ and through Christ’s power, the unfathomable power of the Holy Spirit, I will be able to act on these fruits!

Let’s talk about LOVE – Do I really love others? Do I care for them deeply enough to call it love? When someone hurts me, do I STILL feel love for them? Am I only loving when I feel loved in return? Can I give when I don’t feel like I’m being given to? Can I pray for and love my enemies?

JOY – Am I happy in all circumstances? Do I act like a shrew when things don’t go my way? When disappointment happens, do I keep my joy and trust in the Lord or do I lash out and throw a pity party? Do other people’s opinions steal my joy?

PEACE – Do I have an unshakeable peace that in all things, no matter what the situation, God is in control? Do I believe God can be trusted? Do I live like I understand that God is soveriegn? Or am I restless? Full of worry? Lost in anxiety? Always stressed out? Constantly coming up with plans B, C, D and E so I can get myself out of any mess I’m in? Do the trials of this world shake me to my core?

PATIENCE Am I willing to allow others to make mistakes? Do I freak out if what I want done isn’t done right away? Do I stomp around the house or pout if my husband doesn’t answer me, or follow through with a task I asked him to do in the time frame I want him to? Do I put “pressure” on God to answer me in MY timing?

KINDNESS Do I speak with kindness to others? When someone is nasty to me, can I maintain a cool composure and speak and act kindly anyway? Do I go out of my way to be kind intentionally, even if it costs me time, money or energy?

GOODNESS Do I live a life full of goodness? Do I leave a trail of positive crumbs? Or can I be known for things that are bad / hurtful? Like gossip, slander, judgmental heart, irritable personality, drunkenness, foul language, hurt feelings, addiction, immorality, or more?

FAITHFULNESS Can I be counted on? Can I be trusted? Do I keep my commitments? Do I speak first, and then later change my mind? Do I follow through? Am I faithful to God? Do I claim to love Him but live a life that goes against His Word? Do I have other “gods” before Him? Am I an idolater at heart?

GENTLENESS Do I have mercy? Can I be compassionate, even for something that I don’t fully understand? Is my first reaction gentleness or judgement? Am I harsh or rude to people I disagree with? Or can I be loving in the middle of having a different opinion?

SELF CONTROL Do I have any restraint? Do I give into the desires of the flesh? Can I say NO, or am I a “yes man”? If I’m in a crowd of many people and they all choose to do something I think is wrong, will I join in, be silent, or take a stand? Even when it’s just me and someone else, will I give in to gossip or bitterness? Am I owned by freedom or addiction? Do I control my habits or do they control me? Do I find myself saying “It’s just who I am” often because the truth is, I don’t want/won’t change because I have no self control?

I don’t know about you, but this pierces my heart. I think you all know this, but I write this blog FOR ME and FROM MY CIRCUMSTANCES, CONVICTIONS, and LIFE LESSONS. I don’t write it FOR YOU, AT YOU, or TO YOU.

I LOVE for you to read along, because the chances that someone out there is right where I am, was, will be, is extremely likely! Satan uses the same bag of tricks on us all. And being private too much wastes our testimony to help and grow with others.

But I just want to remind everyone that if you feel like this blog is AT YOU – then it’s time to stop reading. Because it’s not. And you’ll only be hurt by it instead of grown by it.

Practical Application:

Really sit down and look at these fruits of the spirit and compare them to the way I live.

Do I need to change?

Ask God to help – and find an accountability partner to hold me to the changes!

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6 Responses to “Fruits of the Spirit”

  1. peacefulwife May 5, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Kayla,

    For so many decades of living as a Christian, I was living in the flesh and in my own strength. I didn’t even know I didn’t have the Spirit, because I had not tasted it before because I was cherishing so much sin in my heart. So I didn’t have God’s fruit in my life – and I didn’t even realize it. ūüė¶ That is how blind I was.

    When God began to show me the depths of my sin and I started the weeks and weeks and months of repenting and embracing repentance, humility and conviction – He amazed me.

    I was seeking only to obey God and to turn from my sin – but a few weeks into that journey – after the 5 weeks of digging out and confessing pride, pride, pride, pride and idols – I began to experience God’s peace for the first time. It blew my mind! Oh! THIS is the peace God was talking about. WOW! I don’t EVER want to go back to living in my own strength and power and worrying and trying to control things EVER again!

    God changed me! His Spirit gives me victory and power I NEVER had on my own. Of course, if I don’t abide in Him, or start to put something above Him,or I cherish any sin even now, I will quickly be in a ditch. There is NOTHING good in me on my own. But when He allows me to carry His treasures of heaven around in this body – this jar of clay – He does amazing things through me somehow. He can and does give us victory! I’m SO THANKFUL!

    I long for His Spirit to be in control ALL the time in every circumstance. I know if I have Him – I have EVERYTHING! And I know that if I don’t have His Spirit and power – I have nothing.

    It’s amazing – when His Spirit is in control, I see all of those fruit of the Spirit growing and increasing every day. It’s ALL Him. None of it is me whatsoever.

    How I pray that He might fill me every day and use me any way He wants to. I am willing – I yield to Him completely – seeking His glory and His will alone.

    I pray that all believers in Christ might hear God’s voice, completely repent, embrace conviction, die to self, pick up our crosses and be living sacrifices for His greatest glory!

    Beautiful post!!!! God’s conviction brings pain, but then it turns to joy and peace when we embrace it.

    THank you for sharing!!!!!!

    • Kayla Gulick May 6, 2013 at 6:45 am #

      You’re welcome!

      It is a beautiful thing when God works in us and through us. ūüôā

  2. Beth May 6, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    Thank you Kayla! I forwarded this onto Tyson. We just finished a Forgotten God series at church based on the Holy Spirit and Tyson is starting Fruit of the Spirit this next weekend. This post helped me think more deeply into where I am lacking. love ya girl!

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