Several years ago, I went to lunch with two ladies I worked with. Somehow, the subject of religion came up. They believed there are many ways to heaven. I spoke up and told them what I believe — Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and God raised him from the dead on the third day and believing this is the only way to heaven. One of the ladies thought this was a very judgmental viewpoint and that Christians are self-righteous. I remember laughing and saying, “I don’t think I am better than anyone else, but the truth is, I need Jesus to behave myself because I am a mess without him.” I remember all of us laughing and feeling everyone instantly relax. Then, I remember thanking the Holy Spirit for working through me.
God has changed me through his Holy Spirit so much since I first believed, but I can honestly say the most significant changes have come in the last five years. Please, don’t get me wrong – I struggle with sin every day. But guess what? God has blessed all believers with his Holy Spirit and with the fruit of his Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is what has made the difference!
When I am stressed, hurt, angry, hungry (or hangry, as my family says), I have learned to pause, cry out to Jesus, and ask for help. As a new Christian, I would react instead of pausing. I would try to fix and manage instead of trusting. I would make a mess out of everything. I would lose my peace immediately. People would look at me like I was crazy. I would feel like I was a failure and experience so much self-loathing. I learned that I had to take time every morning to spend in his Word, meditating on it, praying, listening, and I had to pause. This weekend Ben defined a pause as a temporary interruption in order to redirect my attention and the power in the pause is remembering THE ONE who is there WITH ME.
If I wanted Jesus to work through me and demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit to others, I had to change the way I reacted to stressful situations. I learned to pause and take a deep breath. I learned to prepare my heart and mind to lean on God when difficulties came. I choose daily to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I repent for the times that I put other things before him. I choose to trust God and place my mind on the spirit which leads to life and peace.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I was so excited to have an opportunity to write on the fruits of the Spirit. I recently completed Beth Moore’s: Living Beyond Yourself and Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit. This study helped me really understand the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus exemplified love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I am so grateful that the closer I grow to Jesus, the more fruits of the Spirit he instills in my life. I can honestly say, I have more peace and joy in my life now no matter what is going on.
Which fruit of the Spirit do you need the most help with?
Do you believe God can not only save you but transform you? How can you prepare yourself to let the Holy Spirit work through you?
Really study the fruit of the Spirit. Imagine how the Holy Spirit can transform you. Write out a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to change you by teaching you how to pause and lean on him. Make a plan to pause when things go wrong. Stop and focus on Jesus instead of the situation, asking him to fill you with his peace.
Jesus, you are amazing! Please transform me to be more and more like you. Help me to love others as you have loved me. Give me peace and joy no matter what my circumstances are. Give me the patience to deal with difficult circumstances. Help me to always treat others with kindness and gentleness. Let your goodness and faithfulness shine through me. Please give me self-control in all situations. I love you so much, and I thank you for your Holy Spirit in me and for the fruit of your Spirit. Amen.
This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.
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