When someone says the words “Fruits of the Spirit,” my mind flashes back to a hot Summer day in VBS as a young child singing a song about them. Some of you may know this catchy little tune, but the singer lists several fruits and states that if you want to be one of them, you can’t be a fruit of the Spirit. With each verse, he sings through the nine fruits more rapidly each time, and I remember trying every day to sing through it just a little faster than the night before. To this day, I still have to sing the song to remember all of them.
However, for many of us, including myself, remembering them isn’t the problem. For so many of us, knowing isn’t the hard part. I know when I wake up every morning, I should get alone with God. I know when someone tells me about the pain they’re experiencing, I should
ask if I can pray with them. I know that when I feel anxious about a situation, I should give it to God. I know that when I feel lost, I should go to Him. The problem is, do I? Do I get up an extra thirty minutes early in the morning to sit at His feet? Do I step into a vulnerable place to ask someone to pray for them? Do I surrender all of my life to Him? Do I turn to Him in everything I do?
The fruits of the Spirit are always ours to have. “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 (Galatians 5:22-23). Read that list again. Sounds pretty good, right? What it sounds like is the recipe for a perfect life if I’m honest. So why don’t we experience these things more often? Why does God allow us to live so long outside the comfort of these nine things? And why can’t we keep them?
Think of it this way. It’s Friday night and I want pizza, (come on, who doesn’t want pizza on a Friday night?). I call Pizza Hut and place an order for three pizzas, and a few minutes later I go to pick them up. After taking them home, I sit them on my kitchen counter and look at them for a second. I leave them there and go back to what I was previously doing. A few minutes go by, and I remember that I haven’t eaten any pizza, and I still want some. I look at the counter and see the pizzas sitting there. I pick up the phone and call Pizza Hut back. This time, the conversation goes like this: “Hi! I picked up three pizzas about a half-hour ago, and I was just wondering if you could please let me eat them.”
It sounds pretty dumb, doesn’t it? But isn’t that exactly what we do? I have the pizzas sitting on my counter. I don’t have to ask anyone for permission to eat them because they’re mine. They were made for me, and they were given to me. We can sometimes treat the fruits of the Spirit like pizza on the counter. God has already given them to us, yet we pray prayers like “Lord, please give me my peace back.” He never took your peace, He never took your joy. They are sitting on the counter waiting for you.
However, please notice that when I wanted pizza, I called Pizza Hut. I asked for the pizza. Because I asked for the pizza, Pizza Hut made the pizza for me. But I had to go to them. Pizza Hut didn’t call me and say “hey Rach, want some pizza?” I had to physically go to Pizza Hut. The reason they are called the fruits of the Spirit is because they are found in the Spirit. They aren’t found in earthly things. They are found in the Spirit. So logically, to experience them, I must also be in the Spirit. I must ask Him to experience them. When I ask, He gives. If I am dwelling in Him, fixing my eyes above the waves, and sitting at His feet, He will give peace when I ask for it. He will give joy when I ask for it. He will give patience when I ask for it. It is His will that I experience them.
In my own story I remember one specific night when I was so hurt, so broken, and so lost. I remember praying “God, please just change what’s going on around me.” He didn’t. He didn’t wave His magic wand and make everything stop, because He didn’t want my circumstances to change, He wanted me to change. He wanted me to be okay even when the things around me weren’t. Why? Because I can. Because in Him, I can experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in the middle of the biggest storms. I have only to sit at His feet.
- Rachel Coldiron / Faith Like Birds Intern