Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit

Ha! This must be my unit on trees! "Unit" that's such a teacher word ;-).  Last post we ventured into the world of forbidden trees. This week we talk a little bit about the fruit!

So with this being the season of apple picking and apple cider, I started to think about apples. By the way, does anyone know why red apples are a representation of teachers??? I think someone told me that students used to give teachers apples back in the day as gifts...When I was in the classroom I mostly received gift cards, so I know not of this "apple" gift world. AND I'm off topic! But if someone knows the answer, please let me know.

Anyway, I am going somewhere with this apple thing, stick with me! :-) As I thought about apples, red to be specific. I started to think about my apples, or my fruit; what type am I producing? As I wander through this wilderness, check out my previous post here, I wonder if I am the person that I think I am? If I tell someone I am an apple tree would they believe me? Would my fruit actually be apples? Or do people see something else? This started my journey of searching my character. Lately I've been praying to God to search me and find those things that are not of Him.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. 
Psalms 139:23-24 NLT

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22&23). So as I do an inventory of my life, I now start to look at my actions and words more carefully. As I pray, I ask God to allow more of Him and less of myself. Before I speak, I try to "Be still..." (Psalm 46:10) and allow Jesus to work through me. I know if I'm working from God's strength my actions will align with the Fruit of the Spirit. And if I'm working from my own weaknesses, my actions will be a little...different.

Some of my most popular posts deal with relationships. As I search on the internet and listen to questions that people have, majority want to know when they will find "the one." When is God going to send that man? Why is it taking so long? We look around and start to compare our lives with others..."What!!!!! she has a man????" Ha! You know we all do it! Stop pretending as if you don't have those thoughts!!! :-) All of these things that are clearly not of God but of our own insecurities. I believe it might show one of the reasons we do not have that relationship/life that we so desire. Here is my question to you (something that I asked myself as I started my journey)...Would you marry someone like you? And before you stand up, shout for joy, give yourself a high-five, roll your eyes and neck, and scream out YES---make an honest assessment and answer truthfully. Look at you and ask, could I live with someone like me? Am I the person that I desire to be? Don't get me wrong, I know that there are only certain things you can learn about yourself once you are married, but just look at the foundation of you- look at the basics.

If I had to answer this question a year or so ago (if I'm really honest less than that), my answer would have been no. To make an accurate assessment you can't think about "the you" when life is good. When nothing is going wrong. Think about "the you" when someone hurts you, when you are upset, or mad. Think about your actions when life is throwing salt in your wound and now answer the question... Would you marry someone like you? Did you know that the inner you surfaces when you are angry? Sometimes evil is sooo embedded in our heart that we can only see it when life is uncomfortable. Some of you might answer that even when you are angry you still show all the Fruits of the Spirit and that is awesome. Know God has perfect timing and wait on Him! For those of you that sat down after you stood up shouting how perfect you are...know that "confessing" is the first step to recovery ;-).

The truth is we are all dealing with sin in our life, that's why we need Jesus. However when Jesus begins to work through us, as we begin to spend more time in His presence (reading the Bible, going to church, fellowship within a small community of believers, private time in prayer), and when we allow ourselves to be still and wait on His command- we truly start to see a transformation-from the inside out. The Spirit will begin to convict you of those things that are not of Him. I am cautious of a person who says they spend a lot of time with Jesus and knows the Bible by heart, but yet their actions show something completely different. This isn't me judging, it's me understanding the character of God and recognizing when it isn't Him (Matthew 7:16-20). That doesn't mean that person is doomed AND that is SO not my job to determine that person's path. However it is important in order for me to have proper discernment. We ALL fall short of His glory, but are we moving toward better? The goal should be to invite God to work His "magic" on us day by day.

I honestly struggle with "Amber's way" of responding to things versus the way I know God wants me to respond. Each time I fail, I pray to God, ask for forgiveness, and ask for help with my character, so that I can be the person He desires me to be.

It's now getting easier for me to distinguish between people that are good for my life and those that may try to do harm or keep me from being what God has called me to be. It's very simple---apple trees produce apples. People that allow the Spirit to work in their life, will produce the fruit of the Spirit.

Okay, let's wrap up the point of this post!!!

As God prepares me to be the woman He intended, He is also preparing my mate. However, if I don't allow God to fully work through me---my mate may PASS ME BY! If He is a man of God He will know to look at the fruit on my tree! If it doesn't align to that of the Spirit- it might derail or delay the plans that God has for me. So instead of spending so much time thinking about God sending us our mate- we should be sitting at the feet of Jesus, learning His ways and asking Him to help us be the person He has called us to be! We all have a different journey, so remember to not look at the life of your friends, coworkers, and/or neighbors. God's journey for you is specifically for you. We have to stay focused; even if Susan (random name) is married and she seems to be just as evil as the devil (that wasn't nice) that isn't your concern, pray for her, but don't feel as though God isn't working/thinking about you- everyone has a different story and hers may or may not be one that truly includes God. We don't know the plan for their life...What God has for you is for you! No one can take it and if they do, it wasn't supposed to be for you! #StayFocused

Stand by the Man with the master plan (in my free time I write rhymes---no I don't) HA! I will certainly keep my day job ;-).

Until next time...What type of fruit are you producing?

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