You Asked For It: Fruit

you-asked-for-itThis is another installment in the series where you asked the questions and I give the answers. I don’t have all the answers but you can at least be entertained by my dancing around the questions. You can see the other post in this series here. We have had a ton going on the last few days so I decided to keep it to one question today.

Kris Overtoom wants to know:

What fruit of the Spirit has God developed the most in you while being a missionary?

Galations 5:22-23(NIV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I read a school of thought that the fruit of the Spirit is one fruit with these many characteristics. Whether it is one fruit or many I tend to be the “before” picture of many of these things not the bright shiny “after” that people strive toward.

Full-time mission service is a magnifier. It magnifies whatever weakness or sensitivity we may have. It increases the pressures we feel. It’s like a boiling pot. We put that fruit in and turn up the heat. If we manage to keep moving in the right direction we won’t get burned. The heat removes the excess (water) and impurities. In the end we become an extract of fruit. A jelly or jam if you will. Jesus Jelly. You heard it here first.

When I came on the field I thought I had myself pretty much together. I thought I was living the fruit. I have found that each of these things work in a chain linked to the other.

  • I found my love was/is conditional. My love for others was mounted to a sliding scale based on criterion outside of the their need for a Savior. Do they please me in some way?
  • I found my joy to be in the same state as my love. I had joy before because it was a part of my happiness. However, when that happiness was/is removed my joy flees with it.
  • My peace has been battered over the last four years. Again, its base was faulty and was not of the sort to endure. I’m learning a new peace.
  • I didn’t have much identifiable patience before. The conditional state of love and joy puts a boot to the fanny of patience and replaces it with arrogance. If I’m right then I don’t have time for your ignorance.
  • I am kind. I like to be kind to those who deserve it. The fact that I think I can determine who does deserve it negates the kindness.
  • I am not gentle. I am human sandpaper sometimes. I am loud and boisterous. I probably wouldn’t be called a smooth operator most times.
  • Self-control has been my nemesis since the beginning. Here even more so with my American-I-Know-a-Better-Way arrogance. It’s simply a different culture. Our way may not work here and my road rage, heavy sighs in parking lots and willingness just to by-pass those in charge will not make anything better.

To borrow the current Christian pop-culture lingo, “I’m keeping it real, transparent, raw and authentic” today.

What characteristic of the Fruit of the Spirit do you need to work on?

18 thoughts on “You Asked For It: Fruit

Add yours

  1. To be honest, I need to allow God to work on ALL these area’s. To think I accelerate in any of them would only be fooling myself. Daily, I must submit to God and have Him prune my garden so someday I can have ” Jesus Jelly”.

    My pastor’s been doing a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. This past week he talked about gentleness being “power under control”. That really hit home with me. So did your comments about your fruit developing. Sounds like something I’d write.

    Interesting, I post on the Fruit today as well. 🙂

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  2. Jesus jelly. Sweet.

    Patience has been cultured in the crucible of homeschooling, though I still have days of less patience, particularly when feeling overwhelmed with the number of things needed to be done. And patience while driving is in worse shape, particularly now that the snow birds have arrived who can’t drive (more than) 35. I think I really need to ask God to exchange some of my sarcasm for kindness. Or maybe I am thinking of gentleness.
    There is hope for me yet, because God won’t forget all the plans He’s made for me….

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    1. That is a great thought to ponder. I have wondered similarly that maybe the fruit is the by-product of the
      Spirit filtered through us. Like sunglasses or tint on a window. My glass is just too dirty.

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  3. Oh how I remember the days when my pastor would go on for hours about the fruit of the spirit, only not to have any himself. Yes, the church has done me in to a certain point, so to speak. I’m working on it!

    I loved the way how you stated that ‘full time missionary is a magnifier’, that was putting it mildly. Great post and something to think about.

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    1. Thanks for the comment and compliment. The last phrase is a huge compliment “something to think about.” That is what I want from blogging, to figure it out together.
      I scooted over to your blog and will be back.

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  4. Deep thoughts, mission Ken. It’s cool to see your humility and sincerity come out in this post.
    Patience is one of my biggest faults. I’m fine when everything goes in my favor, but if the cards go the other way, it doesn’t take much to set me off. Definitely one that require some work and attention for me.

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  5. Pingback: Leading Post for the week of 12/17/12 | Leading Everyday

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