Walking in the Fruit of the Spirit

by Emily Cook

walking in the fruit of the spirit


A few weeks ago I took our daughter to the peach orchard. The blooms were so breathtaking that my camera couldn’t begin to capture their beauty. As I looked closely at the branches and each individual bloom, I began to wonder at how these delicate blooms could bear fruit. It truly is a miracle! If I were asked to pray to make a peach grow on a tree, I’d have to humble myself and say, “Lord, you made this tree, you alone know what it needs to produce fruit. Please provide it.” As He is the maker of the peach tree, He is also our maker. He knows what we need to grow in His grace and He alone is the one who produces the fruit of the Spirit in us as we depend on Him, yet we are responsible for putting ourselves in the proper position to receive it.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—the fruit of the Spirit—are marks of the believer who is surrendered to Christ. I believe it is a really good idea when we feel overwhelmed as moms to stop, look into God’s Word, and see what we are being characterized by—The Holy Spirit or the flesh. When love needs to pour out, does anger show itself instead? Where peace used to dwell, is there anxiety? Is kindness being substituted with a short harsh word? Instead of thinking about good things, is there a focus on the cares of this world? Is faithfulness replaced by worry, as gentleness falls by the wayside and haughtiness rushes in? Has self-control turned to selfishness?

If you find yourself erring on the side of the flesh, Galatians 5:24 holds the solution to the problem.

“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (NAS) In order to walk in the Spirit I must die to my flesh. He must increase, I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NAS)

I don’t know about you, but I’m weakest when I’m tired or I don’t feel well. As moms, we don’t ever get enough rest and we most likely put off our own health for the sake of our families. On days when I’m worn, I’ve often thought about Jesus and His time of temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). Just like us, Jesus was tempted when He was tired, hungry, and worn down by the enemy’s persistence. Unlike me, Jesus does not give an excuse of, “I’m sorry, I’m just tired.” The Bible says in Hebrews 4:15, Jesus was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. It also says in that same verse that He “sympathizes with us in our weakness” (NAS).

There is power in the Name of Jesus to overcome the enemy and enter into the fruitfulness that is the Spirit filled life. As Luke 6:45 says, “For His mouth speaks from that which fills his heart” (NAS). What came out of the mouth of Jesus when He was tempted? The Word of God. What should come out of our mouths when we are tempted to be hateful, anxious, harsh, worldly, faithless, mean, and selfish?

If He dwells in our hearts, His character should pour out of our mouths.

Just as God gives a growing peach tree water, sun, and pruning, so will He provide us with His Word, His light upon it, and the conviction we need to nail the carnal attitudes of our hearts to the cross so He can replace them with the fruit of His Spirit. In times of weakness, we must ask God to help us take those thoughts and actions captive and replace them with scripture.

For example, let’s say it’s been a long day. The baby has kept you up all night, you’ve been refereeing all day, the two-year-old is throwing a tantrum, and the school-aged-child wants you to do his homework project with him “right now” while you are simultaneously cooking supper. It may be tempting in that moment to shout, “Calgon, take me away!” or to raise your voice as you lose your patience from all the noise and demands in the room. Instead, when you feel that feeling rise up within you why don’t you try to stop, take a deep breath, close your eyes and repeat after me, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NAS). Focus on one child at a time and quietly redirect each of them until supper is over. If not, you’ll be like I’ve been many times before and sorry for not being a good example of letting Jesus shine through you in a tough moment.

Peaches grow on trees that are planted in the right conditions. Similarly, if we want to be Spirit-filled and desire for our children to be Spirit-filled, we need to have them in the right environment to see that modeled. Is there anything in our lives that is choking out the Word of God from taking root? Maybe we are too busy, have our priorities out of order, or are like Martha and are “worried and bothered by so many things” (Luke 10:41 NAS). Is there any sin that is quenching the Spirit within us? I heard a speaker say recently, “You can teach what you know, but you reproduce what you are.” So if I react in a way that is not of the Spirit, more than likely my children will, too. Peach trees produce peaches as impatient parents produce impatient kids. They will be prone to be who and what they see.

The desire of my heart is that my children will not see the façade of a perfect mom who has it all together and all the answers, but instead a work in progress. After all, practice makes progress is much better than practice with the empty promise of perfection. When you need forgiveness, ask it of them, even if they are very small. If there is an attitude in their heart that doesn’t look like Jesus, identify it in a conversational way by using the key words from the Fruit of the Spirit. If God has spiritually pruned you, share that with them. They need to see the Christian life fleshed out by their mothers. You are the one to be real with them. The more transparent we are the more Jesus can shine. May our homes be an orchard of grace, overflowing with the fragrance of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit as we allow God to work through our seasons of motherhood.

Verses for when you need:

Patience: Romans 5:2-4
Gentleness: Proverbs 15:1
Self-Control: Proverbs 16:32

Free Scripture Printable – Philippians 4:8

Free Scripture Printable

phil_printable

Emily Cook

EmilyCook

 

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