The Holy Spirit is in me. Therefore, i should aim to produce fruit of this nature. Mathew 7:20 "Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." So if i do not look any different from the world, how will they see Jesus through me? For example, if i am swearing, and wearing the same provocative clothing as those who don't know Christ, why would they be interested in Him? They would probably say, we are the same, so why should i change, it is no different. Now, i am not saying as christain women we need to dress like nuns, but we do need to keep what is private, private as to not tempt others husbands, and out of respect for what God gave us. The "less is more" statement doesn't apply to clothing.
Lets break down the fruits, i want us to understand what we are called to do, and how learning this way makes our lives more peaceful and enjoyable. . . . .
Love; (a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another), this does not mean just other christians that we deem worthy of our love, but we are called to love others as Christ loves us. We didn't have to earn it.
Joy; (the expression or display of glad feeling), this does not mean, grin and bear it. No matter what circumstance we are in, if we pray for joy it will come. So many times i see christians complaining all day long. it's exhausting. if you can't find your joy, think of what christ did for you and rejoice in that.
Peace; (stillness cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension), i feel this one is really difficult to grab onto in this society. We are taught to keep going no matter what. Being still is hard. i am learning, that i have so many more thoughts going on in my head than i knew, because i am still and listen. Break out of the busy busy go go mentality, and be still you will hear his voice and find your peace.
Forbearance; (refrain from something; patient enduring), i have to admit, i had no ides what forbearance before looking it up. There may be things in your life that you love, but might not bring out the best in you, or you know God is calling you to leave behind/refrain from. Mine was reality tv (housewives), i realized watching these shows were not lifting my spirit, and nothing was Godly about them. i have had to refrain.
Kindness; (friendly feeling; liking). Super easy right? i have to say for me this tends to be the hardest with my family. i take out my frustrations on them. Unfair, and this is one branch of my fruit tree i have been pruning lately.
Goodness; (moral excellence; virtue; generosity), generosity doesn't just mean money, but time as well. How generous are you will your free time? if a friend calls and needs to talk will you cut her short, or listen? if a friend needs help moving are you generous? Maybe the church needs volunteers, do you expect someone else will do it, or share some of your time.
Faithfulness; (true to ones word, reliable, trusted), my husband is my best example of this. He will stick to his word no matter what! Especially as a mom i find i say ok, then change my mind. Sometimes this is out of our control, but my husband will make it happen. i find there are too few people that are true to their word. if you say your going to do something, do it.
Gentleness; (not serve; mild). Be gentle in all ways. Maybe God has given you a word to deliver to someone, be gentle when delivering it. Gentle in our thoughts, words, and all actions. Everyone is fighting their own battle. We might be the only christian they see, and we don't want them to feel judged.
Self- control; (restraint of ones self or ones actions), i am curious as to why God put this as the last fruit. For me it is by far the hardest to attain. Another one i am in the mist of pruning. i lack self control in many areas in my life. When yelling at my kids, i lack the self control to be an adult and stop. What can i say, he's still working on me, and i hope he never stops. Whatever area this is affecting you prayer works. i know someone who really wanted to quit smoking. He felt it was affecting his christain walk. He tried everything! Gum, pills, patches, they worked for a little then he'd be back at it. Finally someone asked him if he'd prayed about it. He thought it would be silly to pray for something so small, but he was willing to try anything. He did pray with an open pleading heart, and the addiction was gone! Thats not to say satan didn't ever try to remind him about it now and again, but he had faith and knew God had healed him.
i think there are always things we could be working on in our walk with Christ to strengthen us. it's a dangerous spot to be when you think you have it all figured out. There are no perfect christains, but never stop trying, don't get complacent. We always have more to learn. if we open ourselves us he will use you and your blessing will be overflowing. Trust me i've been to hell and back in many terms of the word, and he's even using me.