The fruit of the Spirit is exactly that — fruit. If you want it to manifest itself in your life, you don’t strive after the fruit for its own sake, do you? That would be seeking the affect instead of the cause. Now as long as the fruit is connected to the tree/root, there is life there, but if you separate the fruit and pull it off on its own to analyze it and put it on a pedestal, the fruit then begins to die and it’s value dies along with it. So it is with the fruit of the Spirit. If we seek love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,… on their own apart from the God who’s charater they belong to, they will all in turn take on an elusive quality. In fact it could quite possibly lead more so to cold moralism or lifeless legalism if you do.
So why am I bothering to say this? I have been reminded in my pursuit of things like Patience over these last few months, that focusing on the fruit is not always the same as focusing on the root. I can be facing uncertainty in my life, but desiring patience to get through it for my own sake is not to be compared with striving after God and putting my faith and trust in Him and His will…truly resting in Him. I wanted to share one of the things in my christian life that I grew the most from looking back. I read a book called “Knowledge of The Holy” by A.W. Tozer, which was a study on the attributes of God. The book was great, but I’m really recommending studying God’s attributes. As we begin to awaken to the awesomeness and infinite sovereignty of God, it is then that we can begin to grow, for it’s then that it will be Him working through us. It is His fruit after all, the fruit of the presence of His Spirit that will begin to reveal itself in our lives…not something we pluck off of Him and take for ourselves.
I can truly begin to learn Patience by knowing that despite the fact that I don’t know what to do or am face to face with my own limitations in a situation, God, the object of my faith, is all-knowing, all-powerful,all-good, and limitless. That knowledge allows me to rest in and trust Him, thus knocking over my always eager to arise impatience and frustration.
Or love for instance. I may be struggling to love others or not feeling loved myself, but the knowledge of God’s love toward me in creation and the gospel, and the fact that He is immutable and does not change, allows me to rest in the truth that I am and will stay accepted in Him and my value lies there, not in the changing things of this world. His loving character can them empower me to love others because their value is in Him just as mine is.
It’s as we sit in God’s presence and learn about and look at Him that we start to become more like Him and are changed. Anyway, those were just some of my thoughts after Sunday School yesterday…we shouldn’t be learning about patience just so we can be more laid back throughout our day. We’re learning about patience because God is patient.