This year, I have been praying through Scripture. I have found that it centers my prayers in the things I know to be God’s will. A couple of nights ago, as I was rocking my eight-month-old to sleep, the Lord brought the verses about the fruit of the Spirit to my mind.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
It took longer than usual to get my baby to sleep that night, and I had lots of time to meditate on the verses and pray through each individual “fruit.” It turned out to be an especially wakeful night for my little girl (getting her first two teeth in two weeks’ time has not been fun!), and praying through these verses was really what got me through the night.
God, would You help me show my sweet girl Your love tonight?
Lord, please give me joy, even through my exhaustion.
God, I need Your peace in the midst of the ordinary life You have called me to right now.
Father, it’s taking longer than I thought it would to get this little girl to bed tonight; please give me patience.
God, help my sweet girl to sense Your gentle kindness in my touch tonight.
Lord, help me to be good to this little baby and care for her, even when my selfish heart just wants to go to bed.
God, help me to be faithful in my service to my family, especially my little one right now.
Father, give me a humble heart to serve my baby girl.
Lord, give me self-control over my unruly emotions; I know I could easily become frustrated in this moment.
The more I prayed through these verses and meditated on them, the more I began to realize that all of these characteristics work together to form the character that God desires to be evident in the lives of believers.
The next day during my little girl’s nap, I was reading Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. Interestingly, she mentioned the fruit of the Spirit, and expanded upon some of the thoughts I had had over the course of the night. The following is an excerpt from her book:
Rather than thinking of each attribute as a different kind of fruit–an apple, an orange, a pear, etc.–I remember that a single piece of fruit, like an apple, can have different attributes. Though it could accurately be described as crispy, sweet, smooth, red, round, and firm, it is still one piece of fruit. Similarly, the word fruit, in this verse, refers to one fruit with many attributes.
The Bible says “the fruit of the Spirit is,” not “the fruits of the Spirit are.” The attributes mentioned as the fruit of the Spirit are inseparable from one another, and they work seamlessly together to make us into the Christians God desires for us to be.
Sally Clarkson continued her discussion on the fruit of the Spirit by saying,
As you and I grow in Christ and dwell in fellowship and agreement with the Spirit of Jesus inside us, all of these attributes grow bigger and stronger, even as an apple grows from a blossom into a fully ripe apple that is ready to be picked. As God’s Spirit works in our lives, we will be progressively reflective of all He is.
Although the fruit of the Spirit carried me through that sleepless night, I know there are many times that these attributes are not evident in my life. However, as I seek to know God more, I know that I will continue to be more like Him. None of us will be perfect until we get to heaven, but our lives should show a pattern of spiritual growth.
When I was a teenager assisting in a children’s church class, one particularly exuberant teacher challenged the children to be “fruity for Jesus” as she taught a lesson on the fruit of the Spirit. Although it sounds silly, that saying always stuck with me. Let’s all determine to be “fruity for Jesus” as we seek to become more like Christ as we walk with Him.