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Posts Tagged ‘fruit of the Spirit’

Double-EdgedSword

We all have it. Some more than others but, unless you live alone in a cave without any human interaction, you have influence with someone. How you use it can define your legacy.

First, a few questions…

  • Do you show kindness to the harried grocery clerk?
  • Do you drive as though you own the road?
  • Do you discipline your children with respect or anger?
  • Do you roll your eyes when asked the same question multiple times?
  • Do you belittle someone and say “I’m just joking?”
  • Do you give a little extra tip to the hard-working restaurant worker?
  • Have you ever paid for a stranger’s meal or coffee?

The influence you wield can encourage, exhort and enlighten. It can empower others to action…brighten the lives of the less-fortunate…embolden the spirits of the downtrodden. Your influence – my influence – is a powerful weapon for good, but unfortunately, it can also be used for evil purposes.

  • If you can encourage, then you can demean.
  • If you can empower, then you can reject.
  • If you can build up, then you can tear down.
  • If you can enrich, you can also impoverish,
  • If you can assist someone, you can destroy someone.

We can influence others with our speech or our actions. Usually our intentions are obvious in our body language or tone of voice. How you say something usually supersedes what you actually said. Emojis can offer intent but don’t replace the real deal…

So, be careful where you point that thing called influence. Like a light saber in the hands of a Jedi master, hone your positive influence skills. Be patient with others, give grace whenever possible, show love and mercy, demonstrate forgiveness, allow the fruit of the Spirit to hang low on your influence tree. Be salty and shine bright.

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fruits1

I love food. I especially love fruit and vegetables. Since I changed my diet pretty dramatically about 3 years ago, I’ve eaten a quart-size ziploc bag of raw veggies at almost every weekday lunch. And I eat an apple every afternoon at 3. My favorites are crisp, sweet and juicy…mushy apples are horrible. When I get a mushy or dry apple, I feel as though my day is ending on a bad note.

I found an article on the internet giving the Top 10 Reasons to  Eat More Fruit & Vegetables:

10.  Fruit and vegetables add color, texture and appeal to your plate.

9.  Fruit & veggies are nutritious in any form – fresh, frozen, canned, dried & 100% juice.

8.  They provide fiber that helps fill you up and keeps your gut happy.

7.  Fruit & veggies are naturally low in calories.

6.  Eating plenty of this good stuff may help reduce the risk of some diseases (like heart disease, high blood pressure & some cancers).

5.  Fruit & vegetables are rich in vitamins & minerals (another plus on the staying healthy bandwagon).

4.  There are an infinite variety of both fruit & vegetables…always something new to try.

3.  They are nature’s treat – easy to grab for a snack any time of the day or night.

2.  In their raw form, those fruit & veggies are fun to eat! Some crunch and some squirt. Some you peel and some you don’t.

And the number one reason to eat more fruit and vegetables?

They are nutritious and delicious!

By the way, on Sunday I’m giving the kids’ sermon again and this time we’re going to talk about the fruit of the Spirit. According to Paul, who wrote a short letter to a church in Galatia, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Paul says this fruit is produced naturally because we are living according to the way the Holy Spirit wants us to live. Just as a fruit tree doesn’t have to struggle to produce its fruit, so we shouldn’t have to strain to produce the fruit of the Spirit…it’s just a natural by-product of godly, Spirit-led decisions. And when you produce good fruit like the list above, then people will notice. They will see the fruit in your life and want to be like you or at the very least, find out why you are the way you are! So, if you belong to the family of God, your fruit will be evident, and as appealing to others as a piece of delicious fruit is to me! Don’t be a mushy apple!

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fruits1

I have a large basket on my counter that I try to keep filled with apples, oranges and bananas. Occasionally I notice an orange at the bottom will go bad, or a banana becomes brown, before I can get it eaten. And once in a while, I’ll bite into an apple that looks great on the outside, but is discolored and mealy on the inside. Yuck! No one likes rotten fruit!

The Apostle Paul knows all about rotten fruit. In Galatians 5, Paul talks about the fight going on in each of us. The fight between good and evil, between living according to our sinful natures and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide your life. According to Paul, “these two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” (Gal. 5:17b) And when you give in to your sinful nature, all kinds of really nasty stuff happens…things like idolatry, hostility, envy, outbursts of anger, jealousy, division, quarreling, selfish ambition. That’s what I call bad fruit. Attitudes, habits and behavior which make us look and sound pretty awful. But, the Holy Spirit produces the good stuff. The fruit of walking in the Spirit is (say it with me)…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That’s a beautiful bowl of fruit!

Later on, in his letter to the Philippians, Paul gives us a “to-do” list for walking in the Spirit, for producing the kind of fruit I want to be known for – healthy, plump, beautiful fruit – which attracts others to you and to your life lived for Jesus. I love how The Message says Philippians 2:3: “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

By choosing to walk in the Spirit, you’ll constantly be producing gorgeous fruit and tossing out the bad stuff. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be known for my rotten fruit.

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