This past week has been a blur and for all the anticipation I had for picking out my second verse for my memory verse team, I found myself frantically looking for one at the last minute.
I was determined not to “just” pick one, but rather find one that had meaning to me as significant as the last one.
My foggy mind drifted to kindness– prompted by the remembrance of a dear friend of mine.
Then the fruit of the Spirit flooded my mind.
English Standard Version (ESV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control;against such things there is no law.
These verses have taken on different meanings for me in different stages of my life…
As a child, I knew they were traits to aspire to, but didn’t attribute much to the “fruit” part beyond the cute cutouts of apples and bananas we would write them out on during craft time at church.
As a young adult– during my time away from church– I would struggle to identify with the general perception of Christianity.
And, at times I would throw the baby out with the bathwater insisting that the faith had taken a wrong turn and traded its genuine responsibility to its neighbors’ hearts and souls for political agendas and the preservation of a way of life.
Only after returning to the church–later in life–and studying the Word did this verse come to hold special meaning to me.
Ya see, I don’t believe that God intended for Christians as a whole to be known to those outside or inside the faith as judgmental, harsh or lacking in mercy– even though that is our reputation in some circles.
It is true that churches are made up of imperfect people and someone may struggle from time to time to show others love properly, but as a whole, love is what we Christians are supposed to be known for…(John 13:35)
And love just so happens to be the first fruit of the Spirit.
Jesus talked a lot about fruit as a sign of spiritual health… or rather what should come to mind when one encounters one with a Christian heart.
Galatians 5:22-23– my memory verse– reminds me of the outward signs of a spiritually healthy heart…the symptoms so to speak of having my heart in the right place…
Thankfully God has brought me around from the days of my youth… and my stubborn heart has finally gotten over letting a few rotten bananas keep me away from my huge and perfect God.
Luckily, since finding a great church, I have found it to be full of folks that seek the kind of heart that produces such fruit.
And, the kind of heart I want to seek as well.