I have a little journal. Actually, I have many little journals. Some are full, some are half-full and some are still empty. They are crisp, clean and waiting for my jewels of wisdom to mark their pages. In the age of digital media, I still love pen to paper.
This particular little journal contains doodle prayers. I draw or write on one side and then compose an explanation on the other side. It’s mostly chicken scratch, but deep meaning and heartfelt prayers can be expressed even by stick figures.
When I thumbed through the other day to remind myself what was in there, I stumbled on a page that I want to share with you.
One one side are listed the Fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness and Self-Control. Phrases under each word hint at a deeper meaning.
On the back of the page are the words, “The fruits of the Spirit are a perfect picture of what God is like.”
For most of my life I have had the unconscious impression that the Fruits of the Spirit were a list of characteristics I was currently not managing to be. Love, joy, and peace could be attained here and there, but once I got to patience, it pretty much fell apart.
The good news is that the Fruits of the Spirit are not a to do list. I can’t eek them out any easier than growing a grapefruit out of my ear. Fruit emerges on its own when one tends the process of the plant. When I was a child, I gardened with my dad. We tilled the soil and watered the plants, but neither of us actually produced a carrot.
According to John 15, our only job is to stay attached to the Vine, a life of abiding. Since these are the Fruits of the Spirit, then that means that God is all of these things. And since these are the Fruits of the Spirit, that means he grows and manifests them Himself, in us.
So let’s take a few minutes and read the phrases below. Use them as a prayer to acknowledge who God is. Let them sink into your heart. Receive Him as He is.
Then, as you remain in Him today, let the fruits overflow to those around you. A life of continual abiding has no choice but to bear fruit.
The fruits of the Spirit are a perfect picture of what God is like.
Love – Your very essence.
Joy – You have a deep sense that all is well.
Peace – You are relaxed.
Patience – You are willing to let me go at process pace.
Kindness – You are devoutly caring.
Goodness – From You flows what is best.
Faithfulness – I can count on You.
Gentleness – I am safe in Your presence.
Self-Control – You are abundant in mercy and grace.
Father, thank you for being who you are. I open myself to your goodness. Transform me according to your will. Share your love for others through me today.
Thank you. Amen.