fruit of the spirit

this is a free printable!! click here to get to the original designer to download

how many times have you heard that the best way to really embody the fruit of the Spirit, is to practice them and make them a habit in your life? practice patience and you will eventually be a patient person by nature. practice kindness and eventually it will just come naturally to you. the old me would have nodded along and wholeheartedly agreed with this.

it sounds like a promising plan, until you have resolved to practice self-control in your eating, and then it flies out the window at the first sight of chocolate that afternoon... and you feel defeated and you wonder why you can't just stick to your resolutions. does that sounds like anyone else, or is it just me?

it's all part of that striving life, performance, practice makes perfect. it's sounds okay, and it's not that it's wrong, but it's exhausting and it leaves no room for grace or relationship.

Source: be-the-change.tumblr.com via Aly on Pinterest
and the truth is that the "fruit of the Spirit" is just what it sounds like: fruit. of the Spirit. it's not fruit of our striving, it's not fruit of our trying-really-hard, it's not fruit of our resolve or our will. it's fruit of the Spirit. that means it comes from the Spirit. it's not something we can manufacture of our own determination.

this concept first hit me hard when i was studying Beth Moore's "Breaking Free". teaching about peace, she wrote:
Peace can be possible in any situation, but we cannot simply produce it on demand. In fact, we cannot produce it at all. It is "fruit of the spirit"
and then it was really solidified for me in reading Grace for the Good Girl. [you guys have got to read it. i'm not finished, but if you read this post, you already know what i think]. Here's what Emily wrote, so much more eloquently than i ever could:
I spent many years trying to be who I thought Jesus wanted me to be. I used the fruit of the spirit as the ultimate good-girl checklist. My senior year in high school, I began each week by writing a different fruit of the spirit in my planner with the intention of working on that particular characteristic that week. JOY. This week, I will work hard to be joyful. By lunch on Monday, I was done. Failed. The Christian life was officially impossible. Rather than admitting I couldn't measure up to the standard God had set, I thought I wasn't trying hard enough.... I had an inaccurate idea of the fruit of the Spirit. Rather than a checklist of things we are to work on, the Galatians 5:22-23 list is a beautiful description of a Person who lives in us... only Jesus can be like Jesus. And he wants me to trust him to be ho he is in and through me. 
what it tells me is that there is an easier way. there is a free-er way. there is a simpler way. i don't have to practice anything except constant communion with my Father. because God is all about relationship, it's no surprise to me that He designed it this way. the fruit of the Spirit isn't something we can practice or maintain or master. simply allowing His spirit to move through us; that's what we can practice.

submitting, yielding, surrendering, pouring out so that His Spirit is free to pour in, daily and constant fellowshipping with Him... that's what we can do. He'll do the rest.

it occurs to me that trying to manufacture this fruit of our own volition is a really cheap substitute for the real thing: Him doing it through us. don't you think? i don't want to miss out on the relationship God wants to have with me, because i thought it would be easier to figure it out on my own. it's just too hard and i will most certainly fail. we'll fail either way [whether we're trying to do it ourselves or allowing Him to do it] because we're human, but at least in communion with Him, there's Grace. abundant and sufficient and all-surpassing Grace. in our own worlds, there's not much Grace, least of all for ourselves.

can we let go of the striving and just "hide in His presence" [Grace for the Good Girl, p139] and allow Him to live through us? that sounds infinitely sweeter to me, like living water washing right over my tired soul.

linking up with casey for "on your heart" tomorrow...

** oh, and a very warm hello to everyone who's new around here! thanks so much for following! i assume most of you came over from Jami's this week? oh well, i'm glad to have you, however you got here!


  1. i so WANT that apple print! love it so mcuh. also, i have to say one really powerful thing i learned about the fruit of the spirit is that in the original language, the word "fruit" is singular. It is ONE fruit. you either are yielding it, or you are not. you can't try to work on a bit of it, and not the rest. and that's why it doesn't make sense to strive for producing it at all. when we are walking closely with Jesus, that single fruit, in ALL its respects, just flourishes on its own. great post.

  2. What a great post! you write beautiful.

    God bless <3

  3. I could use a little patience over here. Well, to think about it, a little kindness would not be too shabby either. : ) Great post!

  4. The more God grows in us, the more we naturally become the fruits of the Spirit... right?? Goodness, I need some patience! :) Found you through casey!

  5. This was heavy... But I love what you had to say. Honestly I can say I have never looked this deeply into the fruits of the spirit. I'm definitely not saying they all come naturally to me. Oh heck no. :0)

    But really, you are right when you say that in having a close relationship with our God, the fruits of the Spirit will begin to become present and obvious in us. It's not something we can really "work on." It's a relationship we have to build.

  6. What a great thoughts, yes you could use a little patience. God knows everything!

  7. This post is so true and such a good reminder. Love your blog and your heart for Jesus so evident here. I'm a new follower!