I can’t decide where I land on the funny-to-sad ratio of that bumper sticker.
Imagine if every Christian walked around totally at peace, full of joy and the trademarks of us all were faithfulness and reliability. Would there be more Christians?
It’s easy for us to look outward, “If those people would only act like Christians!” “If that TV evangelist wasn’t always asking for money.” “If only that pastor didn’t sleep with his secretary.” THEN the world would change its opinion about being Christian. Those things may be true but, that ain’t The Plan.
The Plan: Abide in the vine (Jn15:4), be transformed (2Cor3:18), let your light shine (Mt5:16) don’t worry about what others are doing, work on yourself (Lk6:42). Sounds easy, lol.
As we work on the above (a lifetime process) we will start to reflect God’s grace in our lives. As Moses spent time with the Lord his skin actually glowed, as we connect, abide and spend time with the Lord we’ll be transformed and the evidence of that will be the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22 “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
The Bible alternately likens us to a branch or a tree or a vine; connected to Christ, getting our sustenance from Him and, like a tree, producing fruit in keeping with our source. In Matthew 7 Jesus says that Christian imitators will produce bad fruit and His disciples will produce good fruit. That fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.
I recently asked myself the question, “Would the people that know me best attribute the fruit of the Spirit to me?” I hate to admit that I regularly fall short on multiple fronts. My 16 year old son probably would not tell you that I am the most patient person he’s ever met. As a matter of fact, I recently wanted to buy a shirt that said, “Can we hurry this up?” I have other issues too, really, I could go on.
This realization effected me to such a degree that I recently sat my family down and apologized to them and let them know that I was working on this. Seriously, what good is my faith if the people that know me the best think I’m an idiot? I picture God saying, “Yeah….he’s not with Me…” or as Jesus put it in Matthew 7, “22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
I want my life to reflect Jesus to others. My wife and children, who I cannot fool, should see the fruit of the Spirit in me to such a degree that they want what I got. My light should shine to the point that it leads others out of darkness. My life and my countenance should provoke the unsaved to jealously. I’ve got a long way to go but, praise God, I’m not where I started. I encourage you to join this broken vessel as I try to be consistent about my quiet time, allow His strength to be made perfect in my weakness and pray that my life reflects the fruit of the Spirit. C’mon!