It’s a Process

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Galatians 5:22-25 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the self with its passions and its desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit. 

We have all heard the fruit of the Spirit before, and many of us can quote them without even batting an eye. I find it interesting, and brilliantly placed, to have this list almost immediately following the actions that lead us away from the grace of God. One of the challenges the fruit of the Spirit does for me is, I am reminded at how far I still need to go; but God is still working in us and through us.

Have you ever prayed a prayer likes this, “God, help me to be more loving (more patient, kind, faithful, gentle, etc).”? I have and I have changed the prayer. The reason I changed it is because whenever I prayed to be more loving or kind or humble, etc, I would have a very challenging next day. I was convinced the people around me were trying to make me angry or to do everything they could to break me down. But then I realized that I was being reformed inside to be able to handle situations and people. God was answering my prayer!

Something I think is important to think about is the word “fruit.” We live in a culture that says I want to have this now, I want to be this way now, you need to change now. This is a “now” focused time and we do not like to wait. We even ask God to make us more loving, more kind, more gentle, etc, but we forget it doesn’t happen over night or by snapping our fingers. Fruit is the product of time shaping the seedling and causing the bud to transform. The process takes time.

Being sanctified takes time and is a never-ending process until we enter the Kingdom Eternal. But God is always working in us and through us for this fruit to be formed in us. We should be patient and continue to meditate on God’s word daily and allowing his Spirit to guide us and transform us. The process will be long and painful; but if we realize what’s going on, we can most likely live more joyfully and extend grace more often because of the grace that has been given to you and me.

A good reminder of the pain and turmoil it takes for transformation to take place is to look at the cross. On the cross, Jesus was still transforming the world and setting it free from sin and death,.

#LiveFreeInChrist

Published by

Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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