Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” ~Glatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
As we read this list, it’s quite clear that these traits should be descriptive of those who follow Christ. But living them out in daily life is much easier said than done. Unfortunately, it can be easy to put these qualities on our Christian-living “to-do” list without actually realizing that they flow from a deeper source: the Spirit. Now, that might seem obvious since they’re called “the fruit of the Spirit,” but sometimes the obvious is worth exploring.
The Water Cycle: Receive
Imagine that your Christian life as similar to the cyclical pattern of water that connects the atmosphere, land, and oceans. Rain falls and fills bodies of water and runs off into the earth. Water then evaporates from the surface of the earth, rises into the atmosphere, cools and condenses into rain or snow in clouds, and falls again to the surface as precipitation.
This analogy, like most, is sure to breakdown if we overthink it. But take it at face value, with precipitation symbolizing the Spirit and the earth and oceans symbolizing us. As we receive from the Spirit, we give back to the world around us, and so the cycle continues.
The Vine and the Branches: Remain
Perhaps better than this analogy is the one Jesus shares with His disciples in John 15:1-5:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Striving vs. Being
There’s no doubt that cultivating and living out the fruit of the Spirit takes some intention and effort. But the elements that often get overlooked are those that require us to do very little: receiving and remaining. If you’ve been frustrated by a lack of one of the fruits in your life, take a moment and reflect on how you got to this point. The path to Christ-likeness might simply require more time sitting and being with God and less striving and doing.
As a prayer ministry in Chandler, AZ, we know what it’s like to feel stuck. It happens to all of us. Sometimes when we’re stuck, we need to step outside our normal routine and invite a different force to act upon our lives. That can look like counseling, talking to a friend, consulting with a pastor, or any number of other things. At Agave Sozo, we’ve found that many people have experienced freedom and movement in their lives through inner healing prayer. If you’re curious about what these sessions are like, give us a call today!