No, I have not been in the water too long! I was thinking today about Fruits of the Spirit-in particular patience. It is a fruit that I believe is not well understood until parenthood. Then I thought about all of the Fruits of the Spirit found in Galations 5:22-23.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I thought about these qualities in terms of Jesus’ message on the Vine in John 15:2
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.
One can make the conclusion that in order to gain these Fruits of the Spirit, we must be subject to God’s pruning, a process that requires some pain on our part.
This weekend my husband and I were Abingdon, VA for 2 reasons–for my cousin’s wedding and for our 7th anniversary. I researched the town and was happy to discover they have a farmer’s market on Saturdays. So we attended that humid morning and Jeremy bought me some beautiful purple flowers, like bluebells I suppose. The lady selling them told me they last up to 3 weeks–nice investment. Now, I don’t have a black thumb, and this morning I noticed some blooms that were brown and wilting. I pinched off the heads without even a thought, knowing that removing them allows the water and nutrients to go to other healthy blooms and buds.
The same could probably be said for the spiritual pruning process. As God grows us, he prunes away all that does not glorify him. These could be habits or personality traits or actions passed on from our family–it doesn’t matter where they come from. To be rid of them should cause us joy that we are being refined. But rarely do we rejoice in God pointing out our flaws. It causes us pain, and therefore we become bitter or angry at God. For me, years later I look back at areas God pruned and see with understanding what I needed to be rid of so that I could allow God to become stronger within me.