Are we lawless? Or are we deeply loved by our great God above?
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
May I me ask again, are we lawless or loved?
Has a situation squeezed so tight you exploded onto everything and everyone nearby? Did sweet fruit spill from you or did bitterness escape, souring the situation like bitter orange?
Honestly, I’m so thankful God sends His Holy Spirit to guide us.
Remember squeezing an orange as a kid? Ripe fruit and sweet juice spill out splattering everything. Fragrance explodes, senses overload, taste buds tingle and joy appears with this simple experience, unless bitter fruit is in the bowl. Then the juice is unpleasant, nasty and disagreeable.
The pressures of life are tremendous. Much like choosing the bitter orange from our beautiful fruit bowl, we choose unpleasant, nasty and disagreeable acts or words.
Or do we opt for the sweetest of life’s fruit as we refocus, renew and revive to live, thrive, and impact lives because we are loved?
Yet, we are squeezed:
In traffic – and we kindly gesture to the other cars to proceed at the 4 way stop sign, correct?
At work – as deadlines loom, we joyfully divert the gloom with a timely word of praise and thankfulness to those on the team. Or do we squeeze harder still; hurting others and holding them back?
With homework – we patiently guide our crew to completion (and an ice cream celebration for the big science project!) or does impatience appear, creating delays and damaging relationships with those dearest to us, our own flesh and blood?
In marriage – as duties pile up, we lovingly squeeze the hand of our beloved, gently pulling him in. Or does demand squeeze harder, commanding our way – or the highway – and shoving him aside?
The need to control surfaces as self-control flees and the chasm widens – yet again. Our back is turned on the one we love(d). One. More. Time. And we wonder, will this never end. Negative. Oh, so negative and lawless.
Or do we choose to faithfully offer gracious words that are sweet to the soul and soothing to the senses. By this fruit, we salvage sticky situations – and our marriages.
The list continues as we face the day. Do we decide to stamp our feet, crushing sweet fruit and drawing out bitterness and rebellion? Or do we carefully consider our words so God is heard as we speak to our situation with genuine love, seeing and saying it like He does?
I confess, I’ve picked bitter fruit more often than I care to admit. Yet God calls you and me to produce fruit – sweet fruit filled with the aroma of Heaven.