Our own will cannot align us with or be obedient to God’s will. Only God can do that. Our own will cannot bring us to the deep relationship of a child to Parent with God. Only God can do that. Our own will cannot discern our purpose, our created purpose. Only God can do that in us. Our own will cannot put us in the mind of Christ. Only God can do that. So what can we do in this spiritual journey? Three things. 1-We can be willing to go wherever God would take us. That takes a stillness within us so that we can identify the voice of God’s Indwelling Spirit among all the other inner voices. And we listen to that voice and obey it in all things. 2-we can continually lift up to God those parts of ourselves where we fall short of God’s will, inviting him to transform those parts. 3-We worship him, placing him first in our lives in everything that we do.
The result of God’s healing, his transforming grace in our lives brings us into his kingdom. If we’re willing to faithfully follow him, offer our shortcomings to him and worship above all else, we will live in the kingdom of God where those dwell who have been gifted with the fruit of the Spirit.[Galatians 5:22-23] As we are healed and transformed, we move closer and closer into a relationship with him. He has pruned the good in us so that it will be more productive and lopped off all unproductive branches. This is God in the role of our creator, gardener, and transformer. He is bringing us to our created purpose so that we can help bring in his kingdom here on earth. All we have to do is to be willing to go along with him.
Towards the end of that transforming process we naturally express the fruit of the Spirit as our own— love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—wherever we go, to whomever we meet. The fruit is the end product of a long season of maturation.
We cannot have joy in our hearts until we have grieved thoroughly all our losses, until we can hold joy and sorrow at the same time, until we can see beauty in the midst of suffering. Until we can love.
We cannot be at peace until we let go to God all that troubles, worries us and angers us, until we totally trust in the Lord, until we can accept his love for us. Then, whatever happens to us, we need not be afraid. We rest in the arms of God knowing fully that he has our best interests at heart, that he will fully take care of all our needs as we need them. That whether we live or die, we will be fine.
We cannot have forbearance or patience towards ourselves and others until we see with our heart’s and mind’s and soul’s eyes. Until we give up to God all that angers and upsets us, all that troubles and distracts us. Until we can love.
We cannot have kindness until we let go of our egocentricity, the me-first attitude we human beings so promote. We cannot have kindness without love.
We cannot be good until we release our rebellious nature to God and he transforms it into love. Until we let go of all our selfishness and see all men and women as worthy of God’s love. Until we can love them all as well.
We cannot be faithful to God and to our own true nature until we give up the world’s ways to God to transform. Until we detach from all we’ve been taught by our families, our schools and our culture. Until we are free to be who we were created by God to be.
We cannot be gentle until we lift up our harshness and judgment and critical nature to God to transform. Until we acknowledge Christ in every human being regardless of religion, nationality, race or education, regardless of any differences. Until we can treat others as God has treated us.
We cannot exercise self-control until we let go of our ego-centric ways to God for transformation, until we can see another’s needs as equal to or greater than our own. Until we can easily set aside our own desires, knowing that God will fill our needs.
For, you see, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control add up to love. For one cannot be at peace unless he can love. Nor can one love without patience for or taking joy in other human beings. Love consists of gentleness, goodness, kindness and faithfulness. And there is no love if we cannot set aside our own needs and desires in favor of another’s. So the fruit of the Spirit defines love in all its aspects. The fruit of the Spirit is the nature of God and his love for us which is to be born in us.
So God as the Pruner of our rebellious, self-centered nature is the one who brings us to the greatest of these which is love. It is only when his love pours out of us as he has poured it into us and on us that we can know that we are living in the kingdom of God here on earth.
Questions to ponder over the week: If expressing the fruit of the Spirit as it flows from God to us is the end goal of our journey in Christ, what is the next step that I have to take to be loving in this world? What are the practices that I need to follow that will take me closer and closer to God? What is mine to do and what is God’s?
Blessing of the week: May we be the people of God who faithfully follow the Holy Spirit wherever he would lead us. May we turn over all our guilt and shame to the Holy Spirit to heal. May we be the people of God who trust him above all else.
News from By the Waters:
All five of the videos about the Exodus story are up on YouTube, plus two more. Here are the url’s to access them:
Part I: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKfouN0PNH0
Part II: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyvRsnqYrdg
Part IIIa: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZU32Y09UN8
Part IIIb: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHqKay89kjE
Part IV: www.youtube.com/watch?v=84z7KF_uv7Q
God’s Invitation, www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOkp_-wDKFo
The Heart of the Gospel, www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJJbPKSOACc
My book, “Thy Kingdom Come!”, is up on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions. Look under Patricia Said Adams.