I use to believe that the fruit of the spirit was my responsibility to produce in my own life. If I believed enough, tried enough, had enough faith I could bring forth the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All that produced was exhaustion and a fruit that looked good on the outside shiny and perfect but empty on the inside. Nice to look at but no nourishment of food. It reminded me of the plastic fruit my mom use to keep on the kitchen counter. It looks like the real thing but when you look a little closer you realize it’s not.
When I first started understanding the fullness of Daddy’s Grace I was concerned about dividing the word correctly. A friend of mine told me to look for the fruit, the real fruit shows the real gospel. She said that I would be able to know what was real and authentic by looking for the real spiritual fruit and she was right. What an eye opener when I looked around and I realized most of those around me were just like me, striving, exhausted, and laboriously trying to produce our own fruit. Oh yes, we could get it to look good and polished on the outside, especially on Sundays, but it was not the authentic fruit that only the Holy Spirit can bring forth in our lives.
Along the way I saw glimpses of the real deal, moments when I was overcome by love and peace that could only be by his divine hand. I longed for more, wanted more, I wanted to live constantly in that place of an abundance of fruit overflowing in my life. For that to happen I needed freedom from old mindsets, new thinking (repentance) and I had to realize that for that to take place I had to stop my own efforts and trust Daddy. I began to understand what Rest and Abide really meant. Abide is a verb that means to stay in a given place, state or expectancy, to continue, dwell, remain. I had to sit back and remain in His Rest and allow Him to love me. Sounds so simple, so easy but when you don’t believe you are worthy or lovable it is not.
Only by finally allowing myself to receive His beautiful love by believing him that I was worthy, lovable and His, was I able to be filled to the point of overflow. For me this moment came after a sermon on Freedom from Offense by Greg Henry. Although Daddy had been leading me step by step into His freedom for years this message broke of the last chink of chain and brought forth such new freedom. It showed me that the world does not define me. That when I take offense with someone it isn’t their fault, that it is mine. Why? Because they presented me with a lie about myself or a situation (a carnal mindset) and I believed it rather than the truth. I needed to look at it through my Daddy’s eyes so I could reject the lie and the offense. When I know who I am and the truth about me it doesn’t matter what others say or think because Daddy’s reveals the true nature and character of me and only he can define me.
There was such healing that sprang forth from that for me. A new understanding on how offense had come in, understanding of the lies of offense and the revelation that I don’t have to ever walk in offense again. What freedom, what peace, what joy, what compassion, what contentment that sprung forth instantly. Praise God for His truths. Praise God He does the work to bring forth the fruit and we get the privilege to bear it.