Thursday, August 13, 2009

La Fruta

Here at the daycare we have a cook named Cande. She reminds me every day of what it means to be loving and kind, to work hard and provide for others. I can tell through her actions that what she does, she does out of a heart that loves. Cande cooks delicious meals and makes sure everyone is happy and satisfied. She always has a smile on her face in the morning, and will tell you that your Spanish is good, even when it's not.

Cande has a small whiteboard in the kitchen on which she writes various scripture. It used to get changed more often, but it has been the fruits of the spirit for a long time now. Whenever I walk in the kitchen, I see Galations 5:22-23 staring me down (in Spanish, of course).

"But the fruit of the spirit is
against such things there is no law."

My women's bible study at home studied the fruits of the spirit this Spring. We took it slow - talking about one virtue at each meeting, committing to thinking about and looking for these virtues (or lackthereof) in our lives over the following two weeks. It was hard, but mostly interesting to hear where others saw these fruits displayed (or not displayed) in their lives. While I have always equated patience with certain areas of my life, it was renewing to see it through someone else's eyes.

So when Cande put the fruits of the spirit up in the kitchen weeks ago, I decided to make it a mantra. At least, to re-memorize them, and say them over and over to myself as I try to find the areas of my life that need these virtues the most. To see where I am lacking, and where I can apply them. To understand that as a follower of Christ it is my duty, and my joy to put these into practice. What would my life look like if I more plainly and willingly lived out the fruit of the spirit?

Love, without conditions
Joy, when things don't go my way
Peace, when I feel like arguing
Patience, when I want instant answers
Kindness, when I would rather think of myself
Goodness, when I desire the things of this world
Faithfulness, to my commitments
Gentleness, instead of harsh words
Self-Control, in my actions

Paul wrote about these virtues after he talked about the things we shouldn't be doing (verses 19 through 21). Instead of shooting off a list of things that are forbidden, and leaving it at that, he gives us the tools to live as children of God, set apart from the world. Our innate desire is to be like the world, but we do things differently, because our God is different, and it is He who we desire to be like. As we become imitators of Christ, through living by the Spirit, the fruits begin to manifest in our daily lives.

"And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" - Galatians 5:24