The Toddler through Kinder classes at Father’s House OC just finished a long unit on Fruit of the Spirit. It is so fun to hear them sing their song, “Love, joy, peace and patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control... these are the Fruit of the Spirit.” Their little voices singing the words with faith and trust. Plus, I love to hear them singing scripture!
I have a special privilege. I get to plan the curriculum and see how it effects the little ones. I get to plan for it and watch it take effect! What a joy for me. I can do that Sunday school parent quiz better than most because I know what they were taught. They can usually tell me all about it (thanks to our awesome servant teachers). Although, my 3 year old usually cracks us all up by just giving the church kids answer.
What was your lesson about at church today? Jesus.
What was the story about? Jesus.
What did you learn? Jesus
Well, there’s really no arguing with that one but obviously us mom’s want some details and I know that these lessons are all being planted in their hearts’. Now, I’m not sure that all these weeks of lessons, crafts, and games have been enough to solidify these truths in them. They can sing the song and quote the verses but do I see patience pouring out of my 3 year old son? Do I see the gentleness from my 5 year old? I might see very small moments of these in my boys but on a daily basis (like from 2-7pm) there aren’t really Fruit of the Spirit falling off their trees.
“I want the Fruit of the Spirit in my life. I want the Fruit of the Spirit shining bright. Jesus take control, let your love overflow. I want the Fruit of the Spirit in my life.” These little ones want to be like the attributes of their song. They want to be loving. They want to show kindness and have patience. They want to shine bright but they aren’t really at the place of maturity to understand the work that goes into cultivating that. It’s a journey...
When you think of the language that goes with “fruit,” there is so much there. There’s a seed, soil, water, sun, thinning, weeding, pruning, producing, and multiplying. I mean we could stay on that for a while but we won’t! This is just a blog post and if I make too long some of you won’t read it all. I know that because that’s me. I wouldn’t read it all if it was too long.
I, just like you, have a dozen things pulling at my attention at any given moment. Want me to list a few? Laundry...lot’s of it. Meal planning, executing and cleaning. Sunday morning prep for the Babies to the Youth. My bible study homework, our discipleship program at church. Wondering how I’m going to go deeper in my personal relationship with Jesus. Foster family craziness: parent visits, social workers, therapy, dr’s appointments. Parenting. Sports. And oh yeah, plus 5 kids and a husband.
That being said the amazing thing is that all of that (and I all didn’t list here) is what can either help me practice and grow in my fruit production or I can miss the opportunity, just stumbling through. To be honest some times that’s what I end up doing but I can’t expect to be growing if that’s my norm. I can’t just plant some seeds, leave my garden for a few months, and expect to have a bumper crop. It’s the care of the garden of my heart that is going to allow me to use my wonderful chaos for the Lord’s glory. I want my life to become a garden of beneficial, nutritious fruit. I want to love well. I want others to walk in the beautiful garden of my life filled with joy, peace, love and all the others. I want to feel the Father smiling on me and I want to smile like that. All of this requires an intentional turning of my heart the Spirit because I know I’m not close to good enough on my own. In my moments of trial, struggle, and stress is my biggest opportunity to grow in the fruits. When I practice these in my daily life I have roots for fruit to show in my harder times.
I heard an awesome teaching from Melissa Helser where she talks about realizing that as we grow and tend our hearts gardens we have an opportunity to produce fruit for the generations to come. Others will know us by our fruit. So, time for a fruit check. Well, it’s always time for a fruit check. How is your fruit? Is it a bit sour or is it sweet? Are there weeds choking out your precious rewards from diligence of time spend with him? Are you producing fruit that will last?
To me all of this comes down to this verse that is a bit further down past the fruit verses. Galatians 5:25 “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” That’s my everyday prayer, sometimes every minute, and I pray that for all of us. That in midst of our struggle we can stay in step with Him and produce good fruit to share the good news of the love, life, and purpose that we’ve found in Jesus. As we continually call on Holy Spirit to help us in our shortcomings we will grow deeper roots to grow better fruit.