On May 1, my Pastor, Dr. Stephen Anthony, preached a message for our graduating seniors. In his message from Philippians 3:12-17, he gave our seniors 3 tips from the apostle Paul. He told them to prepare to be faithful, prepare to be forgetful and to prepare to be fruitful. All of these points are applicable to any age, but it was the last one that stuck with me; “prepare to be fruitful”.
Dr. Anthony went on to explain that it is the Holy Spirit in a believer that causes us to be fruitful. As a Christian, we no longer produce the works of “the flesh” or what some of us call our “sin nature”, because we are new creations in Christ Jesus.
My Pastor is a witty guy. He comes up with one liners that can not only make you laugh but they make you think. He has the kind of insight that causes the listener to be insightful. Here is what got me on this particular Sunday:
“There are two types of Christians, fruit bearing and fruitcakes. Which one are you? “
This one statement started my thinking process about this post for our study on the Fruit of the Spirit, particularly regarding peace. Let’s look at our two options and see what category we fit in.
- Are you pleasant to be around? Are you a “peaceful” person? Do others enjoy being around you because there is a calmness and tranquility about you? I am not talking about someone who is “zoned out.” I am talking about the kind of person that no matter what is going on they choose peace. They don’t get ruffled easily and they can go with the flow. There is a peace about them because they have peace within them and the result is the fruit of peace.
- Are you content to bloom where you are planted? By this I mean are you making the best of your circumstances? Are you choosing peace in your work environment, your home environment and even your friendships? Your situation may not be what you planned, but have chosen to make the best of it…. have you chosen peace?
- Are you a always producing? Is there peace in your productivity?
- Lastly, do you wait for the harvest? Just as a peach is better left on the tree till it’s ripe, some things in life have to develop or ripen. God is perfecting us and refining us. He is making us more like Christ. How are you during the “ripening” process? Can you wait it out or do you prematurely pluck the fruit that the Spirit is producing in you? Waiting is hard, but the harvest is so worth it.
The Holy Spirit has placed in all of us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control; the fruit of the Spirit. ( Galatians 5:22) At the moment of our salvation, we receive the Holy Spirit and the fruit. From that moment on we are to ask the Holy Spirit to produce it through us. There is really no need to pray, “O Lord make me more peaceful” when you have peace deposited inside of you. All you need to do is ask the Holy Spirit, the Great Producer of the fruit harvest, to produce it through you. Each day we ask the Spirit to produce, and each day, as we yield to the Spirit the process becomes easier and easier. This is maturity. This is transformation.
- Are you all jumbled up? Is there no clarity in your life? Can you think clearly about things? Do you lack peace?
- Like the fruitcake that we sometimes get at the Holidays, are you dry as a board or hard as a rock? For our application, this means being stubborn and hard headed. You stay the same and you won’t change “your recipe”. You like things the way they are; peace or no peace. You aren’t budging.
- Are you the dump and stir type? Do you just toss everything together and hope that it all comes out right? You can’t improve because you won’t take instruction or recommendations from others……? Ladies, one recipe doesn’t fit all and all fruitcakes are not created equal! If we don’t learn from each other then how can we rise?
Ask yourself these questions this week. Have some time with the Lord and let Him reveal to you the fruitcake tendencies you have. Let Him continue to encourage your fruit-bearing. Wait for His harvest in your life and you will be a sweet smelling aroma to Him!