I was honored to be invited to speak at the Women’s Day Conference of the best church in the universe, my church. I was one of three speakers and let me tell you, the other ladies are awesome. I stood among great women.
Our theme for 2017 was Fruit of the Spirit. My speaking session was dedicated to Patience, Kindness, and Goodness. These fruit are the ones the Lord is growing within.
The conference was yesterday and I was able to share the words put on my heart with a wonderful group of Women. What a Blessing.
While you can’t hear my voice, you can read a condensed version of my presentation. The interactive portions will not come across as well but hey, maybe you can make it work.
I pray that it adds value to your day.
Being Fresh Fruit
Mmmm….Fresh. What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Fresh’?
For most of us, Fresh means smelling good, looking good, ready, ripe, crisp, clean, enjoyable. For others of us…70s and 80s babies…Fresh says that’s cool, nice, I like it. I’d borrow that.
That’s when we are looking at physical, material things. How does Fresh apply to Spiritual things? What spiritual things am I talking about you ask. Our spiritual healthiness… our internal self… the part of us that communes with and listens to the Holy Spirit.
How healthy and strong are we as the branches growing from the vine of our Father? How energized are we as daughters of a King? How strong are we as the rib of our spouse? How healthy are we as the Women of God who set example for our daughters, nieces, and young adults?
How Fresh are we?
As members of the Women’s Ministry, our theme for 2017 is Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5 speaks first of the attributes that are not of the Father then in verse 22 gives us the Fruit of Spirit.
Notice ‘Fruit’… It’s singular indicating a one, not many. Notice Spirit, it’s capitalized indicating that it is outside of our human nature.
How Fresh are we as Fruit of our Father’s vine?
Looking at us, we are pretty Fresh! Looking good, smelling good, smiling nicely. We are Fresh, on the outside.
You ever buy pretty fruit, get it home, put it away, and when you go to enjoy this pretty fruit… it’s not Fresh. It’s soft, lost it’s sheen, and if you dare bite it…. whooo weee, it’s not delicious, probably a little bitter or tart. Not Fresh.
We can become bitter, tart, soft, Not Fresh fruit.
This session will focus on Being Fresh Fruit of the Spirit as it relates to our Patience, Kindness, and Goodness.
Many of us pray for some, more, and even more Patience each day. It is fleeting to some of us and generously portioned on others. There’s toddler patience, Job patience, and various levels in between. Which are you?
Question to think about: Am I easily set off when things go wrong or people irritate me, or am I able to keep a Godly perspective in the face of life’s irritations?
When I think of patience, I like to call it long suffering. Long suffering sounds like something we do not ask for more of however it reminds me of what it means to have patience, to be patient.
Long suffering says to me… wait until it is time for you to get what you are longing for. Wait, without complaining. Wait, without becoming angry. Wait without being diappointed. Wait with expectancy.
When we wait, great things come. When our days are great, it’s easy (most times) to wait.
What about those cloudy days when life gets us down? Waiting is not so easy then because we want our sunshine back… immediately, right now, quick fast and in a hurry.
Now, there are times even when life is great that I lose and move quickly instead of waiting. What typically happens in those instances? We mess things up … being fast, moving too quickly, yelling, doing, not thinking things all the way through. Then we feel bad, knowing that we did not heed the patience the Spirit whispered to us.
How do we allow the Fruit of Patience to grow in us? You know what I’m going to say… trust in God’s word and allow it to manifest in our lives.
James 1:2-4 reads
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Let’s check our Patience Quota with a few simple questions. The answers you choose will speak to your level of patience.
The Fruit of the Spirit shall continue to grow in us because… We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
On your cute square piece of paper, write the name of the most patient person you know. I know that you do not personally know Job, so not him.
When you hear the word kindness, what comes to mind?
Someone who does and gives without a second thought. They do things without expecting anything in return. Even if they do not hear a ‘thank you’, they keep on keeping on. As soon as a kind deed is done, they aren’t telling anyone with ears what they just did for you, a stranger, or an imaginary friend. They are kind because it’s who they are.
Question to think about: Is it my goal to serve others with kindness or am I too focused on my own needs, desire, or problems to let the goodness of God overflow to others?
Sometimes we are more kind to strangers than those we know. Why is that?
Kindness allows us to be nice to those who do not deserve our kindness. The golden rule … Luke 6:31 … Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We say it to children and others. Do you believe it? Do we live by it? Do we give thought to the fact that what we are doing, we would not want done to us?
Thank God for the Holy Spirit and the Fruit of Kindness that lives within us. God grants us new mercies every day. Why is it so challenging for us to do the same and share kindness with those who we feel do not deserve it?
How kind have you been today? Think about these kind acts and how many of them can be checked off as ‘done’ so far today…
On your cute square piece of paper, write the name of the kindest person you know. If you can only think of yourself, you may need to grow your circle. If you want to put me, that’s cool.
Goodness…it’s kind of like kindness but different. When we embody goodness, we see the goodness in others, situations, and the world. We know that there is some good in just about everything. We look for it so that we can pull it out and use that goodness to show others and shine light onto things that are not so good.
Question to think about: Does my life reflect the holiness of God and do I desire to see others experience God at a deep level in their own lives?
Goodness also means that we are able to rebuke and correct others in love. When we see a child who doesn’t belong to us by blood doing something that they should not, we use goodness to help them see the right path.
Goodness allows you see a person’s actions outside of their character.
When we see our sisters in scenarios that may not lead to the best outcome, we are able to use goodness to pull them aside and speak to their actions without tearing down their character or self-esteem.
To paraphrase Romans 14:15, It is not a matter of what we eat or drink but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:14 (NIV) reads: I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
We know from scripture that goodness shall follow for all of our days. It’s in us to share this goodness with others.
The Fruit of the Spirit lives within us. God put it there and we cannot remove. The enemy cannot remove it. The enemy will work to use it against us, make us forget what we are made of, sour our Fruit but cannot take it away.
We have to fertilize, water, and mature our Fruit of the Spirit each day as we grow in God. Which fruit should you grow in your life? God will lead you on that. I do not believe He expects us to grow all of the fruit at once, it is a process.
It won’t necessarily be easy, we have to stretch. TD Jakes’ Relationship Bible speaks to this. He says – God provides stretching experiences that prepare us for the race He has called us to run. When we are being stretched spiritually, our faith in God grows. When we are being stretched mentally, old ideas are challenged and replaced with new ones. When we are being stretched relationally, selfishness dies and love grows.
Growing our spiritual Fruit may feel like we are being stretched to the breaking point. We know that we may stretch, bend, more and more but we won’t break. It’s at these moments that we need to have Patience and endure to win our God assigned race.
When looking at our Spiritual Fruit, think about these questions – How healthy and strong are we as the branches growing from the vine of our Father? How energized are we as daughters of a King? How strong are we as the rib of our spouse? How healthy are we as the Women of God who set example for our daughters, nieces, and young adults? How Fresh are we?
The piece of paper that you have should have some writing on it by now. Names of people you like, answers to questions, maybe some doodling. I want you to take that piece of paper and ball it up. Do what you want to it…except rip it. Ball it up, stomp on it, do whatever, just do not rip it. 30 seconds…
Open and un-ball your piece of paper. Smooth it out. Make it as smooth as you can.
Can you get rid of the wrinkles? Nope. You can smooth them out but they will never disappear. When we do lack patience, yell, do not show kindness, do not extend our goodness we create wrinkles in the lives of others. Our apologies are smoothing out the paper but the wrinkles are never gone, the hurt may never go away. We can hug, apologize, and try to amend our wrongs forever but the wrinkles remain. The person may even forgive you; forgiving does not mean forgetting; the wrinkles will remain.
Let’s let our Fruit shine daily to smooth out wrinkles that others may have created in the lives of those we love.
Spend time with God to understand which fruit needs to grow in your life. May the Fruit of the Spirit show in the lives that we live each day and be a light that leads others to Christ.
Thank you for your time, participation, conversation, and attentiveness today.