Friday, August 24, 2007

The Spirit That Changes Personality

The Fruit of the Spirit in Real Life, Part Two

Scriptural reference: Galatians 5:22-23

The fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We all want those qualities in our lives. I've always seen these qualities as a temporary spiritual situation. If I have a good quiet time in the morning... maybe get a full hour of intense prayer (assuming that Reverend Pillow doesn't hold me over too long with his night-time sermon of "Resting in the Lord")... and then - BOOM! - fruit! I'll have some peace in my life. Until I drive to work, someone cuts me off, and I honk at them in anger. So much for my peace for that day. Hopefully, I'll be spiritual enough tomorrow to get that peace again.

One thing that hit me the other day was that some of the fruits are personality traits: gentleness.... self control.... kindness. Then, I started to realize that they are all personality traits. The fruit of the Spirit in our lives is a changed personality that begins to resemble the personality of Jesus. It's not just some temporary actions that we can call up from time to time when are really being uber-spiritual. They are characteristics that can begin to describe our lives as we continually walk with God.

I can see two sides, or excuses, to this thought:
  1. "I am just blunt, loud, talkative, etc. I can't help it. It's just the way God made me." I say - Great! Being like this is not necessarily wrong. It's just that people who are blunt are usually also not very gentle about it. Those that are talkative are usually not very self-controlled about it. Those that are loud are not very peaceful about it. It is possible to be blunt and gentle - it's called telling the truth in love. Whatever your extroverted personality trait is - make sure it is surrounded in the fruit of the Spirit.

  2. "I'm not perfect, but I am peaceful, gentle, kind, etc. So I don't need to worry about this anymore." Galatians says that against the fruits of the Spirit there is no law. That means there is no limit... no saying "I've got this down - on to the next lesson!" There is always more fruit to be had - so keep seeking!
My life has been a testimony of how this is true. God willing, I'll get to that in Part Three.

Now playing: Scott Bradley - Sanctuary
via FoxyTunes


Bird said...

Good point. Esp. on #1. The way some people behave -- including yours truly -- is so often the exact opposite of a life filled with the Fruit of the Spirit.

Matt C. said...

:) True, True. I know that I get too blunt times, to the point that it's not "truth in love," but "truth with a hammer." Ouch!