I have been feeling challenged lately to walk by the Spirit. Back in May I attended a retreat fully expecting God to convict me of some area of my life that I needed to "work" on as that had been my experience at similar retreats in the past. Instead I found God telling me to enjoy my life, to fully experience what He is calling me to do, but to stop "striving", to stop trying to do it on my own power. One piece of that was a commitment to try to spend some time each day praising God for what He is doing. That has been harder to do than it sounds - with our busy household I can easily get through the day without stopping for even a few minutes to contemplate what God is doing around me. I'm working on finding a way to remind myself, even if it is right before I finally crawl into bed. Just writing about it here I'm hoping will make a difference.
Last week our church had a special prayer evening and one portion of the evening was focused on confessing and repenting in preparation for celebrating The Lord's Supper (communion). As I participated in this God directed me to Galatians 5:16-26 where the Apostle Paul teaches us the difference between living by the Spirit rather than by our sinful nature. It is a striking contrast: fits of rage, selfish ambition, hatred, etc. juxtaposed with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
It seems like the times I struggle most with living out the fruit of the Spirit is in my relationship with my special needs child. I know God is using her to refine my character and make me more like Him, and this life in the Spirit seems to be a key step. For the next several posts that I draw from scripture, I'll be writing about the fruit of the Spirit (I just noticed that it is singular FRUIT even though it has several parts...like the triune Godhead, how fitting). I know God will use it in my life and I hope it will be encouraging to you as well.