People have known since “like forever” that if a full cup or glass is bumped or knocked over, whatever’s inside of it is what will spill out.  It’s called “cause and effect”. If a mug of hot chocolate gets bumped and splashes onto the counter, we won’t be mopping up an ice cold Pepsi product.

And while we’re most often thinking in terms of the physical realm, Jesus never lost sight of the spiritual realm. When He taught about the human heart, for example, it was in the context of its spiritual condition. He taught it’s what’s inside our hearts (control center) which spills out into the physical realm:

“For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matthew 12:34b).

We can try the “fake it ‘till you make it” thing to help get us through life or improve ourselves, but it won’t help when we take a hard shot to the core of our inner being. Whatever is inside our hearts at that moment is what’s going to spill out.  We won’t have time to “fake it”, and it’s highly unlikely we’ll succeed at “making it”.

When you get bumped, what most often spills out?

For me, it’s too often what I don’t want to see: self-preservation instincts, worry, unkind thoughts or musings, words that wound.  This is so different from the list of what we have available through God’s Holy Spirit:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22)

The only way to have this amazing fruit of the Spirit inside us is through God. It’s His gift to those whose hearts are fixed on Him. And I say its “amazing” because when we’re in situations when fear, for instance, should rule the day—but instead we have peace—amazing is the appropriate, descriptive word!  Yet because our hearts can be under God’s perfect control one moment and fail miserably the next, the possession of this desirable fruit is not something we obtain once and go on to experience non-stop. Rather, this perfect control by God is linked to His admonition that we “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). It’s clear this filling is a recurring event which involves the volition of the recipient. And, wonderfully, this Spirit filling is available to every Christian—not just a few individuals we may incorrectly view as some unreal type of “Super Christian”.

* * *

A husband shared how he’d been approached by a woman in his local church who had some odd questions. She asked: “Is your wife perfect? Doesn’t she ever get mad and want to rip people’s lips off?” Apparently, she’d witnessed someone verbally bash his spouse who was gracious and nonplussed in response.

The man responded that, no, his wife was not always kind. In fact, she was hot-blooded by nature and could definitely put the hurt on somebody.  What this individual had witnessed, he suggested, was the result of one of his wife’s goals in life: to be controlled by God’s Holy Spirit.

The woman asking the questions had seen the miracle of a mere mortal who’d been unfairly bumped with something unnatural—supernatural—spilling out of the heart. At the moment of impact, the Holy Spirit had full control of the maligned person’s heart; the subsequent spill was His fruit: patience and kindness. This, perhaps, from a person who may have occasionally wished she had heat-seeking missiles mounted on the front of her car.

Any time we’re not exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit it’s because one or more areas of our hearts aren’t fully surrendered to God’s Holy Spirit.

Is this sobering? Very.        Is it “fixable” through God’s grace? Yes, amen!

We may experience some degree of success at controlling which words are coming out of our mouths. But how about a wrong thought we’re allowing to roll around in our minds? Jesus’ teachings include our thought life, not merely what comes out by way of our actions (Matthew 5:27-28).

So what does this mean? Beautifully, it means God has blessed us with a tangible list from which to measure our words and thoughts. If you like checklists, here’s your Daily. Through God’s Word we have a list of what comprises the fruit of the Spirit; we can align it against our words and thoughts. We’re then able to identify the “hot spots” we need to bring before the Lord in humility with a request for Him to change us.

Have you ever feared you don’t have what it takes to experience the Fruit of the Spirit in your life? Well, if so, let us encourage you:

The fruit of the Spirit blooms and takes root in any willing heart that is under God’s control.

This is precisely why it’s called the fruit of the Spirit. We can’t manufacture it; only God can. And the great and marvelous mystery is that God has the power to insert His attributes—the fruit of the Spirit—into the hearts of mortals who love Him and His dear Son, Jesus Christ. So powerful is this miracle, it causes people who witness it to wonder things such as, “Why isn’t he punching that guy’s lights out?” or “Why is she still smiling after being diagnosed with cancer?”

If you love Jesus and want to honor God, the fruit of the Spirit is available to you regardless of your background or past, your personality, or even if you’ve made arrangements to mount heat seeking missiles to the front of your car. 

 How can we know this? Through God’s (perfectly communicated) Word:

  • His Holy Spirit takes up residence in the heart of every believer in Christ Jesus (Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:9).
  • Having God’s Spirit within us doesn’t make us perfect (Romans 7:15) but He does enable us to honor and obey God if we set our minds and hearts on doing so (Philippians 4:13).
  • The fruit of the Spirit is a result of a believer’s obedience to God and His Word (Acts 5:32; Ephesians 5:18).

If you haven’t yet placed your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, that can change right now. You can receive His free gift of salvation and the Holy Spirit (see John 3:16). Just tell Jesus that’s what you want and give Him your heart!

There’s more good news on this subject. Sometimes, even when we belong to God and want to honor Him, we just, plain fail at having the fruit of the Spirit spill out of us when we’re hard hit.  So what then?

  • Do we give up on pursuing holiness? No; God’s Word is filled with encouragement to not give up on following Him (Hebrews 12:1-3).
  • Do we question whether or not we belong to God? We shouldn’t—God Himself is not our accuser; He’s the believer’s advocate, even when we fail (I John 2:1-2).
  • Are we destined to be on a continuing, downward spiral after failure? No we aren’t, praise the Lord! (Proverbs 28:13)

Many times I’ve had to go back and apologize to someone after I’ve taken an unexpected hit and the poison of self spilled out instead of the fruit of the Spirit. It’s humiliating to have to do this, but here is what I’ve learned: God often works with breathtaking power as we confess and repent of our sin before Him and then prayerfully approach those to whom we owe an apology. We tell them clearly that what we did was wrong and how we’ve confessed and repented of it before God. We then ask if they would be willing to forgive us for the wrong we did to them.

This sets the stage for the fruit of the Spirit to be on fresh display.

Are you not so sure about that? Allow me to share a painful but glorious example from my own highly imperfect life.

* * *

After a horrific display of anger on the job years ago, I had to apologize to a co-worker who witnessed it. I’d been open about my relationship with Jesus during the several months we worked together and routinely sought opportunities to show God’s love for her.  Do you know what she said after I confessed my wrong, asking if she would forgive me?

“June, I just have to say this. You really did blow it yesterday; it wasn’t at all what I would have expected from someone claiming to be a Christian.”

I was wishing a hole would open up in the ground and swallow me; my face was burning with the heat of shame and I thought I might vomit. She continued:

“But I’ve been listening to what you’ve been sharing with me about God and watching you for weeks. I’m convinced God is real. And if He can forgive you—who should have known better—then that’s the God I need and want in my life.”

She was beaming with joy and gave her heart and life to the God of grace.

* * *

We all need the fruit of the Spirit, my friend.  And, praise the Lord, its available!

Recommended reading: Galatians 5:13-26

Thank you for joining us. Oh, and every day is World Heat-Seeking Missile Removal Day. I’ll bet you didn’t know that!

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

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