If you wanted to buy a beautiful diamond, where would you go to find it?
Probably not in any alley trash cans.

Yet the priceless gifts from God (worth far more than diamonds) are often found in the middle of life’s trash heaps. I’ll explain, but first some background:

I erroneously assumed, as a young person, that “someday” I would be an older, mature, wise and trusting Christian who consistently exhibited the fruit of the Spirit (which today we’ll also refer to as diamonds). This fruit—these beautiful diamonds—are lovingly spread out before us in Galatians 5:22-23:

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

* * *

Surely by the time I was thirty or forty years old, my reasoning went, I’d have this thing of being controlled by God’s Holy Spirit down pat. And while I knew His fruit wouldn’t emanate out of anyone non-stop—since we will always have some struggles with sin this side of heaven—surely it would one day be mine to know and experience with delightful regularity.

Life would then be so much easier, I thought.

 * * *

While the fruit of the Spirit will be both present and hugely beneficial in the normal day to day lives of those who are filled with the Spirit (i.e., individuals who know and follow Christ), it goes on radical display—showcased, we could say—when a believer resolutely follows Him during his or her worst and darkest of times.

I began to get an inkling of this when observing an older Christian who consistently radiated God’s attributes. My prayer became, “Lord, I want to be like her.”

As our friendship deepened, I learned of struggles she’d had over the years such as wrenching heartaches and life-changing health problems. She faced a myriad of difficulties with new ones arising, it seemed, on a fairly regular basis.

Yet the diamonds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control inexplicably shone in her physical, emotional, and spiritual war zones.

Her life wasn’t easy, but her relationship with Jesus Christ was amazing. I saw the fruit of the Spirit manifested in power and beauty where it was humanly impossible for its characteristics to exist.

Just as sparkling diamonds are often showcased against a dark blue or jet-black background, the fruit of the Spirit is frequently displayed in a Christ follower’s conflicts.

* * *

When does a Christian’s love really stand out?  In situations where resentment or hatred would normally win the day.

When does joy baffle others? When the one from whom it is emanating would be expected to be overwhelmingly discouraged.

When does the peace of God bring people out of the woodwork, asking questions? During those times in which one’s world seems to be caving in and a level of panic believed unavoidable.

When does patience raise eyebrows? When its possessor appears to have every reason to quit.

When does kindness stop people in their tracks? In instances where the one responding with it has been treated like dirt.

When does goodness most ignite hope in others? When it is found in a landscape otherwise saturated with evil.

When does faithfulness have an eternal ripple effect? When its occurrence rises above the apparent drudgery of doing right or the ashes of pain and disappointment.

When does gentleness speak louder and more powerfully than a thousand sermons? In times when rage would be considered justifiable.

When does self-control most bless the one who has it and those around him or her? Any time it overrides human nature’s calls to attack, self-destruct, or hunker down in self-defense.

 Diamonds… shining out of the debris of a sin-infected world.

* * *

Perhaps this discussion seems an odd way in which we can encourage one another. Yet when we witness a Christ follower exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit when he or she is face to face with unfairness, unfulfilled longings, or a crisis it generally produces in us a groundswell of increased faith and trust in God. We’re reminded that we, too, can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

We can love under fire

We can forgive the unforgivable

We can bless those who curse us

* * *

God assures us in His Word that the diamonds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control aren’t a wish list or glittering gifts beyond our reach. They’re meant to become our own, deep-seated characteristics as we abide in Christ.

Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4)

Believers are never commanded to produce fruit, but merely abide in Christ. If we are abiding in Christ, we can count on the fruit of the Spirit being at work in us to produce the fruit. It is an inseparable benefit of our oneness with the Godhead through Jesus Christ (I John 3:24).  Even in the midst of disasters.

* * *

The command we are given to abide in Christ should heavily impact the way in which we pray, yet I often find myself praying as if abiding in Him and bearing fruit isn’t of paramount importance. When I learn of someone facing persecution, for example, I ask God to cause it to end. When praying for a friend to have relief from a physical ailment or emotional pain, I pray for healing.

While such prayers aren’t wrong, how much better to have them expanded for the person in need to have the surrendered life necessary to abide in Christ—in order for the fruit of the Spirit to encompass each area of his or her life!

In our humanness, we may inadvertently ask God to change or remove adversity He is allowing for the purpose of ushering supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control into our lives or the lives of others.

* * *

God’s love for humanity is deep enough to allow situations to occur in which He showcases the diamonds of the fruit of the Spirit. Yet His adopted children may often be found praying like crazy for every one of those opportunities to vanish.

 * * *

When people ask how they can be praying for us, it makes sense to include requests that we will abide in Christ. Such needs are not an admission of rebellion or weakness, but underscore our desire for God’s fruit to spill out of us or other Christ followers.

* * *

It is a privilege and joy to remember that God produces the fruit and HE has the power and ability to insert His attributes into His adopted children. And when anyone experiences His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control when and where it is humanly impossible for those things to flourish, he or she knows the miracle of what it means to walk on water… with Jesus.

Let us be strong and courageous to abide in Christ no matter what we face. His coming is one day closer and His diamonds are lavish, free, and available… for us!

June

June

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

3 Comments

  • Becky says:

    I especially enjoyed this devotional. Thank you for your words of encouragement!

  • Brad says:

    What great exhortation to pray beyond the adversity and ask God thru the supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit and our abiding in Christ that the fruit of the Spirit will be exhibited in our lives. It’s so easy to stop praying at “Lord, please remove this adversity”. Thanks!!

  • Kacia says:

    Thanks June for this encouragement!

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