22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.
The fruits of the Spirit don’t come in a can, but are given to us as the gifts of faith, the result of following Christ in all that we do. These fruits are very sweet, as they promise that when we live in faith, we will not only gain patience and kindness but also joy and peace, gifts that can enrich our lives, and give us the strength to meet all the challenges we face as single parents!
While these gifts may be ours for the taking, there are times when we need a can-opener, such as when things get tough and we feel as if we are falling short of our best! While we want to do all we can to follow Christ in all we do, we are also human, and can get tired, frustrated and cranky when we feel that we are going off-track as parents and as people of faith.
When we cannot, or will not make the fruits of the Spirit a part of our daily lives, we are not only short-changing ourselves but others, because when these fruits are not taken out and allowed to nourish us we can find ourselves in competition with each other, judging our insides by other people’s outsides. When this happens we can be far too hard on ourselves for not ‘measuring up’ by achieving the financial or career success that others may have found, and we can become envious of others, as well as resentful of our own situations, instead of seeing the joy that we have been given in the gift of being able to raise our children, to walk with them as they travel towards adulthood!
Yet, there is good news for those of us who are not always feeling very ‘fruitful’: as through the sacrifice of Christ, we are forgiven for those times when we fall short, and this forgiveness can be our can-opener, freeing us to make the fruits of the Spirit our own!
When the fruits of the Spirit become an active part of our lives, we can learn to let go of our envy and resentments, and in turn gain patience and compassion, calling each other into fellowship and reconciliation. The more these fruits are used the stronger they grow, and so does our faith, as we become filled with hope and gratitude for these gifts that empower us with the love of the Spirit and each other, love that heals all of our brokenness and forgives us all of our failings.
The fruits of the Spirit can give us strength in the face of our fears, and the support we need to meet the challenges of parenting, gifts that enable us to teach our children the value of having a faith that works, right here, where we are, in the midst of our hectic lives, a faith that reminds us the true joy that can be found when the fruits of the Spirit become a reality in our world.
Let us Pray:
God, thank you giving us the fruits of the Spirit as a free gift through Christ! Help us not to give up striving for these fruits when it may seem as if our lives are filled with sour grapes. Let us remember that we are not alone as we walk through this life, but that you are with us, in the Spirit and through those around us. Grant us the strength to accept the support offered by others, to let them be our can-opener when needed, and to share our fruits with all those in who hunger for hope and a faith that works.