Your identity feeds your actions.
I am a mom, therefore, I do laundry and cook meals. I am a writer, therefore, I sit down with my notebook and pencil everyday. I am a teacher, therefore, I plan lessons and grade papers.
You get the idea. How we identify ourselves plays out in our actions and words.
I interviewed my friend, Darius, about the Fruit of the Spirit. He has been a believer about a year and a half and had some great thoughts about how the Lord produces His fruit in our lives. Are you finding yourself lacking patience or love? I hope Darius’ thoughts will inspire you.
“Before I was saved, whenever I would meet a Christian, they were different than I anticipated. They were joyful and kind. Once I became a believer, I wanted to be like that,” he said.
“But you weren’t yet?”
“I lacked every fruit- my cousin could tell you- I wasn’t kind or loving. I was wondering why total change wasn’t happening right away. I wanted to be different, but it didn’t happen overnight. Then, my grandpa shared that everything isn’t going to happen in an instant. It will be like fruit growing on a tree. It has to grow a little at a time, a little everyday.”
“So, what did you do?”
“I memorized Galatians 5:22-23 so that I could know the Fruit of the Spirit in order. I knew too that it was important to stay connected to the Vine. Reading His Word daily, fellowshipping with other Christians, and praying all helped me. I didn’t notice how important these were until I started doing them.
“Then, the more I learned that I was really God’s child, the more I was learning to think, act, and speak like I had been adopted by Him. I belong to Him, and knowing that helps me reorient to the Fruit of His Spirit on a minute by minute basis.”
“Then, realizing your identity in Christ helped you to live out the Fruit of the Spirit? How did that affect your daily interactions and relationships with others?” I asked.
“The way I was before I was saved had made this brick wall between me and [my family]. It was like my words and actions were a wedge, driving them away. I was definitely not inviting them into my life at all. But now, I am completely different. It has made such a peace between us.”
“But it’s still a moment by moment process?”
“Yes,” he says, “it’s like a hill I’ve been climbing a little everyday. I can look back and see how far I’ve come, but I still have a long way to go too. Patience and self-control are hard!”
“What is a piece of advice you would give other Christians about growing in the Fruit of the Spirit?”
“Don’t dwell on when the fruit is lacking, but keep in mind that you are God’s child and you are growing to be more like Christ. Keep your eyes on Him.”