Sometimes I get caught up in thinking that “fruit” means I need to have 100 converts or an amazing story to tell about how I fed a village and gave them new homes and clean water. But what I’m learning, what I need to keep learning, is that fruit is inside me. And it pours out.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Sometimes it’s really really hard to love people. When you work on a mission team like I do, you’re kind of forced to befriend people that you might not really have chosen as friends. But because we have the same goal–the same mission, we’re able to work together, hang out, and even be friends. God has used this to teach me to love. He’s teaching me to be kind. I think He is saving patience for last because He knows I’ll be terrible at it.
Suzanne reads and reads and reads, and loves loves loves animals, and is one of those super-duper Harry Potter lovers. Me? I don’t enjoy reading. I don’t really like animals (in my home), and I’ve never touched a Harry Potter book. But guess what? We’re really good friends. I mean REALLY good. And I’ve only touched the surface of how different we are. She’s straightforward, speaks her mind, and is completely confident in her viewpoint. I’m passive aggressive, I hold things in, and I fear my opinion is probably never right. But guess what, we’re really good friends.
She probably gets really frustrated with me, and I sometimes get frustrated with her, but we work through things. God has used her friendship to help me be more straightforward, and she’s said our friendship has helped her to be more soft in her answers.
I can’t say, “That’s just how I am!” anymore. Because God is changing me. God has used my friendship with Suzanne to curb my passive-aggression, but also to get to a deeper root issue … my pride that says, “If you’re not like me, then I don’t want to be your friend.”
I was definitely the person who mocked and teased and said mean things to and about people that were different from me. Worse than I realized, even. Because I wanted to be cool. And if someone liked Harry Potter, or didn’t like sports, well, what good were they?
This is where I see God growing me most… helping me to see each person as an adored creation of God, one who Christ went to the cross for. I haven’t arrived–I never will–but I see God growing this fruit in me, this fruit of kindness and goodness and love. I need more of it.
God is growing me.