It’s a struggle each day. I have three kids, work full time, a dog, serve in my church, and am trying to lose weight. Each day really is a struggle. I’m lucky if I’m asleep by 10p.m. even though I need to be awake by 5:30a.m. And let’s be honest, Lord knows I’m going to snooze that alarm until my husband starts growling at me for not getting up and the alarm is driving him nuts. Then my morning is all rushed because I’m trying to get myself and my three children dressed and in the car by 6:50. Half the time….i’m still snoozing until 6:15 and regretting it each day. HA! It’s the truth tho.
So on top of this struggle in the mornings, I just don’t have time. Hence, the date of my last blog. Everything is driving me bananas and I feel worn out with the world.So when I say it’s a struggle each day, I’m not lying. But it’s not just about each day that is the struggle…it’s the struggling to walk the Christian walk. I’m already tired, lacking sleep, and when my kids misbehave I’m one big old grouch. I know the fruits. I’ve heard it preached, read them over and over in my Bible. But I can’t help but realize I may know them….like I know what they are, but I don’t really know them. I don’t use them like I should.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I can say it over and over to myself but my results are still the same. I’m starting to think my fruit might being spoiling.
Love. Yeah I love my family, friends, church, people, etc….but am I always displaying my love? Do they know how much I love them? How much do i let others know of my love for them? Do the strangers I meet and pray for silently in my head, understand that I love them? Probably not. I complain about my husband always saying I love you. He says it all day long, after every phone call, text, etc. Then he gets mad cause I don’t say it often. I will respond with “You say all time, that it hardly ever gives me a chance to just say it to you”. Should this really be a problem? My husband loves me, and I complain that he tells me too often and he complains that I don’t say it enough. This is such a silly problem. I really need to start displaying my love. i’m a hard person. I’m not all warm and fuzzy and like to cuddle. That’s just not me. And that’s not what He is asking of me. He’s commanding that I display it. I need to be better about this. I don’t want to shut out people, or lose my opportunity to teach other’s about His love because I’m being grouchy instead. I am in constant prayers for those around me, even strangers…always praying for them. How much would change if they knew I was praying, I wonder….yeah it may be awkward that some fat lady is coming up to them saying “I don’t know who you are, but I see you are having a rough time and I want you to know the Lord is looking out for you today because I just prayed for you.” But just think of how much opportunity that presents to witness, or how maybe they will be in prayer too. Or instead of praying to myself, pray with others….that’s a great way to display His love.
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10
Joy. I’m pretty ok with this one I think. I try to make fun out of every situation and keep a smile. I try to stay positive and I’m always saying, “I can’t let the devil steal my joy on that one”. But….I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t let things still my joy. More often than not, I’m getting heated up about something my kids did wrong, money, something that didn’t get done, or I get so upset about my weight. I’m allowing the enemy to steal my joy. I give him full access when I start yelling at my kids. How can I sit there and say that I’m pretty ok with this one, when clearly I’m not? Man, you see how God worked in just this paragraph? Amazing. I like things done a certain way and when someone tries to do things in a way I don’t think works…I’m critical or I get peeved. I really need to work on that. Devil you will not steal my joy anymore!
Proverbs 10:28 The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
Peace. I have peace with my Father. Well, I guess we can see in my struggle with joy that I’m not really living in harmony with everything. Peace is described as an absence of conflict. I do not feel conflicted with the Lord that is for sure. But am I absent of conflict in my daily walk, more than likely not. I’m a lot better than I used to be, I loved arguing with the world on anything. But like I said I can get peeved by some things and I should be praying for more peace instead of getting mad about the way my husband is driving. Haha…. Ok so I don’t have this one either…oh man, it’s not looking too good.
Psalm 34:14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
Forbearance. We are all sinners that’s for sure, but is it really so simple to not get mad at someone else for doing something to you? This is a struggle for almost everyone I would think. I hear all of us say “oh one day he will get his” or “what goes around come around” or “Don’t worry, they will get what’s coming”. These are all too common phrases that we hear instead of “just forgive them like Christ forgave you”. How much more peace and joy would we have if this one was that easy? And we should…we are constantly told of how sinful we are, but when someone else’s sin effects us…we hold it against them. I used to hold resentment for a long time. I was always angry about my past, those who had hurt me. But God had an ultimate plan for all of these wrongdoings, and it was a part of His purpose for me. Why stay angry against things in life that made me a better person today?
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness. I’m lumping these three into one because I think they all work together. And I know that this one along with the last one are my weakest spirits. I feel more confidence in my ability to display love and have joy and peace than I do with these. I have hardly ever in my life, if ever, been described as one of these. I’ve been called loud, opinionated, outgoing, outspoken, and tough. But these…no. I try to be kind and gentle. I really do try. Sometimes tho, I mistake kindness and gentleness as being weak. That’s where my problem lies. I don’t want others to think I’m weak, and I’ve been taken advantage of most of my life, I want people to know I’m not letting that happen to me again. I think because of that…I’m not very good at displaying these. But I don’t want to be harsh. I really don’t. You can see these words all over my journals and highlighted in my Bible because I’m struggling with them constantly. I’m polite to others, yes, but am I kind? Sometimes, when someone I love is venting to me about something they are going through…I should display more gentleness but instead tough love comes out of me. I say stuff like “Well, wake up…let it be a lesson to you!” When I need to be showing more compassion, more love, more kindness. I want so badly to have a gentle spirit…but I allow myself to be harsh. How do I change this? How does one become more gentle? Please if you know…tell me cause I’m always praying for this and I still somehow let it slip by.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
Self Control. Self Control. SELF CONTROL. AHHH! I don’t have this one down. If I had this one down….then I would be able to control all the other ones. I hear myself….I hear when I let my anger slip out. There it comes…I’m yelling “I’ve had it!” or I say something rude to defend myself when I’m in the wrong. And the worst part is…I hate when I do it. It’s there, it’s been said. Then I spend the next few moments sulking in my own mess because I feel like crap for allowing something else to spoil my fruit. Or how about my weight….I mean come on, if I had more self control then would I be as overweight as I am? I hate how I feel about myself…and then by getting all negative, I allow it to take over how I feel about me. But then again you know what….I might have more self control than I thought because I don’t cuss anymore, I don’t watch explicit movies/shows, I don’t fall into worldly traps. So where I may be weak in controlling my calmness and my food consumption, I’ve actually done a pretty decent job at controlling myself from the attractions of this world. I was able to overcome alcohol! I was trapped into that lie for years….and now I’m free from it. It takes so much self control to stay on your daily Christian walk. Self-control naturally leads to perseverance (2 Peter 1:6) as we value the long-term good instead of the instant gratification of the world. Self-control is a gift that frees us. It frees us to enjoy the benefits of a healthy body. It frees us to rest in the security of good stewardship. It frees us from a guilty conscience. Self-control restricts the indulgence of our foolish desires, and we find the liberty to love and live as we were meant to.
It’s funny. It’s funny how I sit here and really think about the fruits. I was able to realize my own strengths and weaknesses with them. You’re getting a true look at my own battles because everything that was written was exactly how it happened. To think I had been so defeated with self control and to realize that I actually had some part of it pretty well. Or how some that I thought I was ok with…as I was writing what they meant, my eyes were open to the reality of it. I know the fruits, you know the fruits. But how many of really know them and use them daily? It’s a struggle…it really is. It’s hard enough just being a parent, wife, accountant…but when you add being a Christian and walking in His ways…it’s even harder. Because sinning is so easy sometimes. It’s living right that is hard. Some nights, when I get to bed I’m just praising God with thanks that I did it. Because days are hard, and He allowed me to experience another one. I know that I feel defeated some days…but over all we win this battle. I have comfort in that. That is where my fruit of faithfulness kicks in.
I have faith in Him. I have faith in His plans. I have faith that He will provide. And I have faith, that one day I will be standing face to face praising Him and thanking Him in person. The enemy cannot take that one from me. I have faith that my God conquers the enemy. And I cannot wait for that day.
We are commanded to take off the old man and put on the new man once we come to know Christ. It’s not like changing clothes. It is a lot easier said than done. But if we try daily to implement these fruits into our lives, it will make our walk a lot easier. I pray for anyone else who struggles with living the fruits out. Because I’m human…and I struggle daily.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner beingI delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[a] a slave to the law of sin.