Everyday, we make choices… what to wear, what to eat, how to respond, what to say, what not to say. Unknowingly or knowingly, we make a choice which has its good or bad consequences. Actions or words from choices we make often stem from attitudes of the heart.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Christians are to live and bear the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit calls us to love, to rejoice, to make peace, to be patient, to be kind, to be good, to be faithful, to be gentle and to self-control.
Choice of love or hate
We love actively: love our enemies by doing something good for them. Or do we love passively only when someone asks for our help
Choice of joy in gratitude or greed and ingratitude
We rejoice for the things we have. We seek out all the moments of grace- God’s grace with gratitude and find contentment. Or we can complain about the things we do not have. We can see the good out of the bad – what lessons we learn from mistakes; how we can grow strong and mature in faith in the challenges of life or we can wallow in self-pity and complain about the hardships.
Choice of peace or strife
We make peace and renounce violence and strife. Bonhoeffer said: “Jesus’ disciples maintain peace by choosing to suffer instead of causing others to suffer. They renounce self-assertion and are silent in the face of hatred and injustice.” We choose to be peacemakers instead of troublemakers.
Choice of Patience or anger; forgiveness or vengeance
We are patient when we are wronged. We respond in forgiveness rather than anger. We turn the other cheek instead of hitting back.
Choice of kindness or meanness; sympathy or apathy
We are kind to the needy and the poor. We give encouragement to the downhearted. We choose sympathy instead of apathy. We give with an open hand instead of being tightfisted.
Choice of goodness or giving in to our sinful nature
We choose to do good instead of giving in to our fleshly desires. We overcome evil with good.
Choice of faithfulness or giving up
We persevere in the handwork. We endure hardships – we do not give up our calling to be light and salt of the world.
Choice of gentleness or pride
We are meek – we follow Jesus who gave up the throne of heaven to become man like us. We overcome pride with gentleness.
Choice of self-control or addiction
We have self-control. We control our tongue. We guard against addictions of the world.
Practical gifts to share when we bear the fruit of the Spirit. These gifts do not cost a cent but they are products of the fruit-bearing process of the Spirit.
THE GIFT OF LISTENING…to REALLY listen. .. listen with understanding and not judging.
THE GIFT OF AFFECTION… Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have.
THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER… Share funny pictures, heartwarming stories, funny stories – even your own. Your gift will say “Come and laugh with me.”
THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE… It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a love letter to your spouse, a prayer of blessing.. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.
THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT… A simple and sincere: “You look great in red”; “You did a good job.”, “Thank you for a wonderful meal.” All these can make someone’s day.
THE GIFT OF A FAVOR… Every day, go out of your way to do something kind. Be generous with your resources, time and effort – not just money.
THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE… There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.
THE GIFT OF PRESENCE… Just as people need time of solitude or being alone, they need companionship as well. Let them know that you are available to help or just be present to accompany you along the way in any challenge.
THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION… The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone. Really, it’s not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You. Or to encourage with a positive word and a simple smile.