The Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

I wonder how many self-help books have been written about character development. Books that teach us to be loving, joyful and at peace with ourselves. While certainly not everyone in the world sees these attributes as desirable, most people seem to. Or at least they want to see them in the people they are surrounded by. I suppose that some of these self-help books can give helpful advice. But anytime we focus on our own efforts to develop into loving, joyful, peaceful people, we produce something that is only an imitation of the real thing.

The only sure way to success is to walk with the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 18). When I walk with him, allowing him to work on my life, the results of his efforts, the fruit of the Spirit, will be obvious: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They will not come into full bloom instantly. But as we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, these virtues will grow and mature. The Holy Spirit within will be reflected through me for all to see.

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When the Time Is Right – Galatians 4:4-5

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Galatians 4:4-5 NIV

Waiting can be hard. The culture I am in is, more and more, one that promotes instant gratification. Fast food, drive thru banking, instant credit, express service, speed dating, and so on. We are impatient and don’t like waiting.

But God is not like us. He is willing to wait until the time is right. When the time was right, he called Abraham to follow him, he called Moses to lead his people out of Egypt, he sent Israel off into exile, and then brought them back. And, when the time was right, he sent his Son to us. A Son who was born under the same conditions that each of us are. His purpose in coming was to redeem us from the law, from the empty way of life we had (1 Pet. 1:18), and to make us sons of God.

I don’t know why God chose the time he did for each step in redemptions story. I have a very limited view of history. And even less so of the future. But God is not limited in either his knowledge, or his ability to accomplish his purpose in creation. In my impatience I often want him to act now. But, just maybe, I should trust him to act in his own time. He knows what he is doing, and so my best course of action is simply to come alongside him and let him lead. Trusting him to do what is best, and to act when the time is right.

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