Shared by Dr. Carol C. Fisher, Pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church, Middletown, DE

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
~ (Galatians 5:22-23a)

Our negative thoughts can create anxiety, anger, resentment, jealousy – an array of emotions. A certain amount of negative thinking is normal. However, if this way of thinking and acting becomes one of the primary characteristics of our behavior, it can derail us from what we want most in life – from our main purpose.

At minimum, negative thinking and behavior saps our energy, erodes our self-confidence and can put us in a bad mood for both those who are exhibiting this type of behavior and those receiving it. Certainly, thoughts come and go so quickly that it’s impossible to notice them, but with an awareness and an attitude of compassion and Christlike love, we can redirect our negativism to more positive actions.

Our thoughts can be our own worst enemy. That is, if we let them. Think about how you may be “feeding” your negative thoughts by allowing them to rule your mind. Next time you have a negative thought, catch it and ask yourself, “What is this thought doing for me?” You will find that the answer is that all negative thoughts are doing is disempowering you. You can immediately feel more empowered by focusing on something good in your life, and then cultivating the practice of gratitude.

We can create greater peace, confidence and a more positive outlook by learning how to manage our thoughts. After all, this battle can be won because we have the power of choice!

Which wolf are you feeding? Remember, you always have a choice…

The fruit of the Spirit is produced by the Spirit, not by Christian disciples. The Greek word is singular, showing that “fruit” is a unified whole, not independent characteristics. This word refers to the natural product of a living thing. Paul used “fruit” to help us understand the product of the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

As we grow in our faith, all the characteristics of Christ will be manifested in our lives. And yet, like physical fruit needs time to grow, the fruit of the Spirit will not ripen in our lives overnight. Like a successful gardener must battle against weeds to enjoy the sweet fruit they desire, we must constant-ly work to rid our lives of the “weeds” of our old sin natures that want to choke out the work of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit gives us the power we need to reject sinful desires. We can say “no” to sin and accept the “way out” God faithfully provides (1 Corinthians 10:13) by following the Holy Spirit’s lead-ing. As we give the Spirit more control of our lives, the Spirit begins to do in and through us what only it can do – to shape us and grow us to look like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

Since God’s goal for all of us is to be like Jesus (Romans 8:29), the Holy Spirit constantly works to rid our lives of the “acts of the sinful nature” (Gal 5:19) and display God’s fruit instead.

Therefore, the presence of the “fruit of the Spirit” is evidence that our character is becoming more like Christ’s.

May we increasingly see more fruit of the Spirit in our lives that we might honor God with everything that we are and do.

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