Okay, I’ve been kinda stuck with something that we talked about during our last blog. Granted, it was the one that my five-year-old grandson helped with, but still I can’t seem to get away from the fact that “fruit never consumes itself”.
As I think about the nine fruits of the Spirit that Paul describes in Galatians 5:22-23, I wonder how many of them I have actually born to be “eaten” by someone else?
Here’s what I mean:
Patience….not one of my strong suits, agreed?
But in the situations that I am actually patient, how often do pat myself on the back and kinda throw a little private celebration party for myself?
Ever done that?
You know, kinda glowing a bit because you were so much “better” through the hard circumstance than you expected?
Yet, that is not the purpose of the fruit.
Once again, the “fruit never consumes itself”.
When the fruit of patience or joy or gentleness is borne in our lives, it is always and only for someone else….never so that we will feel more holy.
In fact, when this becomes our response, I wonder if we haven’t just offered the evil one a big delicious portion of our choice spiritual fruit. Pride, our adversary, is always on the prowl seeking just how he may devour whatever fruit the Father bears within us (1 Peter 5:8). Kinda scary, huh?
So as spiritual fruit ripens on the tree of our life, maybe our first response needs to be, “Father, reveal who You desire to consume this sweetness.” And then maybe, we should be prepared when it is “wasted” upon someone or something with no regard for the process and pain that such a fruit produced.
I don’t know about you, but that challenges me.
You are the Vine and I am only the branch (John 15:1). I know that as Your life sap courses through me, I will bear spiritual fruit.
Yet, I confess to You that sometimes, even before it ripens, I, the branch stands ready to glory in the produce, rather than offering it up willingly to You. I suppose that this isn’t actually the fruit consuming itself, but the branch hungering to consume what it has given birth to. (What a nasty cannibalistic thought…) And yet, I do just that when I glory in my own spiritual progress.
No wonder my faith is small. How can I believe when I seek my own glory by feeding on my own flesh (John 5:44)?
Forgive me from delighting in these spiritual gifts as if I myself had anything whatsoever to do with them. Indeed, I have nothing except what You have given to me (John 3:27). Turn my eyes from the fruit and onto You, the Vine. May it be done to me according to both my belief as well as my worship (Matthew 9:29: Philippians 3:3). In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Opposed – əˈpōzd
1) [ predic. ] (opposed to) eager to prevent or put an end to; disapproving of or disagreeing with; in conflict or disagreement with; hostile to
2)(of two or more things) contrasting or conflicting with each other
You know, the Greeks had a word for this as well. Yet, this time the meaning is a bit stronger.
Antitasso – än-tē-tä’s-s
1) to range in battle against
2) to oppose one’s self, resist
When I read this, I thought of a Roman soldier: suited up and in battle readiness toward his opponent.
Kinda makes you glad that you don’t have to face this guy first thing in the morning, huh? I’m pretty sure two cups of coffee wouldn’t give me what I needed for the battle.
So, I especially took note when I read one of the uses of “antitasso”.
And I was a little surprised when I saw who was in this fighting stance.
Now, we could think, “Good. He is after all of those wicked people.”
Yes, but the scary thing is it can include me and you as well. Look at this:
How many times this past week have we:
Thought ourselves better than someone else (even in our own church)?
Tried to outdo someone else (even in our own family)?
Treated a service person with disrespect?
Then we fall into the category of the opposed.
It’s really frightening.
So, next time I feel that twinge of pride welling up within, I’m going to picture God suiting up to face me with His legion of angels. I’m pretty sure that will change my tune.
What about you? When do you struggle with pride?