Yesterday, I had about 6 hours of flight time as I traveled back from my trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. When I fly, I have time to think. I started thinking about the fruits of the Spirit and how they seem to be missing from some Christians that I deal with from time to time.

I thought back to the time I read the book The Spirit of the Disciplines. What impacted me about that book was I was brought up in the church to be trained how to react to tough situations. I was told to practice being gentle or to reflect on joy and one by one try to act out the fruits of the Spirit.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

What dawned on me as I read that book many years ago is that the fruits of the Spirit are not to be drilled into us; rather they are what comes out of us naturally when we’re walking with Jesus. When you’re walking step in step with Christ and spending time in prayer and His Word, your natural reaction to troubles and trials are love and joy and peace and patience, etc. Get it?

Do I always display the fruits of the Spirit? No. Unfortunately, I go through dry spells in my walk and sometimes get too busy for the devotional time that I so desperately need and truly want. But, when I do get in the Word and spend time in prayer, I find myself more kind, more gentle, more self-controlled, etc.

My prayer for you, dear friend, is that you walk step in step with Christ, seek Him daily, pray continually and let the fruits of the Spirit be (naturally) evident in your life.

Greg Atkinson

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