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The Fruit of the Spirit
by Marcia Vastine
If you LIKE to hear your children fight and bicker with each other…raise your hand.
What…no one raised her hand?! Well, no surprise there. None of us like to hear such awfulness. Yet, we who have siblings or friends are all guilty of such discomforting behavior. Strife seems to be one of those universal family and societal problems. I was raised in a single parent home with one brother and three sisters. Between the first born (my brother) and the third child (that would be me) there was our sister, twelve months younger than our brother and sixteen months older than I. Three children in 28 months. The next sister came along seven years later and our youngest sister was born three years after number four. Sibling rivalry, bickering, fighting, and general ill will were a way of life in our home. It used to drive our mom nuts. Sound similar to your situation? I know my daughter, Lisa, often struggles with bickering among her three girls. Just the other day we had to cut our conversation short so she “could deal with yet another situation.”
Growing up, I wasn’t a Christian. And, while we were all baptized, I couldn’t say we lived in a Christian environment. We were “churched.” BUT…I didn’t know I needed to be born again in order to receive God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know that I needed to be a “new creature in Christ Jesus where old things passed away and new things have come.” (2 Corin 5:17) I didn’t know that I needed a new heart that only Christ could give me, or that He could develop in me the “fruit of the Spirit” which is the outward demonstration of God’s gift of a new heart and blood-washed soul through Christ’s sacrifice. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:14b-25:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself. BUT, if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another. BUT I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. BUT if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. NOW the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:…enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions…of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. BUT the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. NOW those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
My point is simply this: These developing fruit aren’t just the expected responsibility of us who are older, growing, maturing saints who have a number of years under our Christian feet. These fruit of the Spirit need to be developed in our young ones, our children, our grandchildren…those in our care, responsibility…and TRAINING. The problem is easily identified and through Christ’s sacrifice, His gift of the Holy Spirit and His written WORD, He equips us to grow and mature.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov 22:6)
I love many things about God’s WORD, one of which is the way He teaches by compare and contrast. As a training tool, perhaps you can make a two-columned chart with the Fruit of the Flesh identified in one column and the Fruit of the Spirit shown in a second column. Then when ill behavior is evident or good behavior is shown, you will have the chart to reference.
About Marcia: I grew up in PA and met Frederick (Rick) while working as a secretary at ARCO Chemical Co. We were married for almost 44 years when he passed into glory on February 15, 2012. We have two grown children and four grandchildren. I became a Christian at age 30 through a neighborhood Bible study I was attending. As a youngster I was a Lutheran. As a newlywed I attended a Methodist church with Rick. As a new Christian I fellowshipped with charismatic believers. Now I’m a Presbyterian, who loves the LORD and loves His WORD. Professionally I’ve owned two businesses…a bridal shop in the late 1990’s and a home décor sewing business which I dissolved after Rick passed away last year. I first took the Precept leader’s training course in the early 1990’s and again just last year. I’ve led a number of Precept Bible studies and look forward to continuing to do so. Rick used to tease me about being “a Jack of all trades, master of none.” He’d probably get a kick out of knowing I am now the church’s bookkeeper. Many of you know that Rick was ill for a number of years, but the final three were particularly difficult. Once Rick had a major stroke in March 2010, I became his fulltime caregiver. Of all the hats I’ve worn, that one gave me the greatest fulfillment and peace because through those difficult “valley of the shadow of death” years, our LORD was abundantly faithful in His love and care for us. I learned that it is a privilege to walk with the dying. Life is so precious.
Women’s Breakfast 9am Saturday, June 15th
Come see Tamra Corbeau’s presentation of “The Royal Wardrobe” from the retreat.
Bring a friend and something to share!
Bible Studies have begun Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings
Not too late to join!
Contact Christine in the office for books or to sign up for child care
As always, if you need financial assistance for any of our studies or childcare, let us know, we do not want anyone to be unable to attend because of financial reasons. Contact Heather at email@example.com.
Baby Bottle Campaign ending this Sunday
Don’t forget to return your baby bottle for the Fredericksburg Pregnancy Center’s Baby Bottle Campaign this Sunday. You still have time to change the life of young women and families in the Northern Virginia community.
Let us know how we can help you get the word out about ministry or fellowship needs or opportunities… firstname.lastname@example.org