You can’t just try harder to be loving. We can memorize all of Scripture, sing the loudest in worship, serve on every ministry team, study the saints, and pray the most eloquent prayers, but without the abundant Love of God, our words and actions are hollow gongs.
Green things only grow when they’re planted in the best soil, pruned of their diseased branches, and given the right amount of sunlight and water. Our growth depends upon abiding in Jesus. When you abide—or live—with someone, you take on their mannerisms. You absorb their outlook. Depending on what they offer, you either grow or wither.
The fruits of the Spirit are the result of abiding in Christ. By embracing the freedom of Christ, we open ourselves up to new growth from the Spirit, growth in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. All of these fruits are the ways in which God manifests his Love through us into the world.
Let’s join together in abiding in Christ.
Points of Reflection
- At what points in your life have you felt closest to God? What was unique about that season that made it so?
- When have you felt the most distanced from God? What choices caused that separation?
For the Kids
- What do you think it means to “bear fruit”?
- What does it mean for you to abide in Jesus?
Faith / Works
Prepare a Fruit Basket – What better way to sweeten someone’s day than with fresh fruit? Visit a local farmers’ market, orchard, or produce stand to prepare a basket of fresh fruit to deliver to someone in need or a local homeless shelter. If you have children, involve them in picking out fruit and delivering the basket.
Today begins the season in the traditional Christian calendar of Lent. Lent is a time in which Christians around the globe are reminded of Christ’s suffering and of our own mortality (a reality that many of us have had to grapple with during this last year of pandemic), leading up to the darkness of Holy Week and the promised hope of light on Easter Sunday. If you’re looking for a different angle into Lent this year, I recommend Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide, compiled by Sarah Arthur. Arthur combines Scripture passages, ancient prayers, and poetry by contemporary and canonized writers to give the reader a full and rich opportunity to reflect on Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection.
Listen or read online through your local library’s Libby app, or buy on Amazon.com or through a local independent bookstore near you.