PRODUCT DISPLAY There’s a difference between producing fruit and displaying fruit. A branch just shows off the fruit that the vine has produced. Jesus is the vine, and I’m the branch. John 15:1-8.
The biggest mistake you can make about the Fruit of the Spirit is to think you can manufacture love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Fruit can’t be manufactured. You can’t manufacture Spiritual Fruit either. It comes supernaturally when there is a proper mix of the Life of the Son, the power of the Holy Spirit, and your willingness.
Is your life like a car and Jesus is a passenger? Jesus was in my life, but I had the steering wheel. I’d sometimes see a detour and flip on the blinker and Jesus would say, “Don’t go down that road!” I’d say, “Who’s driving? Me or you?” Then I’d always end up lost and stuck in the mud of my poor decisions. I’d say, “Jesus please give me directions to get back on the main road.” My life was a continual series of bad detours. But on that night I truly surrendered to Jesus as Lord, I said, “Jesus, let’s swap places. I want You to have the steering wheel.” At that moment I became the passenger and He became the driver. Through the years I’ve seen plenty of flashing billboards directing me to go down the wrong road, and I’ve said, “Hey, what about that? Let’s try that road!” And Jesus simply says in reply, “Who’s driving? Me or You?
Gentleness isn’t weakness; it’s strength under control. Gentleness means you don’t use strength to hurt those who are weaker. It’s true physically, and it’s true emotionally. If you’re ever in a confrontation where you could verbally or intellectually destroy the person who disagrees with you, gentleness prevents you from hurting them. Gentleness means you don’t get in someone’s face and yell at them. People are fragile; they need to be handled with care.
You have to move that “Our God is faithful!” understanding from your head to your heart. You have to TRUST that He is faithful. Sometimes when trouble and tragedy afflict us we wonder what God is doing. But these are the very times when you have to TRUST that God is faithful to keep His promises to us. He has a plan for your life—a plan to prosper you, not to hurt you; a plan to give you hope and a future.
We think we’re good because we compare ourselves to others. We look at our neighbors, our coworkers, and our friends and if we’re a little better than them, we feel we’re pretty good people. You’re using the wrong standard if you compare yourself to other people. God’s standard is perfect goodness and complete holiness. If you use the wrong standard, then all comparison is useless.
The kindest thing you can do for a person is to introduce them to Jesus. And sometimes the easiest way to do it is by performing some act of kindness to them in Jesus’ name. Kindness is an evangelistic tool. You may not know the four laws or the seven steps, but you can show kindness in Jesus’ name.
Sometimes Jesus calms the storms of life, but most often He calms our hearts in the midst of life’s storms. We all know that a hurricane is a devastating force of nature. But at the center of every hurricane there’s an eye, where it’s calm and peaceful. The sun is shining, the air is still, and even birds fly around in the eye of the storm. Peter was in the eye of the hurricane that night in prison. And when you know that God cares for you, you can be in the peaceful eye of the storm while all around you the storm rages.
When you wake up every morning, you have a choice. You can wallow in the ashes of the world, or choose the beauty that God offers. You can give in to mourning, or you can have the oil of joy covering you. Are you burdened down with a spirit of heaviness? You can choose to put on the garment of praise. Joy is a choice!