Hi Hope Ames!
Have you ever gone on a cross-country road trip? I love so much about them - the open road, open windows, open air, wind flowing through the car, time to reflect.
You know what's not so great about those trips? For me, it's about two hours into the drive when the open road, windows and air kind of lose their luster, and I cannot believe that I've still got 14 hours to go.
'I should've bought a plane ticket.'
Do you ever feel like that when it comes to your faith? The freedom that God brings into your life is such a rush at first, but then it can start to feel like you're not making very much progress. "I'm still struggling with... (fill in the blank)," I say. 'I'm still dealing with... (fill in the blank),' you think. It can be discouraging!
Nonetheless, Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit produces
in our lives (
). The thing about fruit is that it grows slowly... but it grows surely.
You may be two hours into a 16-hour road trip, and you don't feel like anything has changed, but you know you're making progress. In the same way, you might be a ways into this journey with God, and it feels like nothing is happening anymore. In those moments, look at where you started with the Holy Spirit, or look where you were with him (or without him) just two years ago. See how he has grown his fruit in you: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Consider a situation you find yourself in today, and think about how differently you would have handled it before.
Our growth in the Holy Spirit isn't instantaneous, but it is inevitable. Take a look at how far you've come with him. You may be surprised!
I'm thrilled to preach more about the "Fruit of the Spirit" this Sunday morning at 10:30 in the Ames City Auditorium. See you there!