It is midsummer and I looked in the grocery store for Concord grapes. There were none. How I miss those beautiful, purple grapes! They were part of my childhood when people grew their own grapes on small arbors in back yards. I spent many days reading books and enjoying Concord grapes! When God led me into the “mission field” of Women’s Prisons, I drove monthly up Highway 99 and passed miles of lush vineyards. I sadly learned I couldn’t buy bunches of my favorite grapes…they were grown for Concord Grape Juice or their delicious Grape Jam.
This reminded me of a lesson from my Leadership Class at Valley State Prison on the Fruit of the Spirit. I recently retired from “going up Highway 99” and I miss those days! But women are paroling after 30+ years, and from a Class of twelve LWOP’s (Life Without Parole) only 4 remain inside. Now it is with joy I encourage them “on the outside” through phone calls or visits. I bless you today with our “Fruit Lesson.”
John 15:5 “I am the Vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me, ye can do nothing.”
We become intimate with God by staying connected to Jesus, the Vine. As we ABIDE in the Vine, we will automatically produce the following fruit. It will be SEEN in us, and should OVERFLOW for others to enjoy! .
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (self-control: against such there is no law.”
The Fruit of Self-Control REGULATES or “binds together” all other fruit. For example, Love WITHOUT self-control can become passion. Joy WITHOUT self-control can become frivolity. Gentleness WITHOUT self-control can becomes weakness, and Meekness WITHOUT self-control can become timidity.
NOTE: The Fruit of the Spirit GROWS…the Gifts of the Spirit OPERATE.
When the Holy Spirit comes into your life at Salvation, He brings nine Gifts of the Spirit with Him. These gifts are to be used in daily living. God anoints you with HIS power, and wants to loose HIS potential in you to go forth like Jesus.
Luke 4:18-19 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
NOTE: The FRUIT of LOVE “motivates” the Gifts of the Spirit to operate. You learn to activate Gifts by reading God’s Word and staying connected to the Vine.