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Friday, June 2, 2017

Fighting with fruit and serving it to others

 Fighting with fruit and serving it to others
May 2017
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie

Lake El Salto 6:00 a.m.
What do you fight with when things are tough? What are the things you reach for and depend on to help you win in tense situations? And what is something you can give away every day? I have discovered that fighting with fruit puts you in a win-win situation and is a blessing to those around you. 

I firmly believe that everything about everything in life is about us being conformed into the image of Christ. When we partner with God, He uses any difficulty to change us and the world around us.

There are things God wants to work in you and things he wants to work out of you, and one of the ways I believe He does that is in our daily lives, challenging situations, work, difficult people and family. So how do you partner with God so that you always win? How do you fight with fruit? 

I am not talking about throwing apples, bananas or oranges, I am talking about the fruit mentioned in Galatians 5:22- “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.” (NIV)

Sunrise Lake El Salto
When we practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, we operate in a safe spot in life and we are a blessing to those around us. There is no law against practicing these fruits and they are gifts to us from God. You are always in a good place when you practice the fruit of the Spirit. 

When you have Christ in your heart, these fruits are in you. They are in you and me to use in difficult situations and to use to bless people. You have a God given right to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control each and every day - on the good days and the challenging ones.

Love, joy, peace,etc. don’t just appear, they are grown. And often times, it is in adversity, in the hard things in life, we get the opportunity to cultivate them. As I have encountered hard situations, tense moments, unkind people, I have worked on practicing the fruit of the Spirit and it works! 

I have seen it change the atmosphere from negative situation to a positive one.
I’m not talking about waking up tomorrow and saying “today I am going to be loving or patient.”
I am talking about a mindset of seeing our daily lives and challenges as opportunities to partner with God. It is not about surviving, it is about overcoming, getting the better of the situation.

Have you ever thought about your current situation being the very training ground you need in your life? An opportunity to practice or exercise your peace, joy, love, patience, etc.? I try to go to the gym a few times a week to strengthen my core, workout my upper body and increase my flexibility. When I increase the resistance, weights or intensity, my muscles get a better workout and I am in better shape. I still have a ways to go but I am using the tough workouts to practice and improve. It is the same with the fruit of the Spirit. 

My precious daughter - honored at the Juvenile Diabeates Foundation Gala in May
I went through a number of years that were full of a lot of stress, loss, difficulty and challenging people. I believe those years were on opportunity for me to practice peace and change this very fear based person into a peaceful woman. During the beginning of that time, I blamed God for the stress and for not “making me peaceful.” God was so kind and patient with me because He loves me and wanted to change me to become peaceful like him.

 I do not have to be anxious, angry, bitter, mean spirited, impatience, harsh, unkind anymore! Those don’t belong to me.  They are not who I am. Why would I  choose anger, bitterness, being harsh, when I can choose love, joy, peace, gentleness and kindness?

Jesus paid the price for worry, fear, anxiety, frustration, resentment and being judgmental about people. They belong to Him and I can choose to practice the fruit of the Spirit!

Galatians 5:24 states, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus, have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (NIV) 

My husband and I love to dance. When I follow his lead, stay in step with him, we have a much better rhythm together and a great time!  Stephen and I had to learn to dance together. We had to practice. I think the same is true when we keep in step with the Spirit of God that is in us.

The more I have practiced, worked the fruits into the fabric of my being, the more it has become part of who I am and what I get to give to others I encounter. I love giving away peace, joy, kindness, and love to those I meet each day.

A few days ago, I walked into a local business and fund the owner very flustered and stressed out. As I listened to her, I asked her if I could pray for her. She quickly said yes and as I prayed, taking her to God, the giver of real peace. I saw the stress begin to leave her as I served her some of the peace and gentleness I had. She thanked me and was a different woman when I walked out the door.

As you walk in the days ahead, I challenge you to practice using the fruit of the Spirit. Practice on the tough days, use it to win in difficult situations, and serve it to those you meet in the grocery store, your home, place of work and wherever you go. 

I promise, you will change the atmosphere! Let me know how it goes and I would love to hear your story.

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