The fruits of the Spirit aren't mainly for us. They're for sharing
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
This past week my whole family has fallen in love with the rap song, “Blessy” by IMRSQD. We’ve been singing this same refrain these last few days, “I’m blessed to be a blessing. I’m blessed. No really, I’m blessed.” And, as I sit down to write this post, it’s with these same words on my lips, singing praise to the God who blesses me, not just for my own sake but in order that I might be a blessing to others.
Isn't that the point?
God’s blessings in our lives aren’t mainly and solely for us, but for overflowing into the lives of those around us. We were never meant to damn up God’s blessings into a private reservoir, but to allow them to flow like a river, spreading life and beauty to those around us. Let me show both how I know that’s true and how that truth applies to our verse about the fruit of the Spirit.
Our God is generous.
He is the God of overflowing abundance, creating hosts of diverse interdependent wonders spanning the universe for his pleasure and ours. But, of course, his radically excessive extravagance is displayed most strikingly in the shadow of the cross, where his greatest sacrifice purchased our deepest gift—his eternal embrace.
I could just stop there. It’s just too much.
But, we can’t stop there. God didn’t stop there. Instead, as his own beloved children, we get to imitate him and reflect his generous character in our lives. We are to share his endless blessings with others. We’re “blessed to be a blessing.”
So, what does it look like? What blessings are we talking about?
Sometimes when we think of blessings, we think of stuff—proper measurables like our finances, our tangible goods, or our precious time. These are for sure blessings, things we are called to share with others. But, there’s so much more. God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (Eph. 1:3). Did you hear that? EVERY spiritual blessing.
This brings me to our final point.
Those fruits, the ones that the very Spirit of God is bringing about in our lives—can’t you see how they aren’t for just us? In fact, they don’t even make sense in a vacuum. Like, how can you be patient, if you're not ultimately being patient with someone. Or what good is gentleness without a recipient? Where is kindness or goodness or love if we aren’t kind, loving, and good towards someone else? Are you picking up what I’m laying down here?
So, here’s a personal confession.
I didn’t really think of these fruits as mainly for others until just a while ago, when God opened my eyes up over here. I would have said, “I wish I had more love, patience, or joy. I wish I was kinder or more gentle, or had more peace.” But, I wasn’t really thinking about the practical benefit of such things. And such blessings aren't mainly my own, though it sure is nice to be blessed. I’m a conduit, a river basin, the water that flows through me is neither from me, or merely for me. It is for life, for beauty, for others who might come and be refreshed.
To put it simply, I’ll sing that refrain once more. “I’m blessed to be a blessing. I’m blessed. No really, I’m blessed.”
(Listen to "Blessy" here)
Do you think of your blessings as a river or a reservoir?
How have you limited your view of God’s blessings?
How might you share God’s blessings, physical and spiritual, with those around you?
Natalie co-founded Dwell with her sister, Vera. Together, they're committed to helping others connect with God each and every day. Natalie also hosts our weekly podcast, Dwell Differently. She and her husband, Jason, live in Chicago with their 5 kids, where Jason pastors First Free Church.