The fruits of the Spirit are easy peasy. Except when they're not.
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.
- Galatians 5:22-23
One of my favorite quotes is this:
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
-C. S. Lewis
As we take a look at the fruits of the Spirit, at first, we might be tempted to see ourselves as loving, kind, joyful people. But, these fruits we admire, the fruits we are given by the Spirit, seem pretty easy... until they aren’t. If we’re honest, there are times when we’re tested and tried to our breaking point. And it’s at these very times, when life is most difficult, that they are most required of us. This is when we must take courage and trust the Spirit of God to move in our hearts and make the impossible possible. Let’s take them each in turn and see.
It’s easy to love, until people are unloving or unlovable, and then loving deeply requires courage.
It is easy to be joyful, until our joy eludes us, in which case it requires courage to turn our eyes heavenward and find delight.
It is easy to be peaceful, until our lives are disrupted, and then being at peace requires courage to trust God despite our circumstances.
I must confess, this one never feels easy. But certainly, when we have our patience tried, it takes great courage to persevere patiently and not lose our cool.
It is easy to be kind to one another, until we find that our neighbor doesn’t vote like us, and then it requires courage to lay down our arms and be tenderhearted and considerate.
It is easy to choose to do or be good, until sin lures us in, in which case it requires tremendous courage to stand up and walk in the light.
It is easy to be faithful, until the grass “over there” seems greener, and then it requires great courage to be steadfast.
It is easy to be gentle, until someone pushes our buttons, and then it requires courage to not give way to our desire to be harsh.
It is easy to have self-control, until our temptations are overpowering, and then it requires pure courage to have self-discipline.
This month as we dive into the fruits of the Spirit, my prayer is for courage. This isn’t a list of feel good, do good virtues. It’s a hard, fierce call to align our hearts with the Spirit. We can’t live up to this list on our own. These fruits are given, not gained by effort.
Which fruit of the Spirit is hardest for you?
Which is the easiest?
How is the testing of your virtue beneficial to your spiritual growth?
Vera co-founded Dwell with her sister, Natalie. Together, they're committed to helping others connect with God each and every day. Vera also does the design work for Dwell Differently. She and her husband, Matt, live in Missouri with their 2 children.