Wednesday, June 24, 2009
SALT Challenge - The Fruits of the Spirit
This week it was Melita's turn to set the challenge for the SALT team and she choose The Fruits of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5:22. Melita provided us with a wonderful write up on this topic, along with scripture verses for each "fruit." Do take the time to head over to the SALT blog to read about her challenge! "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." -Galatians 5:22 In his letter to the Galatians, Paul uses the metaphor of fruit to describe the conduct of believers (the conduct of the unbelievers is outlined in Galatians 5:19-21). When I ponder whether or not I consistently see these fruits in my own life, I feel somewhat discouraged. There is no doubt that I need to be more loving, longsuffering, kind, etc. and so many times I see the opposite in my life. Sometimes our perceived lack of progress in one or more areas can cause use to feel a sense of despair. However, I think that sense of hopelessness is a lack of faith, and usually a lack of prayer, in the One who is able to produce genuine change in our lives. I have found that God has used some of the most trying and frustrating times in my life to produce better fruit. I read through Matthew Henry's comments on these verses in Galatians, he writes: "By describing the works of the flesh and fruits of the Spirit, we are told what to avoid and oppose, and what we are to cherish and cultivate; and this is the sincere care and endeavour of all real Christians. Sin does not now reign in their mortal bodies, so that they obey it, Romans 6:12, for they seek to destroy it. Christ never will own those who yield themselves up to be the servants of sin. And it is not enough that we cease to do evil, but we must learn to do well. Our conversation will always be answerable to the principle which guides and governs us, Romans 8:5. We must set ourselves in earnest to mortify the deeds of the body, and to walk in newness of life. Not being desirous of vain-glory, or unduly wishing for the esteem and applause of men, not provoking or envying one another, but seeking to bring forth more abundantly those good fruits, which are, through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God." Those who love Christ will never perform perfectly, we will continue to fail in many areas and may struggle to see fruit. But do not lose hope! God will be faithful to His Word. If He calls us to be loving, then by the power of the Holy Spirit and our exercising love, we will become more loving individuals. What a comfort to know that we don't have to try and attain such lofty goals on our own; we need only to rest in Christ. With today's card I was channeling Michelle Zindorf. :-) Anytime I think of using trees, I think of Michelle! She has wonderful tutorials posted on her blog and following her simple instructions produces great results. Her cards are like little pieces of art! I posted a close up shot of the tree, and sentiment (my thoughts on the results of the Spirit-filled life!) so you can see the highlighting, from a white gel pen, on the tree. Michelle uses this technique frequently, this is a first for me, and I love the results, especially the tiny highlights on the tree leaves. All supplies used on my card are from Stampin' Up! Please stop by the SALT blog to see the beautiful work the design team has created to share with you this week!