In the New Testament, the Pharisees (religious leaders of that time) added rules and regulations that did not exist, raising their traditions and customs to the level of doctrine. Fortunately for us, Jesus came and set us free from all of the rule keeping and showed us that the way to grow closer to God is not through actions nor deeds, but through a relationship with Him.
Instead of just a lot of “don’t do this” and “don’t do that” rules, we received commandments to do good such as:
- Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
- Make allowance for each other’s faults and
- Forgive the person who offends you.
- Always be joyful.
- Keep on praying.
- No matter what happens, always be thankful.
- Take tender care of those who are weak.
- Be patient with everyone.
The list goes on and on – all good things, but so many that I don’t know how I can remember them all! I want to do good, but what if I forget something that’s on the list?
That’s when I remember about God’s grace and about His Holy Spirit. I recall that I don’t have to remember a list of do’s and don’ts because as a believer, the Holy Spirit resides within me and He will guide me.
Sometimes when I read about the fruit of the Spirit, I can clearly see it in my husband, but not so much in me and I get frustrated and jealous. How is Enrique always so loving and kind and good? His patience is off the charts and I want that too! So I strive to show love or be gentle or have faith, but I can’t do it on my own. I just can’t. It doesn’t work that way.
In order for me to have the fruit of the Spirit, I need to walk closely with the Lord. I need to be in communion with Him constantly. What does that mean? It means reading His Word (the Bible), and talking and listening to Him (praying). When I do those two things, everything else will fall into place. The fruit of the Spirit is a byproduct of that relationship. So I don’t have to try to be nice or help others or be joyful or smile superficially. My close connection with God will automatically cause me to display those characteristics plus motivate me to encourage those who are down, help my fellow man, and share my faith in God with others.
Thank you, God, for liberating me!