Infancy is back-to-basics time! It is during that era that we set the cornerstone and fix in place the initial blocks, upon which we develop the balance of our lives, spiritually speaking. Because of the essential nature of these truths, it is helpful for us to return to them periodically and be reminded of their importance.
Fruit of the Spirit
How can we know if we’re really making progress in our spiritual walk? After all, the Bible offers no prescribed checklist of duties to perform that prove we’ve “arrived” as mature believers. But a list provided by Paul in Galatians 5:22–23 does offer proof both to ourselves and to those around us that the Spirit of God who dwells within us controls our thoughts and actions.
And that’s the catch. We can’t produce such fruit on our own—even with the most sincere effort. We can’t fake this fruit either. Rather, the fruit of the Spirit is a supernatural result of yielding to the Holy Spirit. Once we’re exhibiting the pure, holy fruit of the Spirit, the contrast is stark between those who are filled with the Spirit and those who obey the deeds of the flesh, as seen in Paul’s other list in verses 19-21! When we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, all the glory goes to God.
All who work with babies and bottles, toddlers and high chairs, building blocks and toy boxes enjoy one of the special delights life offers. Yet with all the thrills, there are also the threats unique to newborns. Being so tiny and dependent, their little lives often hang perilously close to danger and death. What is true of infant humans is equally true of infant believers in God's family.
There is one common analogy used throughout the New Testament regarding the local church. It is not a business, farm, team, school, or hospital, though those word pictures are frequently used by us to convey various dimensions of congregational life. The most often used analogy is that of a family. God is our Father; we are called His offspring—sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, even fellow heirs.
Jesus was the master teacher. Against relentless and hostile opposition, and in spite of many who followed Him for all the wrong reasons, He spoke with wisdom and taught with skill. Among the methods He preferred to use, the parable was one of His favourites. By placing a familiar and simple word picture before His audience, Jesus was able to draw out profound analogies that have intrigued even the brightest minds for centuries.
Instead he suggests asking ourselves a question when something negative happens: What does this experience make possible?
Are the attitudes of unselfish humility, joyful acceptance, strong determination, and genuine thanksgiving evident in the way you respond to circumstances? Maybe it's time to make some changes.
This life transforming integrity is implanted by sincere faith in God and inspired by embracing His Word. In his psalm I call the Psalm of Integrity (Psalm 15), David lays out four ways integrity is revealed in our lives.
Acts of kindness are fascinating. They don’t make any sense, which makes them all the more interesting. Why this person, why this action, why this moment?
When we are younger it seems a bit easier to relate to God’s purpose for our lives. We readily find meaning in our role as a parent, in social relationships, in work, and in church activity. As we age this can change.