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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
I've always heard it said that the teacher learns the most, and I know this to be true from personal experience. I started teaching a girls' Sunday School class last August, and in September we began a study called Becoming a Young Woman of God. I have learned things along the way, but God used this week's lesson to speak to me in a way that I haven't heard Him speak in some time.
We have been learning about our feelings and how emotions can be positive or negative. The past two weeks we learned that our feelings can actually be radar systems to warn us or cause us to take positive action. The study has taken us through a series of steps to help us evaluate our actions and reactions to situations. Then today, we looked at the fruits of the spirit and what our lives are saying to others.
God spoke to me very strongly through Galatians 5:22-26. He very clearly showed me that some of my actions during the past week were not pleasing to Him. He showed me that I let my feelings and emotions control me rather than them helping me to take positive action. This morning as I read these verses with my girls in Sunday School, I very clearly felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me, telling me that I had acted foolishly and had not portrayed the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that He wants from me.
The working of the Holy Spirit doesn't stop there though. During church this morning, we heard a beautiful song that I have loved for quite some time. "Wonderful Merciful Savior" was sung, and I really heard the words today. At one point the lyrics say:
You are the One that we praise;
You are the One we adore.
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for.
As I listened to these words I thought about the last week and the turmoil that I have felt inside. My heart had been hungering for something, but what was it? It was healing and grace--the kind that only comes from Jesus. I'm so thankful for His grace, yet I am so undeserving of it.
And many times, I'm unwilling to give it. That's what hit me in the face this morning.
I. Am. Unwilling. To. Give. Grace.
I--who have been shown grace time and time and time again--am so very, very often unwilling to give it. And if I'm unwilling to give it, then why should I expect to get it in return?
But what an awesome God I serve! He loves me in spite of my faults. He shows me grace daily when I fail miserably, but most of all He showed me grace by allowing His sinless son to die a sinners death on the cross for me. A man who knew no sin, was tortured and killed because I become unwilling to show grace. So that I do not ever have to face eternity without Jesus, He died in my place. That is grace. And it was shown for you and me.