By Rebekah Robinson, The Rope Contributor
I gave my mom a couple of beautiful calligraphic prints for Christmas. Gift-giving is not my love language, so I was pretty pleased with myself for thinking of these without spending hours contemplating between two different sets of place mats (no comment on whether or not this has happened before). Anyway, one of the prints features the fruits of the spirit.
The last few months, the fruits have grown inside my thoughts and have stayed. I’ve been praying they don’t rot, but rather nourish me. If you’re at all like me, you probably hear a familiar voice (and it probably sounds like a more annoying version of your own) telling you that, “You aren’t being nice enough right now. What’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you being patient? Try harder.” Well, surprise, surprise. That doesn’t work. I’m not self-sustaining enough to always be as loving and joyful and gentle to everyone in my life. Isn’t that another false gospel? If you try harder, you’ll be better. Try harder, and you can be Jesus to someone today. I’m tired of running into that theme in my life. It’s not true, and it’s exhausting.
I’m not Jesus. I can’t save anyone.
The fruits are of the SPIRIT because they’re given by the Spirit. And how do we gain them? We ask for them. It’s really that simple. I make everything too complicated. I already told you all that I can’t even pick between two sappy Christmas presents!
But that’s the great part. We aren’t enough, so we get to ask for more. And we can keep asking!
If you’re like me, you’re pretty helpless. Where do I start when I’m empty? What do I pray for when I just don’t know how — or I just don’t really want — to love my neighbor?
I know God loves it when we ask for more of Him. So why shouldn’t we ask for our love for Him to increase more? Our love for Christ directly correlates with our love for others. Living out the fruits of the spirit doesn’t seem as impossible during the times when I’m most in love with and most reliant on Jesus.
Our love is imperfect and inconsistent and fearful, but we have a Savior who loves us perfectly, fully, always and forever. Why shouldn’t we ask for more of that love? It’s already there. Just ask.