Let’s talk fruit.
Cranberries…deemed a”super fruit”because of it’s nutritional qualities and anti-oxidant power. Beautiful in a floral arrangement and red and vibrant on the dinner table; these diverse and delicious fruits can be enjoyed in many forms- dried, as a relish, juice, sauce or chutney. In addition to delighting the taste buds, these red rascals also hold benefits for hair, skin, and health. Super fruit indeed.
My last post was about being in constant pursuit of God, inviting Him to fill us with the Spirit…less me, more Him. God knew before I did that I was going to need to go back and read that post. After a long Thanksgiving week- busy with family, travel and sleepless nights- I was empty. Just a few days before I had been thanking God for every blessing I could count and even those which are unseen. What happened? Sunday…Monday…Tuesday…I found myself feeling empty and way too focused on myself. There were things I couldn’t control, aches and pains that have been pinching and plucking my emotional and physical nerves, frustration and fall-out, and a “to-do” that I don’t think is quite what God had in mind for me. My will over His. The trinity was at war within me and I am not talking about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit either. ME…Myself…and I. What made it worse was that I knew that I was complaining. I knew that I was unhappy. I knew that I was too focused on myself and what I thought God had planned (all “think” and no “trust”) -not focused enough on who God is, His blessings and His plans. Full had turned to empty and there I was- staring at my own reflection in the bottom of my empty cup.
Then God hit me yesterday as I was preparing to go a service for a dear friend and Bible study partner who lost her battle with cancer. “Lost”…not really. She was positive, prayerful and just as fixed on God as ever during that nearly year-long struggle. She didn’t lose. She’s face-to-face with Jesus, and there was a multitude of souls in that church who were touched by Jesus as a result of her faithful service to the Lord. So, I’d say the victory was won. Praise the Lord. I started reflecting on the past two months. During our Bible study, she was so prayerful and concerned- but, NEVER for herself. It was her husband who consumed her thoughts and prayers. She prayed that God would lighten her husband’s load, that he would take better care of himself and not be so focused on her, that he would find men in the church to lean on. Every prayer, every concern, every tear she cried was one of unselfish love. What a stark contrast to what I was seeing in the mirror. (sigh) I fail.
So yesterday, I prayed…”fix my eyes on You, Lord.” Over and over. More Him, less me. Resuscitate this shriveling vine and produce fruit.
Last night, I had the unexpected blessing and honor of helping a friend. It was one of those needs that God placed in my path in a single moment in time. “Be the hands and feet, ” He said. There is no pride in this statement, but I will tell you that the fruit was so much more than I could have ever imagined. I had done something I was CREATED to do…in the name of Jesus and for Him. I was fulfilling my purpose and not seeking myself in that moment. Today, I woke up renewed and refreshed. Fruits of the Spirit…the joy, peace, goodness, kindness and gentleness. They flow from us and extend to others. It was these very fruits of the Spirit (God in me) that enabled me to help a friend. Trust me…nothing good was coming from this rotten apple.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Corinthians 12:9-11
…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:11
Today, in the grocery store, in found myself smiling wider at passers-by. I walked past a tower of trail mix and reached for something that was not on my list and something I do not ever recall having before- a container of dark chocolate covered cranberries. Hey! Dark chocolate also has several health benefits associated with its consumption, too. When I got home and dug into them I was amazed! Oh my. This was the tastiest treat ever.
Fruit…covered in sweet. Both with known benefits.
When we do what we were created to do, the giver also becomes the receiver. Fruits of the Spirit covered in unanticipated sweetness.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Imagine the glory to God and the blessings experienced if we all acted to fulfill the purpose that God has laid out before us. Daily- not just on one single day. More Him, less me. His blessings overflowing…fruit wrapped in the sweetness of blessing.