February 24, 2017

Devotions
The heaviest pumpkin ever cultivated in North America was grown in 2015 in Illinois by farmer Gene McMullen. Weighing in at 2,145 pounds, the pumpkin took 93 days of patient care to grow, according to McMullen. The current world record is held by a 2,323-pound specimen from Switzerland, weighed in 2014.

Like these giant vegetables, the fruit of the Spirit takes patient care and godly commitment to grow. Like yesterday’s list of “acts of the flesh,” today’s list of “fruit of the Spirit” is not exhaustive but rather presents examples of godly virtues (vv. 22–23). These qualities should characterize the lives of followers of Christ (vv. 24–26). The implication from verse 21 is that those who live like this will inherit the kingdom of God.

“Love” is agape love, selfless or sacrificial care that looks to serve others’ interests. “Joy” is not a result of circumstances, but an inner gladness and contentment that rejoices in the right things. “Peace” is an inner quietness and harmony in one’s relationships, a result of being reconciled to God. “Forbearance” is patience, putting up with others in difficult situations. “Kindness” indicates a readiness to help others, to empathize with their needs and to act to meet them. “Goodness” is generosity, or in general working to benefit others. “Faithfulness” indicates trustworthiness or reliability, a person of integrity who keeps their promises. “Gentleness” is meekness, not attempting to dominate (6:1). Finally, “self-control” is self-discipline or restraint, the way to victory over sinful desires.

Since we belong to Jesus, the “acts of the flesh” have been left behind at the Cross. In our new way of life in the power of His resurrection, we need to “keep in step with the Spirit”!

Apply the Word

“Fruit” is an interesting metaphor. We cannot make seeds grow, but we must till the soil if we want anything to grow. Cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in our lives takes work, but it is the Spirit who actually produces these qualities in our lives. We can’t do it by our own effort. We must walk daily with the Spirit to see His fruit in our lives.

BY Brad Baurain

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