Christianity That Crunches

Jeff Spiritual Growth

Looking back it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  I suppose it was an impulse-buy and I must have been very hungry when I pulled my wallet out and paid the $2.99 for it.  The packaging looked attractive and I was still struggling with the disappointment of having gained back about twelve pounds of the thirty I had lost.  I guess that’s why I bought that little bag of dried banana chips the other day.  I think someone told me that that dried banana chips were healthy and I forgot the universal law that reminds us if something is marketed as being healthy it is also secretly processed to be tasteless.  I ate three of the hundred or so of them in the bag.  Little disks of tightly compressed sawdust is what it tasted and felt like in my mouth.  I was going to feed the rest of the bag to the fish in my front-yard pond but I was afraid of being charged with cruelty to animals.  Lesson learned: dried fruit does not make a chubby man happy.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control…” – Galatians 5:22-23 {ESV}

Let’s start out this Monday by getting honest with ourselves.  On this list of the Spirit’s fruits, which one stands as the point of conviction in your life?  Which one in this spiritual cornucopia comes the least frequently on your life’s table?  Which one of these could be labeled the “dried fruit” in your life which requires some moistening vitality from on high?

Since scriptural love is best defined as seeking the highest good of another, I think I can say with some degree of confidence that I’m fairly safe here.  Joy is something I work diligently at and God is gracious to have deposited it in me on a consistent level.  Peace is not my weak point as it comes pretty easily for me to live in calm trust of my sovereign God.  When I read of the fruit of kindness I don’t have the same confidence in my maturity level as I have the others.  It’s not absent but kindness needs some deeper blossoming in my life;  I need some work here.  Goodness, faithfulness and self-control are all areas that God has stabilized me in and I don’t feel the sting of conviction when pondering these fruits.

It’s the gentleness-fruit that makes me want to shove my hands in my pocket, shuffle my feet, lower my head and ask for a free pass.

If I could buy a bag of the fruit of gentleness which proceeds from the tree of my life…it would be crunchy.  God knows my heart and how often I’ve wrestled with this area of dried fruit syndrome.  What compounds the matter is that I’m married to a woman whose most manifested fruit is this very gentleness.  I’m just not there with her and others who seem to have been born in a Gentleness Orchard.  I’m a fighter at heart and I find myself riding the roller-coaster of tit-for-tat with those who oppose me.  Care to joust with me?  I’ll be tempted to clear my schedule so we can make it an all day affair.  I’ve been walking with Jesus Christ for over seventeen years and am keenly aware that this bag of gentleness chips needs some mighty works of grace to make it edible for those who are starving for the touch of Christ.  If you think about it, feel free to pray for me about this.  I’m simply not a consistently gentle man.

Ok, my confession is over.  It’s your turn now – what about you?  Go back to the verse and share with us which one is your dried-fruit area?  Don’t be too proud to get in on the discussion.  It helps us crunchy-Christians know that we are not alone.