God, Deliver Me From Myself!

Ever compare yourself to other people and come up lacking? Sure you have. We all do, no matter how much we try to avoid the comparisons. Others are more loving, more joyful, more patient, etc, etc, etc. We want to appreciate ourselves, but how do we get there?

“For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control . . . .“ (Gal 5:22-23a NKJV)

This is quite a list. Have you ever felt like less of a Christian, or even less of a person, because you didn’t seem to have all the fruit active in your life?

bountiful basket of fruit       I have.

Honestly, it felt like a hopeless cause. Who can love all the time, always live in peace, be patient with everyone, be kind and good and faithful and gentle—whew! And then to have ultimate self-control? Impossible!

Or is it?

If it were impossible, Paul wouldn’t have encouraged the Galatians to live this way. Easy, no, but not impossible. You see, the problem lies in our trying to live it on our own. We can’t do it. We need help.

There’s a reason it’s called the fruit of the Spirit. First, note that Spirit is capitalized. The fruit comes from the Holy Spirit living in us. And who does He live in? Every one who calls on the name of Jesus. Another name for Holy Spirit is “Spirit of Jesus”. His spirit lives in us.

Then what happens? The Spirit grows fruit. In us.


Fruit - apples

Have you ever grown any fruit? How about vegetables or flowers? Did you ever sit very quietly by your garden and listen for the sounds of strain and struggle as the fruit was growing? Preposterous! We all know that fruit just grows from the plant.


Here are some things we can do to help a natural garden grow strong and healthy:


  • Sow the right kind of plant. If you want to grow squash (which is ridiculously easy to produce in my garden), you will have to put squash seeds or plants in the ground. Planting something else won’t give you any squash to eat. And letting something like wild morning glory come in—bindweed—will soon take over the garden and steal space and important nutrients from your desirable plants.
  • Water regularly. It’s pretty dry here in Colorado and that can be tough on gardens. Certain plants are adapted to thrive here with only weather-provided moisture, but they don’t seem to produce a whole lot of edible goodies. Over-watering is as bad as being too dry, though. They need the correct amount.

well-watered and sun-filled garden

  • Sunshine is imperative. Plants can’t be happy in the dark. My neighbor’s tree was shading one end of my garden so much that my carrots, beets and radishes nearly died. Not much production that year!
  • Fertilize when needed. I have a small composter and toss all my vegetable trimmings into it, along with some grass clippings and fallen leaves. My neighbors even chip in! By fall, I have a nice pile of nutrient-rich compost to till back into the soil for the next year. I also fertilize hungry plants as needed throughout summer.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Periodically, yes. But if I am patient and care for my garden, the plants produce fruit—all by themselves.

I just have to encourage them.

Part 1 of an 11 part series on the fruit of the spirit

Next time: Our Spiritual Gardens

Part 2| How Does Your Garden Grow?


Illustrations courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net