Sunday, November 29, 2009
THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT
Yesterday we spent the day at our friend, Tina's, country estate. Tina was the first person to open up her home to us when we arrived in Brazil. She lived in London for fourteen years and has been a great "English speaking" contact for us. I wrote about her and her beautiful home a few months ago. As I was wandering her gardens yesterday, taking pictures of her amazing tropic fruit trees, I started to think about the many comparisons that Jesus makes in the bible about our lives producing good or bad fruit.
We are struggling as a family right now to live at peace with one another. It has been about 100 degrees for two weeks and our tiny house is like an oven. The kids have been getting on each others nerves and have been treating each other and their parents disrespectfully. Marko and I have been a bit grumpy ourselves! Yesterday was a tough morning. We sat the kids down to have a little discussion before leaving for Tina's. We told them how proud we were of them for coming to Brazil and that we knew it had not been easy. We talked about how they have been treating each other and how it saddens God's heart as well as ours. Marko asked them to really think about how they were talking to each other and what a stranger would think of our family if they stood outside our home and listened. We told them we have to be the same in the privacy of our own home as we are in public or we are not being "real". We talked about how the Lord knows and hears all things. We then prayed and began our day once again with changed attitudes. This little discussion with our kids, along with seeing the fruit trees at Tina's led me to the vision for this blog.
One of my favorite verses in the bible is Galatians 5:22 which says: "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control."
I want these attributes in my life, but often struggle to have them. I especially struggle with patience! It is amazing how the weather can have an effect on our attitudes, but here in Brazil my patience is definitely affected by the heat! I have to admit that I am struggling with self control as well. The food here is so amazing and the Brazilian Culture is such that they want you to eat with them and often times they don't stop eating until ten at night! This has been a challenge for me. Saying "no" doesn't seem to be an option!
Another verse that I want to share is John 15:1-6 regarding "The fruits of the Spirit": "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."
In the same way a gardener prunes the dead branches in an orchard to produce good fruit, the Lord wants to prune his people so that they only produce good fruit. I don't know about you, but I need daily pruning! I desire to have the "Fruits of the Spirit" evident in my life. I want my impatience and my lack of self control to be thrown into the fire and replace with much " good fruit"!
When you look at these photos of some of Brazil's exotic fruits, consider they ways that the Lord is trying to prune your life so that you produce much fruit! I have included a picture of Tina picking fruit off one of her trees and a picture of the children by the pool.