Our theme for this month: “The Gift of Being Yourself”
Our Bible verse for today: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Our thought for today: “It’s what’s inside that counts.”
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of Galatians 5:22-23 in the life of the Christian. There are other verses that are probably more important, like John 3:16 which reminds us that our Father in heaven loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us in order to rescue us from our sins. In John 3:6-7 Jesus tells us that we must be born again. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 the Apostle Paul explains that when we are born again, we become a brand-new spiritual creation. Romans 10:9-10 tells us how to be saved. Those scriptures express essential truths of the Christian faith and are therefore some of the most important passages in the Bible. I personally believe Galatians 5:22-23 is right up there in that top tier.
In this passage Paul explains the amazing transformation the Holy Spirit progressively brings about in the life of the Christian. Paul calls it “the fruit of the Spirit”. These are character traits that the Holy Spirit works into your life. As you mature and grow spiritually these traits become more and more a part of who you are as a person. They begin to define you. You become known as a person who is so full of love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control that those things bubble up, overflow, and radiate out of you. It’s simply who you are.
This is what matters. This is what counts. As I said in yesterday’s devotional, it’s not your physical attributes that are the most important, it’s what’s inside of you that matters most. You may be 6 foot 4 with sculpted abs, you might have Brad Pitt looks, you might be a black belt in karate and drive a Maserati, but if you have anger and bitterness in your heart then you are not a person to be admired or emulated. On the other hand, you might be short, round, bald, and wheezing, but if you have a heart overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit you will be a wonderful person who is a joy to be around.
Also, the fruit of the Spirit is an excellent barometer to evaluate how you’re doing with respect to spiritual maturity and growth. To what extent does the fruit of the Spirit define you? To what degree are those attributes present in your life? More is better, less is problematic.
As you consciously and joyfully embrace the gift of simply being yourself, give more thought to your spiritual maturity rather than to your physical characteristics because it’s what’s on the inside that matters most.