But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)
Ahhh! Summer and fruit! What a treat!
Our family has been going through some watermelon, and hopefully we will have a bumper crop in our garden this year.
And peaches! Oh yes, we will make a stop on our July beach trip as the peach harvest will be in peak – fresh, juicy, and delicious! We eat them with the fuzz and all!
And even later on, as summer comes to a close, my crew will help my dad pick the gorgeous grape clusters from his vineyard.
Fresh fruit is all around us in the summer months. And I must say I was thrilled to learn that Weight Watchers allows one to have unlimited fruit! (“Just don’t go bananas on bananas!”;)) No doubt about it! Fruit is an awesome and healthy summer snack!
This past weekend, our lesson in 5th grade Sunday school happened to be on the Fruit of the Spirit. As I prepared the activity, the teacher’s guide suggested making a fruit smoothie. However, the recipe looked rather boring, using orange juice, plain yogurt, and a small amount of fresh fruit.
We purchased a Vitamix last year that I have grown to love and it makes the best, most healthy treats! It is way more powerful than a regular blender!
As I pondered over the lesson plan and the passage of Scripture, I thought it may be a good idea to pack up my Vitamix and take it to Sunday school. Taking a measuring cup, lots of different fresh fruit, and some ice, the kids enjoyed a special treat and hopefully a clear message about living out the fruit of the Spirit.
You see, the measuring cup was for the #1 ingredient in the Fruit of the Spirit Smoothie – water! The water represents the Holy Spirit living inside of us. That is, Jesus living in us. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Living Water (John 4:10).
The key to a Fruit of the Spirit Smoothie is making sure to put in the Living Water first! Because it is impossible to live out the fruit of the Spirit without the help of the Holy Spirit.
Next, we added different types of fruit to represent the fruit of the Spirit - strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, an apple, kiwi, an orange, a banana, grapes, peaches and a lemon. Actually, we ended up with more fruit that there were “fruit of the Spirit” listed in the verses!
But the lemon had a specific purpose. It represents faith. You’ve probably heard, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” We all get handed lemons in life. It takes faith to believe that God will work all things for good (Romans 8:28). God can take our lemons and make sweet, refreshing lemonade when we have faith.
And lastly, we needed to throw in lots of ice to make our smoothie. Though ice is not a fruit, it is a good representation of self-control. How many times do I need to cool down when I feel myself start to explode? Whether it’s anger management or not finishing off the leftover birthday cake (and we’ve had a lot of birthday cake lately!), it takes self-control to STOP. Count to 10, go for a walk, chew a piece of gum…whatever it takes to NOT indulge the flesh!
And believe me, I’m preaching to myself!
Making smoothies will never quite be the same for me now. The recipe for a Spirit-filled life is dependent upon one basic ingredient – living water. I will always need WATER. And I will always need ICE (frozen water).
Heavenly Father, help me to always remember to start my day with the Holy Spirit. The Living Water of Jesus is necessary for me to survive spiritually. I desire to live out the Fruit of the Spirit in my life, but I realize I cannot do it alone. Fill me up, Lord, with your Holy Spirit and help me to feed my mind and body with things that are good and healthy. May I live a life that is glorifying to You.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)
Busier than Christmas! That’s how I describe this season each year in our household!
Spring 2011: Baseball and/or t-ball to fill our weeknights and weekends, dance recital, preschool graduation, school music program (my son played Elvis!), honor roll ceremony, awards day for 5th grade, awards day for 8th grade…not to mention that our family averages a major celebration per week from the end of May through the middle of July!
Let’s see, there is my mother’s birthday, my son’s birthday, my other son’s birthday, Father’s Day, my daughter’s birthday, the 4th of July, my husband’s birthday…oh, and at some point I need to pack for the beach!
At least sometime at the end of all these activities, I get to go on vacation! Believe me, I’m already counting down the days. :)
If I sound frazzled, maybe it’s because I am!
Interestingly, a friend invited me to attend a local Bible study at her church. You may have heard of the Frazzled Female by Cindi Wood. So far it’s been a fantastic study for this season.
In fact, the very morning after we began the study, I was so frazzled that I had convinced myself I had either lost my billfold or someone had stolen it out of my purse! I was shopping in one of my favorite bargain clothing stores and had found lots of great stuff. However, when I reached for my billfold to whip out my plastic card, it wasn’t there!
Almost in tears, I began to frantically search for it. It wasn’t in my car. I called a friend who works at the school that my son attends to see if perhaps someone had turned it into the office. (I had been there that morning for a school program and thought it may have fallen out when I grabbed my camera out of my purse.) I was desperate and attempting to retrace my steps!
Nope. It wasn’t there.
I drove home as fast as I could without causing danger to myself or others on the highway. Praying all the way…I had come to terms that if I had to cancel all my credit cards, etc. then at least my family was healthy and we hadn’t lost everything like many families in Joplin and other towns that have been affected by recent tornadoes.
This was something that could be replaced. I knew I needed to count my blessings.
As I opened my kitchen door and unarmed the alarm system, I spotted the Vera Bradley pattern on the island blending in with all the clutter! “Thank You, JESUS!!!” I breathed with relief!
Of course, then I remembered that I had checked to see if I had change for lunch money earlier that morning for my son. When I didn’t have enough ones, I had laid it on the counter rather than putting it back in my purse where it belonged. Duh!
Being frazzled and stressed is something I certainly struggle with this time each year.
Over and over the past week or so, I keep hearing the same message, both through the Frazzled Female study and my Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young.
Carving time out of my day, preferably first thing in the morning, to sit with Jesus is essential to keeping my sanity and finding His peace. Inviting Him to be a part of whatever activity I’m doing as I go throughout my day is a way to experience quality time with Him. For instance, yesterday morning I was very aware of His presence as I completed the simple task of watering my flowers.
Another suggestion that Cindi Wood makes in her Frazzled Female study is to take a “Weekend Mini-Retreat” with God. (You don’t have to go anywhere and it doesn’t have to necessarily be over the weekend.) The point is to take some special time to get away from all the distractions and just be with Jesus. Maybe a little extra Bible reading, talk to God in prayer, and just be still and listen as He speaks through His Word, through nature, or to your heart.
Summer is a time for vacations, relaxing, and recharging.
Could this “frazzled female” really work on becoming defrazzled by meeting God first every day and spending some quality time with Him? After all, that’s what He desires most from me, and from you.
So I’m spending my summer with the God of the Universe, basking in His presence and His creation, and hanging out with the people I love, the first ministry to which He has called me – my family!
What about you? How do you plan to spend your summer?
What is your busiest season and what are some ways you defrazzle?
Lord, I pray that you help me to always seek You first, especially in my busiest and most stressful seasons of life. Often it is easier to skip my quiet times in the midst of the chaos, but help me to remember that is when I need You the most. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for loving me so much that you desire to spend intimate time with me. I love You.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,) and all these things will be provided for you. Matthew 6:33 (HCSB)