“Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.” – Theodore Roosevelt
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself in each of the 9 fruits of the Spirit?
How would those closest to you rate you in each of those 9 fruits?
Yesterday I became aware of several storms that are brewing. Storms in life are inevitable. Rick Warren says you are either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or getting ready to go into a storm. But the real question is, “How do you react when you’re in a storm?” Who or what is your rock? How can others tell?
It’s easy to be good and look good when most things seem to be going your way. But it’s during the tough times in your life or family – when things seem to be falling apart or blowing up – that the real you shows up. That’s when your true character manifests.
What character traits matter most? Clearly, based on Jesus’ teaching about the Greatest Commandment, love is the most important one – love of God first and foremost, and then love of neighbor and self. However, the other 8 fruits of the Spirit – joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control – are also very important.
What are some of the best ways to intentionally grow in the fruit of the Spirit? For me, rest, reflection, meditating on the Word of God, praying, journaling, coaching (accountability), and serving others are all helpful. The latter is extremely important. It’s the real deal. Taking my focus off myself and serving others allows me to manifest the love of God in tangible ways.
Booker T. Washington, American educator and civil rights activist (1856-1915), once said “Character, not circumstance, makes the person.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, philosopher and poet (1803-1882) is quoted as saying, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
Heavenly Father, thank You for the storms you bring into my life and my family. Jesus, thank You for being my Rock – a firm foundation to stand on and trust. Thank You for being my good Shepherd who “makes me to lie down in green pastures and leads me beside the still waters (Psalm 23:2). Thank You for the opportunity and privilege to share my heart with those who read these messages. Bless them LORD. Have mercy on us! Thy will be done Jesus. Thy will be done! Amen and hallelujah!
Link of the Day
Quotes on character – Josephson Institute of Ethics
Blessings to intentionally grow in the fruit of the Spirit this year!