My journey into the fruit of the Spirit began after studying Graham Cooke’s seriesThe Way of the Warrior. I recognised that peace wasn’t just a good idea, it could manifest as an atmosphere changer in my life. I started to consider whether more of the fruit of Spirit might be available in this way.
I realised that spiritual warfare is often a battle for the atmosphere in me, around me, and around the people I care for. That led me to wonder if the fruit of the Spirit might have the power to change the atmosphere in our home.
I was a bit shocked when, after sharing this revelation, my wife Fran informed me that the atmosphere was great until I arrived home from work! In hindsight, that was a wakeup call for me to see that firstly, the fruit of the Spirit needed to change the atmosphere in and around ME. Only then would they be able to manifest in and through me to affect the atmosphere for those I loved.
Of all the things we desire in this lifetime, few can cross into the realm of the eternal. The fruit of the Spirit not only change atmospheres; they are attributes of God, present in the act of bringing the cosmos to life and foundational to all creative expression. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are central to everything He is and does. We get to experience and display the creative force that brought the universe into being.
The fruit of the Spirit represents a significant portion of the nature of God. Because they represent aspects of His character, when they manifest in and through a person, they produce deeper intimacy with Him. They are the essence of the One with whom we are building a relationship. Taking time for the fruit to dwell in and find expression through us results in an authentic representation of Jesus in our lives. From this place of connection, we can let God lead us into wide open places and spaces of creative expression.
There is truth buried in the fruit of the Spirit that can only be fully appreciated when experienced in relationship with God. I believe that the Lord is asking us to walk with a greater commitment to displaying the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
For me, it’s about modelling each of the fruit, as I am able, without condemnation when I fail. For the last few years, I have practised walking in what I now refer to as an atmospheric commitment towards the fruit of the Spirit. Let me explain what I mean. My thinking about the atmospheric commitment comes from living in and from an atmosphere where I am assured that God is not only present but also manifest in my circumstances. It’s an atmosphere in which His nature is present and where others can discern the fruit of the Spirit emanating from me.
This commitment can be expressed in freedom or religiously. The religious version says, “I will constantly uphold the fruit of the Spirit on all occasions”, while the commitment born of freedom says, “When the fruit of the Spirit is not manifest, it’s not OK.”
The commitment to such an atmosphere can be confronting because in truth only others can measure my atmosphere. I don’t believe it’s possible to say that God is manifesting in and around me if no one else is experiencing it. God is sovereign, and He can display His nature to anyone at any time whether they believe in Him or not.
I have met some religious people who blame others when their atmosphere is quite frankly, crappy. It’s easy to deflect and not take responsibility for our actions and atmosphere. It takes a journey to the place of vulnerability to start cleaning up our atmosphere. We need a profound revelation of our uniqueness in the world. When we understand that we are original, with all that encompasses, we can take responsibility, not only for our actions but also for the way that we come across to others.
As you spend time reading and meditating on the fruit of the Spirit, why don’t you ask Holy Spirit to talk to you about what it looks like to manifest the fruit in your life? My prayer is that you will be launched into higher, broader and deeper levels of freedom and intimacy with God and the world you inhabit.
Adapted from Andee Sellman’s book “Reflections on the Fruit of the Spirit”. You can purchase any of the titles from the Land of Seven Rivers Foundational Series in either e-book or paperback format by following the link https://www.landofsevenrivers.org/store.html
Andee Sellman is the founder of Land Of Seven Rivers.
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