Something that I have been learning lately are the fruits of the Spirit.
No, it’s not been easy, and I’m not very patient with it. I get angry when one of my kids spills a drink on the couch, or when hubby spends more money on lunch than was originally budgeted. Oh, the frustration I feel when someone “doesn’t get it” about Torah, or who Yahshua was, or anything that I feel I’m on the “up and up” Biblically speaking.
Oh, wretched sinner that I still am. Obviously, the work on the cross didn’t finish it all, because there is still a LOT of work in me left to do. The only thing I have truly going for me at this point is my willingness to say that I don’t have it all together, and my willingness to keep trying. That automatically makes me 1/2 way to success, my desire to do the Father’s Will. HE wants us to succeed at this. He doesn’t set us up to fail, like a big ol’ meanie in the sky. The Father truly wants us to follow Him and He didn’t make the way difficult.
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. (Deut 30:11-16 NIV emphasis mine)
Following His commandments are not hard. At least, they shouldn’t be. Sinful pride seems to keep getting in the way for me. The Torah isn’t far off, it’s in our mouth and in our heart when we choose to follow the Father’s ways. Incidentally, that’s how our Messiah walked, talked and lived while on the earth. He walked Torah perfectly as an example to us that WE could do it, too.
But, that PRIDE.
Pride is the thing which causes me to fail each and every time. It puffs me up, makes me believe I can do it all on my own. That I don’t need help with anything. When I am full of pride, I find myself arguing with people, losing patience with my children, fighting with my husband, and even eating an entire bowl of ice cream as I try to “drown my sorrows”. The fruits of the Spirit are not reflected in these things.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23 KJV)
So, how to I show love first of all? Yahshua Himself said that the two greatest commandments were to Love Yahweh with all our hearts, minds, and soul and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matt 22:37-39 KJV)
Loving Yahweh with all our hearts means that we guard His laws, His right rulings (Deut 11:1), obey His voice and cling to Him (Deut 30:20). We strive to follow Torah, to keep it the best we can. When we fail, we TRUST that our Messiah’s blood will cover our sin so that we can start over again. We don’t give up. That part is easy. Our Father is perfect, He doesn’t make mistakes, spill milk, toss a red sock in with white laundry or bleach our dark colors. He doesn’t load the dishwasher wrong, forget to take out the garbage or forget to feed the dog.
Loving our neighbor as ourselves? Ummm…that is the difficult part. It’s hard to love a neighbor that allows their dog to roam free, killing your chickens. The neighbor that dumps all their leaves in a pile in your yard? The neighbor that burns their leaves as you are trying to hang out laundry to dry? What about the person who cuts you off in traffic? Or takes the parking space you wanted? What about the person who is taking forever in the checkout line when you are in a hurry? How hard is it to remember to love when your white laundry comes out pink, or your black laundry comes out spotted? Or when you are cleaning up spilled milk-AGAIN?
That’s where I call out to the Father. There are times I can’t love someone on my own power. BUT, with the Father’s Spirit leading me I can forgive the dog’s owner, understand that the neighbor was trying to help our garden with his leaf pile, and even offer to take the other leaves off our neighbor’s hands so they don’t have to burn them. With the Spirit, I can breathe and remember that a parking space is just a parking space. There ARE others in the parking lot. I can remember that nothing is that important that I need to be in that big of a hurry in traffic, or at the store. (yes, emergencies are different)Perhaps in the interest of peace for myself, I leave an extra 15 minutes in my schedule to account for that.
With the Father’s Spirit, I can remember that clothing is just STUFF that will pass away. Harsh words can wound a soul, crush a spirit, break a heart. I take a breath and remember that my family was trying to help.
And, that, my friends…is walking in LOVE. Am I perfect at it? NOPE. Not even close. That’s where keeping close to the Father in prayer and reading comes into play. Renewing your mind and all. (Romans 12:2)