Monday, June 11, 2007


I apologize for not posting the next item from the Spiritual Formation Workbook in so long. Between work and engaging in the rites of spring on my little slice of heaven on earth here in the midwest, I've been terribly busy. Thanks for continuing to engage in the discussion...I've not been ignoring it and enjoy the thoughtful contributions each of you make.


"(God) has chosen to cultivate the gospel soil of people's lives so that they bear spiritual fruit: 'love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control' (Gal. 5:22) ...God lives with his people through the Holy Spirit."

Question: Of the Holy Spirit's fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), which has grown and matured in your life? Which has yet to bloom and grow?


Lori said...

Oh, this question hurts. I have so very far to go to begin to live out any of these! At the very least, I'm profoundly aware of my need for the holy spirit's presence & force in my life.

Nancy said...

Lori: I honestly feel the same way. Even after spending years specifically focusing on something like being more loving, it seems I have made little real progress. It certainly makes me grateful for grace. We have to extend it to ourselves as much as to others.

Kate said...

I’m glad we’ve resumed these discussions – I’ve missed reading your thoughts and I finally found my workbook!

I am at an absolute loss at the moment regarding these things. My family has finally hit rock bottom with my husband’s alcoholism. He and I are separated and the family is grieving for many, many things. Its been a 7 year struggle with one form of substance abuse or another – and I am tired. I am struggling with finding my own voice in this situation. I believe that I have reached the tipping point – whatever that means.

I had been praying that the Holy Spirit would speak quite directly to me in regards to what were my ‘next steps’ and for wisdom on how to help my husband; whether it would be acceptable for me to leave him or reconcile, etc etc.

In other words, how would I be able to show these spiritual fruits towards him. What is happening though is that I’m hearing a small quiet voice that is urging me to be kind, and patient and loving - to myself.

So, please pray for me – that I find peace in this situation and that the hope of recovery and restoration is mine also.

Amy said...

Katie, I just want you to know I love you.

Kate said...

I love you too Amy.

I know I have to find my own way through this, but I'd be grateful for any wisdom on this issue.

Thanks everyone.

Jemila Monroe said...

I can only imagine what you are going through. I was once married to someone with a sexual addiction and depression/anger, so I would be happy to share anything from my experience with that that would be helpful to you. My email is if you want the more personal version or want to share personal stuff.

My best advice is to ask yourself, "If this was my daughter, what would I want her to do?" "What am I modeling for my children with how I handle this situation and the choices I make, and how will this impact their relationships in the future?"

Nancy said...

Kate: That small, quiet voice is very wise. Listen to it. Above all else, take care of yourself and do whatever it takes to keep yourself sane in what can often feel like an insane situation. Try and remain aware of how much energy you are putting toward him and his problem and if it is more than you are expending on yourself, then pull back.

Good books on your situation include "The Language of Letting Go" and "Codependent No More". If you have not already tried an Alanon group, you might find support there.

Finally, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is tell someone "No".

Thanks for sharing and so sorry to hear of your struggles. May God's peace quiet you this morning.

Kate said...

Thanks Nancy. I've just finished Codependent no More - and it was as if that book had been written just for me :)

Lori said...

Kate, you've been in my prayers--most especially, that the holy spirit's role as "comforter" would be profoundly real to you right now.

I've been continuing to think about this question this week. What do "the fruit" look like in someone who's at least as likely to be overturning the tables of the money-lenders as to be gently blessing the children? I'm not a particularly quiet, gentle sort of person; quiet isn't my strong suit, to say the least. So it seems like most of these "fruit" don't exactly fit.

On the other hand, I understand how valuable these attributes are, and I know God calls me to experience them. Just because they don't come naturally doesn't get me off the hook.

But how do I live them out?

Amy said...

I've been thinking about this question this week as well. So often my initial feeling when reading or hearing the fruit of the spirit is all gooey and soft.

I've been working on a team this last year that has taken a close look at what loving relationships should look like in the church and then trying to implement key ideas and changes in structure in our own church to lay a better foundation for accountable, authentic relationships.

In that process, I've read some material that talks about what "love" is. Love is active, it comes alongside, it handles conflict in a positive way. Often, I must do the action of love before the feelings actually catch up.

I wonder if that's the case with the fruits of the spirit? I look at the fruits and get a bit overwhelmed. I don't think any of them have grown and matured in my life. As I mature in my faith, I seem to have a greater realization of how selfish and self-centered I really am. In the midst of that, though, I also become more conscious of God's working in my heart and mind. Somehow that frees my to act out the fruits before I actually feel them.

Jemila Monroe said...

Well responding to the question, it depends when you ask me, what I will say, but looking at the big picture I think I've grown especially in peace, joy and love. Patience is both my most obvious weakness and an area where God has been ceaselessly at work in me, and I can acknowledge some movement. Gentleness is another area I frequently find challenging. I tend to either be bold or people-pleasing, but being strong in a gentle way is a place I am improving by God's grace, but I have a long way to go.
Generosity and kindness are difficult for me when I feel the obligation to manifest them is imposed on me by someone else's need/expectation or external/internal guilt, yet it comes quite naturally to me to practice random acts of kindness,senseless beauty and generosity. I guess you could say I have pretty good self-control (except sometimes about keeping my mouth shut,) but I react very poorly when I perceive someone else (authority figure, circumstance, whatever) is trying to control ME. God help me with surrender!