This seven quick takes is brought to you by Galatians 5! This year, resolve to pray for and seek the fruits of the spirit! (Note: this isn’t the whole list, but it covers most of them!)
1. Love. Love for God and our neighbor–that is what should drive us this year and always. In fact, even love for yourself might be a goal–if you don’t feel confident in your own skin, how can you extend that to others? Seek to love in each moment, in big and small ways.
2. Joy. Joy is not the absence of trouble–but joy will be present even in times of trouble. As you seek a closer relationship with the Lord, you will find joy to sustain you. It doesn’t mean being clappy-happy all the time; it does mean that you know the Source of happiness and goodness and find your nourishment in that.
3. Peace. If you are walking in the Spirit fully, you will possess His peace. Be His fragrance everywhere you go. Bring peace to troubled situations. If you feel lacking in this department, ask God for His peace, which surpasses all understanding.
4. Forbearance. The times will get tough at some point this year. Maybe they are already. Lean on God to get you through. Learn patience and strength in suffering. Though painful, trials teach us many important lessons. These trials can strengthen our relationships with God and others.
5. Faithfulness. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is quoted as saying that”God did not call us to be successful, but to be faithful.” We won’t always be successful. Everything we set out to do this year won’t turn out the way we expect. What matters is faithfulness–in the small things and the big things. It’s the way we love our families, and the way we focus on doing our job right down to the little details. It’s in turning to God even when don’t feel His presence.
6. Gentleness. Seek to control your temper. When something upsetting happens, calm down and pray. Ask for the strength to react with grace. Be a good example to those who are berating you for your beliefs. Show not anger, but gentleness and truth.
7. Self-control. There are too many of us who don’t make prayer a priority. Prayer is the most important thing, and that should be our center. All else should fall around prayer. Make time for prayer. Beyond that, exercise prudent time-management. It will go a long way into creating a balanced life for you.
May the Holy Spirit give us the opportunity and the grace to possess these fruits of the spirit in 2015 and always!