Time for a Checkup…

A slow, concentrated inhale…a long, clearing exhale. The inability to relax. The nagging feeling deep down inside telling me that it was time. Restlessness resided while agitation continued to grow. In all honesty, my heart was sick and in desperate need of a checkup-not so much the physical checkup, but the uprooting and cleansing type that would reach the recesses of my soul.

I was reading my Bible. I was journaling. I was sharing God’s Word with others. I was praying (to be honest, not consistently). The “How to Grow in Your Faith” checklist was being marked everyday. At the end of the day, every box was checked, and there was a feeling of satisfaction from knowing I had completed everything that was expected of me. I continued to move through my days very similarly as if I were a robot programmed on autopilot set to complete a specific task. Where was my heart in all of this? Was it anywhere near God’s Word or involved at all in these empty prayers? It wasn’t. I was simply going through the motions and it was as if my heart was completely detached from my body during my quiet times.

This realization hit me this past weekend during my set aside time to read my Bible, and I literally stopped and said aloud, “What am I even doing”? The answer came right away but in the form of a whisper from the Holy Spirit: “Checking off a to-do list”. Truth smacking me in the face. What I had been doing was not pure worship or relationship with my Savior; it was very much “surface level, let me get through this so I can move on to the next thing on my list, but I’ll feel better about myself because I read my Bible and prayed”. I had good intentions when I first made the decision to get back into the Word, but the time spent had become shallow and not meaningful at all. My heart was detached and cold; I needed healing and a serious look into the depths of my inner heart and soul.

I returned to my Bible and decided the best way to dig up and clear out all the junk was to take a deeper dive into the fruit of the Spirit. In the New Testament in the Book of Galatians chapter 5, Paul preaches on the fruit of the Spirit and how, as believers, we are to stay in step with the Spirit which will in turn produce fruit in our lives. Simply put, Paul urges us to be sensitive and open to the influence of the Holy Spirit who is filled with love, peace, comfort, and joy. Abiding in the Spirit helps believers move away from the lusts of the flesh and this world, and it brings us in deeper relationship with our God and Savior. Not only this, but walking in the Spirit helps us show others who Jesus is-the perfect living example of each of the fruits listed in this passage. And that is our main goal in this life-to point others to Him.

Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Love: This type of love that Paul speaks to goes beyond just “feelings”; it’s a decision; it’s a choice made to love those who are both lovable and unlovable.

  • 1 John 15:11: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”
  • John 13:34: “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.”

Joy: Pure joy is found when we stand firm on the foundation of the truth of God-are we praying? Are we in His Word everyday? Are we learning and applying His truth everyday?

  • John 15:11: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
  • Psalm 16:11: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Peace: True, real peace only comes from God. This is a deep peace that overcomes circumstances and is unwavering. This peace extends outside of just feeling calm-it brings blessings and goodness.

  • Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  • John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.”

Patience: Longsuffering-we bear our adverse circumstances, trials, and annoyances. We work through them and learn from them.

  • Ephesians 4:2: “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love”
  • Hebrews 10:36: “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised.”

Kindness: How do we treat people? How do we talk to people? How are our responses when we’re slightly annoyed or tired and someone needs something from us? Do we extend a helping hand often?

  • Proverbs 21:21: “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
  • Colossians 3:12: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, humility, meekness, and patience.”

Goodness: How giving and generous are we? More importantly, what is the state of our hearts when we give?

  • Proverbs 11:24: “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.”
  • 1 Timothy 6:18: “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,”

Faithfulness: Are we reliable to those closest to us? To those around us? Are we serving God with the fullness of hearts? Are we going to Him daily and spending much needed time with Him?

  • Proverbs 3:3: “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.”
  • Psalm 37:3: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.”

Gentleness: This type of gentleness is not being passive or allowing others to take advantage of us. This is a meekness in our actions and responses to others around us.

  • Ephesians 4:2: “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”
  • Titus 3:2: “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”

Self-control: How do we respond when the temptations of this world come knocking on our doors? Do we stay strong in our faith? Do we control ourselves on behalf of others?

  • 2 Peter 1:6: “and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness”
  • Titus 1:8: “but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined”

Ultimately, believers are given the Holy Spirit as a guide and to help lead others into righteous living. The Holy Spirit prays and pleads on our behalf-bringing words to our Father when we silence falls from our lips. He comforts and empowers. The fruit of the Spirit is given to and available to all believers. As believers, we are to follow the perfect model of Jesus who completely and entirely exemplified the fruit of the Spirit in His time here on earth. We are take each step with the Spirit allowing Him to mentor and counsel and help us demonstrate this way of living to all we encounter. The next time you feel heart-sick or stuck in a spiritual funk, take some much needed time to closely examine where you are when it comes to the fruits of the Spirit, which in turn provides a beautiful opportunity of sweet surrender to our Father.

Below you’ll find a link to a free printable available just for you! This is what I used to take that closer look at my heart when it comes to the fruits of the Spirit and I wanted to make it available to you as well! Download, print, make copies, take notes-anything you need to help you on your journey with Jesus. The first link will take you to the download. Enjoy, sweet friends!

https://linktr.ee/selah_soul

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