The distance you’ve already come

Yesterday I talked about the fruit of the Spirit that Paul lists in Galatians 5:22-23 (CSB): “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

As a follower of Jesus, these traits will start to grow in your life.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably looked at that list and scratched your head in frustration. Maybe you don’t really see yourself as a fruit of the Spirit success story. Maybe you don’t think of yourself as loving enough, or gentle, or patient.

But don’t fear. As a Christian, the Spirit WILL grow these traits within you.

But today I want to focus on the good that’s already happening. Here’s what I mean.

Your personality may be naturally inclined toward a particular trait. Maybe it’s kindness. Maybe it’s love. Or maybe it’s faithfulness. If so, you should be encouraged: God is probably already using that particular trait powerfully.

As people of faith, we can sometimes get down on ourselves…

-We see other people who seem to have it all together.
-We have a bad couple of weeks and think we’ll never turn it around.
-We read Jesus’ words and don’t think we could ever be as loving, truthful and forgiving as that.

Yes, there are certainly things we all have to work on. But don’t let that distract you from the good that is already happening.

Look at these traits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When you think of your own personality, what trait is already at work? God is probably already using that particular trait to make you more like Jesus, and bless the people around you.

Don’t get so discouraged about the distance you have to go, that you discount the distance you’ve already come.

By Matthew Ruttan

–Today’s “Up!” is based on my most recent podcast about the Holy Spirit: “Three-Legged Pace.” (And no, that’s not a typo.) You can listen in here. Enjoy!
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

–I’m on vacation until August 26. New devotionals will appear this week. “Up!” highlights will occur the week after. And then the devotional will go on pause until August 26.
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