Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
The concept behind a water wheel is very interesting because there are both overshot waterwheels and undershot waterwheels. In one case, the water falls from above the wheel to turn it. In the other case, water turns the wheel as it flows beneath it. Which is the more powerful? The first, or course.
We, like wheels, are turned by forces from various sources, but too often we move by the undercurrent — selfish desires drive us. However when we let God’s driving force fall from above we have power beyond anything we can produce on our own. The love God puts in us is far greater than any love we can come up with on our own. So is His joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23).
When we allow God to do His work within us, the result is that He reproduces His fruit. Notice Paul doesn’t say fruits (plural) although he does use the plural ‘acts’ for what the flesh produces (Galatians 5:19). The 9 traits listed in Galatians 5:22-23 are not 9 separate traits but all characteristics of one person – Jesus. They aren’t set out on a buffet table for us to walk by and choose which ones we want. They are one unit. When God is in control all 9 of these are producing themselves in us, when He isn’t in control none of them are there.
Because we have different personalities, different temperaments, and different strengths and weaknesses, some of these fruit will come more “naturally” to us and others will be more difficult to grow. Still, God makes all of them equally available. If we are naturally laid back and easy-going, we don’t want to mistake that for the fruit of patience. Likewise, if we have a problem with anger we can’t blame God for not giving us more self-control. We must make sure we allow Him to produce fruit in the areas of our strength as well as weakness. If the patience we have isn’t from Him then it isn’t Christ-like, its just another of the works/acts of the flesh disguised as fruit. It’s counterfeit. And just because we may see evidence of 8 of these fruit but find it very hard to allow God to produce the last one, doesn’t mean we can coast thinking that 8 out of 9 is pretty good! To be like Jesus we need all 9.
Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Psalm 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
Psalm 92:12-14, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green…”
- Which of these 9 fruit do you find come more naturally to you? In other words, which do you try to do in your own strength? Confess the danger in that and ask God to forgive you for trying to counterfeit His fruit by your own flesh.
- Which of these 9 fruit do you most need? Which do you lack more than others? Do you make excuses for it, blame it on others, or just ignore it and live with it? If so, then confess that as well as the sin itself. Ask God to show you what you need to do for Him to reproduce Himself in this area as well.
- Do you focus on some of these fruit to the exclusion of others in your ministry?
- Pray and ask God to reproduce all His fruit in you, especially in the areas where you are least like Jesus. When situations arise during your day, pray again that He would help you respond as Jesus would have responded.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on August 18, 2008