What are you practicing?
According to my trusty American Dictionary of the English Language (Noah Webster, 1828) to practice means “to do or perform frequently, customarily or habitually”. It also means “to form a habit of acting in any manner.”
So what are you practicing? What manner are you forming as a habit in your life?
The Bible says that we are not to be hearers of the Word only, but doers of the Word. You won’t develop what you know to do, just because you know to do it. But you will develop what you practice doing on a continual basis.
Now, I want to take a look at the fruit of the Spirit. I want to look at what they are and what they aren’t.
Love… the opposite being hate.
Joy… the opposite being sorrow.
Peace… the most commonly listed opposite is war, but I also found these: agitation, distress, frustration, upset and worry.
Patience… the opposite being impatient.
Kindness… the opposite being unkind. Other antonyms are cruel, harsh or mean.
Goodness… the opposite being bad or evil.
Faithfulness… the opposite being unfaithful, disloyal or unreliable.
Gentleness… the opposite being hard and rough.
Self control… the opposite being self-indulgence.
As believers, we should keep before our eyes what His Presence within us is calling us to be, empowering us to be.
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is… (Galatians 5:22, Amplified)
…His power that is at work within us… (Ephesians 3:20, Amplified)
The fruit of the Spirit are within us, but it’s what we practice yielding to that will manifest in our lives. Are we yielding to the Holy Spirit and the manner and character that His Presence within will accomplish in our lives? Or are we yielding to the very things that He is trying to work out of us… the impatience, the unkindness, the sorrow, the self-indulgence, the worry and fear that hurt us and cause us to hurt others?
Keep before your eyes and in your heart the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. Remind yourself that you are able to be all those things because He is in you. Yield to Him. When you are tempted and want to be impatient, remind yourself that because God is in you, you can and will be patient. When sorrow tries to come, yield to and draw up from your innermost being His joy that is your strength.
Practice the fruit of the Spirit and become more like Jesus every day.