Trading Frustration for the Fruit of the Spirit
By: Kristine Brown
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” - Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
Pulling into the driveway after a day full of travel setbacks, I let out a final sigh. I couldn’t remember ever being happier to arrive home. I thought about everything that happened, both to and from our destination. The airline switching our flight at the last minute, causing a mad dash between terminals. The flight home being cancelled, which resulted in lost luggage. Quite possibly the craziest travel day ever!
I wanted to put it all behind me, put my feet up, and relax the rest of the evening. But instead of finding solace in the comforts of home, conviction set in. Something bothered me about it, and it wasn’t the lost luggage. I realized through all the frustrating mishaps of our day, I’d failed to display the fruits of the Spirit.
I remember when my children learned about the nine fruits of the Spirit in Sunday school. We even worked at home to memorize them. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I understood the value of these character traits and wanted to instill them in my kids. But I’ve discovered through life’s ups and downs that memorizing them is the easy part. Showing them? Not so easy. So when life’s frustrations hit, how do I demonstrate the values Paul spoke about in his letter to the Galatians? How do I trade my frustration for the nine fruits?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
Paul penned these words to encourage the early Christian church to “walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16) He longed for them to understand the difference between living a holy life based on laws of the past and one based on freedom in Christ. His message brought out a new truth for believers of the day. They could still live with the virtues of God’s goodness and resist their sinful nature. But they didn’t need legalism to do it. The key to this newfound freedom was to live by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Frustration, bitterness, complaining. We all deal with them on a daily basis. We want to show love to our neighbor but get triggered by life’s chaos and struggle to maintain the ideals Paul described. Thankfully, just as Paul’s wisdom gave hope to the early church, we can discover the same hope today. We won’t be able to maintain the fruits if we try in our own strength. But when we remember to walk in the Spirit, the fruits will flow freely from us.
James 3:11 reinforces this hope. “Can both freshwater and saltwater flow from the same spring?” Filling up with the freshwater of the Holy Spirit will ensure our ability to keep our hearts in the right place when we’re tempted by frustrating circumstances. Whether it’s patience with the airline attendant, kindness toward another driver on the road, or joy in the middle of the grocery checkout line. We can conquer whatever comes our way by whispering the words, “Come, Holy Spirit.” His presence will breathe peace, joy, and patience into any situation.
So, if daily annoyances have caused you to forget the fruit of the Spirit, take heart! There is hope. We can overcome frustration, bitterness, and complaining. Let’s agree to begin again with the simple three-word prayer above. As we utter this prayer together, may a stream of freshwater begin to flow from us. Come, Holy Spirit. Amen.
Want to learn more about dealing with frustration? Download this free resource from Kristine Brown, One-Sentence Prayers for Letting Go of Frustration, at her website, kristinebrown.net. Kristine shares weekly encouragement there to help you “become more than yourself through God’s Word.”
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