Thursday, September 16, 2010

First Grade Fruit, Kelli Zaniel

It’s parents night at my girls’ school. I enter the corner room at the top of the stairs. The walls are splashed with pale purple and bright yellow. I find my daughter’s desk and scoot into the little seat. My adult feet knock the tiny footstool underneath her desk. I realize she needs this because her first grader feet don’t quite touch the floor. Flashbacks of my own school days suddenly dance across my mind. I detect a familiar aroma--that “back to school” smell. The smell that always made me feel anxious. The young teacher dashes into the room and welcomes all seven parents.

The teacher nervously holds up the report card our child will be given in a few months. She carefully opens the card. “One side of the card is for academic grades,” she points. The other side will show how well your child exhibits the nine fruits of the Spirit,” she explains. I begin breaking out into a cold sweat as I reposition my over-sized body in the tiny chair. “Wow, Fruits of the Spirit,” I think. I rub my palms across my jeans hoping the clamminess will disappear before someone notices.

“That’s tough,” I say to myself. The fruits of the Spirit are hard to possess for the average adult Christian, let alone a first grader. We need the intercession of the Holy Spirit on that one! Thank goodness the Spirit isn’t just hanging around on your local street corner waiting for the chance to perform a miracle or two. The Spirit lives among us and dwells within us causing growth and transformation in our lives. When the Spirit interrupts us and transforms us, it’s noticeable to those around us. This change in character is called a fruit of the Spirit.

Paul was a list-maker. He provides a list of all nine fruits in Galatians 5:22. The list is meant as a contrast to the list of the 'deeds of the flesh' found in 5:19-20. He lists the following nine fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.

Are these fruits vibrant in your life? Are they noticeable to others? Like my first grader, if you are graded on how well you exhibit these fruits today, how will you do? Will you make the grade?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control,” Galatians 5:22 (NLT).

1 comment:

  1. I think I'd fare pretty well with anyone living outside this house… however, I think I'd be graded a little more harshly by my husband and my kids. My husband would say I try really hard, so I'd get points for that! It's a challenge for sure being a mom of young children. These are the busy years of my life and I get frayed easily. The good news is the Spirit is active and if I trace back over the last few years I see real progression. Praise God for His gentle and consistent pruning!