It's so funny to me that I teach teenagers or anyone for that matter about God. And I don't mean funny-Haha, I mean, funny like, "Really, God, me?"
I find myself teaching from those things that have illuminated my heart and deepened my relationship with God over my lifetime. A rich, yet growing secret history with God that began for me around 8 or 9 years old.
But here's the thing about teaching on an infinite God. The more you know, the more you realize you don't know, OR the stuff you already knew, you forgot and need to relearn that jazz.
Sometimes it feels like I'm going around the same tree, the same trail, around the same building in my mind and in my actions, relearning the most fundamental and basics of my faith/love relationship with God.
Which brings me to the "Fruit of the Spirit".
So a couple months back, we were teaching this series on the "Fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-23) to our teens. Of which I've heard with great repetition these attributes almost my entire life, but let's ignore for a moment, and despite the repetition, I could never fully remember these 9 "Fruits" in detail (I have a theory about why...more on that later). Plus I was always mystified in the past by the fact that they are called the "Fruit" of the Spirit (Singular), even though there's 9 of these whopping things. But then I later gained a bit more understanding about the beauty of "One fruit" with a "Manifold Yield" - Yes. This is supernatural indeed.
So I wondered if I would be able to remember the 9 attributes while teaching this series...but even more importantly, after teaching this series.
+ Self Control
And then, after teaching this series, something extraordinary and awful happened to me. I became much more aware of my humanity, my frailty, my need for a Savior through the events that followed.
Death in the family, sickness, life transition of sorts, pain, anxiety and sadness creeping over me like a soft wool blanket. I thought I was going to suffocate. And I'm honestly surprised I didn't.
And yet, those sacred and beautiful 9 would somehow come to mind. And as they would, I would receive the gift from God.
Meditating on God's peace, I then would allow myself to receive it for myself.
Looking at God's love, I would then nod my head yes to Him that I wanted it.
Observing and being in the hustle and harshness of L.A. traffic drivers, I would tenderly hear the word gentleness come to mind. And I would begin to drink it in.
And so on and so forth.
So remember how I had a 'theory' about not being able to remember these beautiful and wonderful attributes in the past? I think it's because I never took these traits in. Not fully. They were allowed to be long-term guests at my house, but not family, never truly family.
I'm learning more and more, the depths of these attributes have yet to be truly tapped by us. And I can confidently say that, because we are talking about the "Fruit of the Spirit" here, of His Spirit, the Infinite One. And the depths of His Love, His joy, His peace, etc. are limitless in every way.
Yes, there is fruitful life waiting for both you and I.
Contingent upon something vitally important:
Before you can give these things out and away, you must first receive them for yourself.
For you can't give away what you don't already have.
And He knew this all along. And that is why you are being pursued by Him, the Life and Fruit Giver.
The One who draws you to Himself, to simply love you into fullness.
That is indeed a fruitful life.
“To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.”
― A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God