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February 15, 2022, 10:30 AM

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

My wife likes to plant a garden each year, and there are three staples she plants each time squash, cucumber, and tomatoes. Last year the harvest her garden produced was so plentiful that we couldn't keep them all for ourselves. If we did, most of them would rot and decay. So instead, we gave them to friends, neighbors, family, and church for them to enjoy and savor. 

Scripture says we should handle the transformation inside our hearts much the same way. The hope we've experienced was never meant to be kept to ourselves but rather given away to those around us. Being planted in Christ produces fruit for others to enjoy. It's very easy to lose sight of this truth, especially when the church uses phrases like "my walk" and what God is doing "in me." When we turn a relationship with Christ into merely a self-help system with religious language sprinkled through it, we cheapen the freedom we're offered and squander opportunities for impact.  

We don't understand the devastating effect this causes in our hearts. Our soul shrinks or expands to the size of our most significant concern. If our highest value remains ourselves and what God can do for us, our soul becomes minuscule and unusable. We might have a full stomach, but we'll spend our days with an empty heart. All the fruit withers and goes to waste. 

Fruit must be cultivated through living out our faith with humility and courage so those around us benefit. God always does something in us so that He can do something through us. This is where God stretches us and molds us into His image. By giving ourselves away, we gain so much more. Not only are others are nourished, but we are left satisfied. Would you say your soul is shrinking or expanding? What fruit is being produced in your life? How can you use what God is doing in your heart to influence others?

Prayer: Father God, let me not be so wrapped up in my little world that I lose sight of how You are moving around me. Give me with eyes to see the needs of others and the courage to step into those places and be used. Let everything I do point others to the hope I have found in You. Work in my heart while I play a small part in doing Your redemptive work in this world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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