Devotion – February 2023

Heavenly fruits

When Grace sent me an email with the request to consider contributing devotions for Lutheran Women 2023, one the first things I did before giving my answer was to open my Bible and read the theme for the year – “Fruits of the Spirit”. And there they were in all their loveliness in Galatians chapter 5: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. As I slowly read the verse, allowing my eyes to rest on each of them, I must admit I became a little despondent as I realised just how my personality didn’t quite fit the description.

I must confess I am not always the most loveable person, nor the most joyous. And as I moved along the list, things didn’t seem to improve! Although I love peace, there seems to be a constant war that lingers in my heart that manifests itself through my lack of kindness, my not-so-good goodness, my ever-failing faithfulness, my not-so-gentle gentleness, all these inadequacies uncovering my lack of self-control. How many times have I shown the opposite of all the above, not weekly, but daily, hourly, minute by minute?

Arggg! How can I possibly write about the fruits of the Spirit when I am constantly confronted by my own shortcomings? Frustrated, I read the verse again, this time the word “fruit” jumped off the page. I was so focussed on each kind of fruit that I forgot about the tree or true vine (John 15) from where they grow – reminding me yet again that it is not about me! The fruit is not something I can conjure up out of my own sinful heart, in fact, anything that comes out of my heart will always fall short. St Paul’s words resonated with me where he seems to anguish over his hopeless condition; For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practise. Romans 7:19 NKJV. Paul went on to say Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? We all know how he feels!

In complete contrast, the fruit of the Spirit gives us a glimpse of the attributes of our heavenly Father. He changes us from within using simple means through his holy Word, in the water at our Baptism, in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. Changing the hearts of man, bestowing on us his grace, his peace, his forgiveness.

If we produce any fruit, it is solely the act of God working through us to produce fruit that is ripe and ready for the harvest.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NKJV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your living Word, for your holy Sacraments and your saving grace toward us. Create in us hearts that are willing to serve you with joy showing your amazing love to others. Bless us with the fruits of your Spirit and always keep us firmly attached to Jesus, the true vine, without whom we can do nothing. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

About the Author

Dee Simons

I was born in the Wimmera district of Victoria (Minyip) and raised in the Western District of Victoria. My husband, Bruce, and I have been blessed with three children. We have recently been gifted with our first grandchild. Our home is situated in the scenic township of Dunkeld and we are members at Trinity Lutheran Church, Warrayure. During the week you will find me behind the front desk at Good Shepherd Lutheran College in Hamilton. I have worked at the college over the past 17 years. I wish to acknowledge my family – often the first to hear a new devotion, and all those people who encouraged and inspired me to keep writing, giving me opportunity to share these words. Finally, I thank and give all glory to God, who I know, without any doubt or hesitation, is the one who holds my pen. Often after I finish a devotion and read back over the words, I am flabbergasted that I actually wrote them. I know that there is a higher power directing my thoughts to paper. The Holy Spirit is at work here and I am always emotionally touched when I think that this God would even contemplate to use me to do his work. That is the true miracle. My prayer is that God will bless you through these devotions.

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