"The fruit of the Spirit's not a coconut! The fruit of the Spirit's not a coconut! If you want to be a coconut, you might as well hear it, you can't be a fruit of the Spirit! 'Cause the fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!"
This was the childhood song that helped me memorize the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. It went through all different types of fruits - apples, bananas, cherries, watermelon and yes, coconuts - with motions to represent each one. It was a fun song to sing as excited children on our way to church on Wednesday nights!
But the fruits of the Spirit have proved harder to practice than memorize.
I am a fruit lover. Always have been, and this pregnancy hasn't changed that one bit! But when it comes to the fruits of the Spirit, I think I have fooled myself into thinking that being a "coconut" is good enough. I look good, I taste nice and I cause nobody any harm. But after meditating on Scripture lately that would encourage these actions and attitudes in me, I've realized that truly possessing and living life in the Spirit is not all peaches and pineapple. And I am taking this responsibility even more serious knowing I will be a MOM in just a few short weeks!
My heart's greatest desire right now is to raise our son up to know and love the Lord. In order to do this, Josh and I have been evaluating our own lives and asking the Lord to show us areas that we need to improve in before he comes. We have begun establishing boundaries in areas that we know will be unhealthy and calling ourselves to a higher standard of living. Knowing we will never be perfect, but desiring to be holy because HE is holy.
Here is a great passage of Scripture that says it best.
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. - Ephesians 4:1, 17-32
I have taken these verses and made them personal to my life. This obviously isn't a passage of Scripture to be taken lightly, as Paul states in the beginning of this chapter... "I BEG YOU to lead a life worthy of your calling." That is a powerful statement!!
When we truly begin to take God at His word and practice what is called of us... hello! it is difficult. Even more difficult, is when it causes division between those we love. Sometimes raising the bar for yourself, means losing a few friends along the way. Sometimes leading a life worthy of your calling, means separating yourself from the old life you once lived. And still, sometimes you are lucky enough to influence others around you to lead a life worthy of their calling as well.
But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! - 1 Peter 3:14, 17
God has us on the journey of our life right now... we are in the home stretch of becoming parents! But this calling of living a godly life starts now. Yesterday, really. It should not be put off, even if it's difficult, even if you have to make adjustments that hurt. God will reward your faithfulness.
And remember, if you want to be a coconut... you can't be a fruit of the Spirit.