Relying on the Fruits of the Spirit

By Brittany Rust

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It had been a long day before 3PM even hit. Roman woke up on the wrong side of the bed and my full time job that afternoon seemed to be keeping him from spiraling into one long temper tantrum. I wasn’t doing to well at it, though, and after an hour, I snapped. Reactively, and with frustration on my face, I yelled at my toddler to just stop.

You probably guessed it; the outburst didn’t help. Crocodile tears welled up in his already puffy eyes and my mama heart was overwhelmed with guilt.

In that moment, I became very aware that I was trying to mother from my own strength. And often did. I kept trying to muster up patience and gentleness only to fail. I was longing for the fruits of the Spirit and wondered why they weren’t bearing in those moments.

Known by Your Fruit

Matthew 12 says this about our words and actions,

For a tree is known by its fruit...For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.

The fruit of my speech wasn’t good. In fact, it was pretty rotten. I craved the fruits of the Spirit to produce good fruit but rather I noticed the works of the flesh responding to my son rather than the former. I was desperate to be the Spirit-filled and grace-filled mom Roman needs and deserves but I was burnt out, depleted, and at the end of myself; venturing to believe in my moments of weakness that I wasn’t cut out to be a mom.

Have you ever felt this way, friend? Been in this same hole of depletion and feeling like you’re at the end of your rope?

I knew I needed to look inward and examine the condition of my soul so I turned to Galatians 5:16-26—let’s go there together:

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

The Fruits of the Spirit

I had been spinning my wheels trying to produce good fruit in my life. I had been relying on my own (very limited) strength to be gentle and patient and loving towards my strong-willed toddler. Which is exactly why I was failing. My source was myself—my flesh—and no good fruit can produce from such a source. I needed to recalibrate and reconnect to the Vine (John 15).

What I’m learning about the fruits of the Spirit is that you can’t muster them up. Wanting them with good intentions isn’t enough either. The honest truth: you can’t access them.

The fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control—are only produced by the Holy Spirit.

In my She Reads Truth bible there is a devotional on this passage and one sentence completely shifted my pursuit of this good fruit: ONLY by abiding in Him, resting in His goodness and trusting Him to do that hard work of redemption on our behalf can we bear fruit.

Do you long for the good fruit of the Spirit to produce in your life?

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1. Abide in Him (John 15).
2. Rest in His goodness.
3. Trust Him to do the hard work.

I’ve noticed such a difference in my response to frustration since I’ve stopped trying to produce these qualities on my own and instead, have connected to Him. Such wonderful freedom is found when you let go and simply connect with Jesus. Connect with the Vine. John 15 says that when you abide in Jesus he will abide in you.

Here’s how it works:

You abide (remain) in Jesus and he will abide (remain) in you.

The Father is the Gardner and He will go to work cleansing you.

And the Holy Spirit will produce good fruit in your life you can’t produce on your own.

“Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.” John 15:4

Mama, if you’re feeling weary and struggling to respond to your child like you want to, perhaps it’s time to recalibrate. To stop mothering from your own strength. And to attach yourself to the Vine.

Abide in Jesus and he will abide in you. Connect with Him often, rest in knowing He is good, and trust Him to do what you can’t—produce good fruit in your life.