Fruit of the Spirit - Galatians 5:22-23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…” Galatians 5:22,23

As I was reading about the fruit of the Spirit, realizing that these are nine special gifts that are given to us by God and explained to us in His Word, I was puzzled. How is it possible to implement them in my life. It is one fruit in nine parts that are all interrelated. How do I appropriate them so that the beauty of Jesus is seen in me? This glorious fruit is not by birth, or nature, or imitation, or purchase. What is the answer? I discovered that it is by “submission” — by my submission to God and to all the authorities He places over me. God will provide the circumstances. It is for me to submit all to Him and see Him work it out. Then the fruit of the Spirit will just radiate from within. Let me illustrate this by sharing with you just one of the many ways God did this for me.

We had purchased a used mobile home on Lincoln Lake where I could relax during the ten weeks I had free each summer from teaching school. We put in new carpeting and drapes, bought a new bed, and landscaped the front and side yard, but the back yard was just an ugly weed patch of dirty beach sand. It needed either sod or a huge amount of black dirt and seed. My husband is wonderful for inside repairs and remodeling, but yard work is just not his thing. It was just a back yard anyway—out of sight, out of mind. The lake was for leisure, not for projects bigger than we already had at home.

I explained the need as I saw it. I was embarrassed by and ashamed of the back yard. But I got no response. Should I take this into my own hands? I could order the black dirt, spread it around, buy the seed and plant and water it. If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.

Then God brought my life verse, Romans 12:1-2, to my mind: “Be not conformed to this world”. The worldly answer would be to nag, or get angry, or just do it myself. Then I remembered that during the previous months God had been bringing my attention to a new word in my vocabulary—“submission”. But I didn’t want to be a door mat. I didn’t want to always give in. I just wasn’t made that way. I hated that word “submission”. If something needed to be done, I did it.

But the rest of that verse brought me the answer I needed: “But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” God impressed me with the idea of submitting the back yard to Him and seeing what He would do—hands off and no deadline! So I gave the back yard to God and said nothing more about it. Every time I walked by that mess I reminded myself that the back yard – weeds and all – belonged to God. If He wanted it to look ugly, that was up to Him.

Within a few days I had a new peace and joy and a complete change of attitude about that back yard. I had no idea how God would take care of it, nor when—maybe that month, maybe that summer, maybe never. Maybe it would just be an ever-present weed patch to help my attitude. It really did not matter because I had peace, joy, a gentle spirit, no expectations on my husband, and I had self-control by taking this special project as my personal secret with God.

Two weeks went by and as I was pulling the car into the parking space at the back of the mobile home, lo and behold the back yard was covered with a thick layer of black dirt. Who? What? How? The park manager had ordered black dirt and grass seed to be put in for all the mobiles on the lower level to coincide with the new yards being put in at the next level up. How do you think I felt? Very specially loved to think God would take care of the weed patch. I didn’t even have to spread the dirt nor plant the seed. I was awed. What if I had taken the matter into my own hands? Think of all I would have missed. I shared God’s faithfulness with my husband so he could rejoice also. The back yard took on special meaning as a constant reminder that God is able to handle even the little things in my life. Mom’s back yard is still a family reminder of God’s faithfulness.

- Norma Dyksterhouse

(An added note from Jay) Would you like to know what motivated the owner of the park to suddenly become so generous in beautifying all of our yards? Near the beach of the swimming area of the lake was a huge sand dune. The beach needed more sand and the dune was taking up space that he could use to put cement slabs and bring in more mobile homes. He contracted with concrete workers for putting in the forms and pouring the cement for the slabs. Then he hired earth moving equipment to spread the dune out over the beach area. As they began their work they were surprised to find that under a few feet of sand was a huge hill of black dirt. The owner realized he had to get rid of that hill quickly to make way for the additional trailers that were waiting to move in. There was no time to try to sell the dirt so he offered a free lawn to any resident who would accept a few truckloads of black dirt. When God created that hill of black dirt and covered it over with beach sand He was thinking of how He was going to show Norma His faithfulness.

Added on 6/23/2012