Fruit of the Spirit
Posted in Spiritual Growth
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control….” (Galations 5:22-23)
During the time of Christmas celebration in 2017, a fellow follower of Christ committed his JOY-filled spirit into the hands of our steadfast, strong God. Leaning on God as his “rock and fortress,” he had stoically endured an uphill battle with Cancer—a yearlong, arduous experience that, not unlike gold refined by fire, served to “prove his character.” At the juncture in which he lay in the hospital bed preparing to return home with hospice care, Glenn Addison received a “vision” that boldly awakened him during the wee hours of the morning. The effect the “vision” (his description) had on him demonstrates his “proven character,” as he put aside all his own needs in order to inform those family and friends who had been loyally standing by his side during his Cancer treatment.
Glenn’s message, communicated online via CaringBridge, centered on the priceless gift to us of the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The thread of HOPE woven throughout the message left the reader feeling encouraged and grateful, not only for the impact of Glenn’s earthly life but also for the mystery and miracle of being chosen to be a child/follower of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Excerpted portions of the December 20, 2017, message that Glenn prepared and sent follow:
“You know Jesus said our hearts are like gardens. When the Word of God takes root in us and the spirit of God dwells in us, we can produce beautiful fruit. (Matthew 13:3-23) Fruit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) I had a vision in my sleep the other night. It was my first. Into my dream popped a bold letter—TEND YOUR GARDEN. I awakened from a dead sleep. I immediately woke Ann to tell her. I then spent two hours wide awake pondering the message just delivered to my heart. After struggling with this for a few days, I consulted my preacher for an answer. John Burley was quick to respond. He said that the message is a word from the Lord. ‘God is the Gardner, but he has given you a plot of land to cultivate. The Lord wants you to focus on those closest to you. You have planted the grounds, watered and pulled weeds as a good gardener. As every good farmer knows, it is God who brings the growth. Now God will make sure that all the fateful labor you put in will not have been in vain. God will complete the work. You can rest!’ I am resting now on my hospital bed at MUSC. A rapid change in my status has me being released home to hospice care today. …My pain is under control and my family is by my side. As my strength weakens, my faith grows stronger as I am excited about accepting the ‘gift’ from God of eternal life in heaven. There is a time for sadness, but more time for celebration.”
As I reflected on Glenn’s message to those whom he was leaving, I humbly offered a prayer that God would guide me in the development of the “proven character” of a Timothy as in the Bible or a Glenn Addison—“proven character” on which others can count for trustworthiness, steadfastness, patience, love, and consistency.
Prayer: Lord, I humbly pray that you will fill my heart and mind with your Holy Spirit, as I strive to develop a “proven character” like that of Glenn Addison — a person on whom others can always depend for expression of the Fruit of the Spirit. Amen.
Submitted by Ellen Hayden