When the new year rolls around, I’m usually focused on how badly I’ve been eating and how much I need to eat fruit rather than chocolate. At 55 I’ve learned that a diet plan will only last for a week or two–if that long, so I shy away from those pesky resolutions that never work out anyway.
This new year, however, besides the need to cleanse my body from all the sugar I’ve consumed, I sensed the Lord leading me to His fruit–the Fruit of His Spirit.
A Goal For the New Year
Usually our goals for the new year revolve around our own improvement–at least mine do. This year, I’m changing that. This year I’m asking God to give me vision to help make the world a better place, but I know I can’t do it on my own. Andy Lee won’t change anything, but the Presence of Jesus in me will.
Only Holy Spirit in me has supernatural power in my world. On my own, I can do nothing. As I prayed about the Bite of Bread reading plan this month, the Fruit of the Holy Spirit rose to the top of all other subjects. I cannot think of a better way to start 2021 than studying love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. All of these attributes usher in the Kingdom of God. That’s my goal.
Sisters, as believers, that should be all our goals–Kingdom bearing, proclaiming, world changers by the power of Christ in us. This doesn’t mean we all preach and teach. No, we change the world around us little by little by the outflow of God’s fruit in us. Love fills empty hearts. Joy dries tear-streaked faces. Peace soothes a warring soul. Patience gives grace when there is often anger, and kindness warms hopeless hearts.
Holy Spirit is Immanuel
Hopeless hearts need God. They need to know that He is good, and He is present. The Lord can seem so far away, but we manifest the hands and feet of Jesus as we walk out the Fruit of the Spirit in us. We just celebrated Christmas, the birth of Immanuel, God with us. Let us be messengers of His Presence. Yet, the amazing gift of the Fruit of the Spirit is that it blesses the host as well as the receiving party.
You may be hurting, lonely, grieving. You may be thinking that you are the last person to have something to give, but that is the beauty and wonder of the Fruit of the Spirit: It blesses the receiver before it flows from us to others. Could you use some love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, and self-control? Come with me. Spend 31 days soaking in scripture about this Fruit.
Bite of Bread Reading Plan for the New Year
The beginning of the plan starts with the context of the promise of the Fruit of the Spirit. After that, three or four scriptures are dedicated to each specific attribute. Each fruit is developed as we surrender to the Presence of Holiness in us. To be holy is to be set apart for something special, consecrated for the service of God. It can’t be forced. It can only come through Him.
You can download a printable with instructions to help you get the most out of your daily quiet time as you use this reading plan. Click on the Fruit of the Holy Spirit Plan to view what the printable looks like. It’s free. I don’t even ask for an email.
My Prayer for 2021
2020 goes down in my books as one of the most hateful, divisive, broken years I’ve ever known in our country. As I studied the context of Galatians 5:22 (the Fruit of the Spirit scripture) I realized how fitting this verse is for us during this time. Here’s the context:
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.Galatians 5:13-15
Paul is speaking to the Jewish and gentile believers who were struggling to worship together. Yet, the heart of the message speaks to us today. He continues to write:
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.Galatians 5: 16, 22-26
My Prayer for 2021
My prayer for 2021 is to live each passing breath aware of His Spirit in me. I pray to soak so long and so deep in His Word that the Fruit of the Spirit not only flows out of me but drips off me. I want to leave a trail of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control everywhere I go. And I pray this for you too.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll join me on this month long journey through the Fruit of the Spirit. And I hope you can join our Wednesday night virtual Bible study. It’s at 7:30 PM ET on Facebook. Just friend or follow me.