Fruity Fridays: The Dirty Road

(A series about the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5)

by Jeremy Nixon

An elderly man, almost empty on life, walked up and said, “Excuse me, sir.” 

At this point most people would dash for the car and duck into their comfy lifestyle of “I’m better than that person. I sure wouldn’t be caught talking to him!” The young man, though, without hesitation said, “Hey, how are you?” 

The feeble old man, with one eye wired shut, said, “I was wondering if you could feed me?” He ducked his head. You could see the disappointment and sadness that had overcome him, and he couldn’t believe that he was actually having to do this. Tears ran out of his left eye.

Let’s face it. We drive by people like this all the time. What do you honestly think when you drive past someone like this? Do you see Christ in them, or do you just pass by and be happy with yourself and what you think you’ve accomplished in life? In Colossians 3:12, Paul says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in compassion, KINDNESS, humility, gentleness and patience.” When confronted with situations like this…do you show kindness or do you just ignore them? You see, when you set your eyes on the kingdom, God changes how you live on this earth. And I’ll be honest, this hits home and has me trying to figure out what my eyes are fixed on. Your love for God pushes you to love others, and when you do this you “clothe” yourself in kindness.  

Back to the story.

“Where do you want to eat?” asked the young man. He had just finished eating. 

The older gentleman said, “White Castle.”

“White Castle it is!” the young man shouted. They walked across a busy intersection, dodging cars…all the while people staring and poking fun. The two men talked, and they ordered food…a lot of food for the older gentleman. They talked more, then the older man was on his way, the young man was on his way.

Before you believe, you see kindness…you see love. Luke 19:10 says, “Christ came to seek and save those who are lost.” That’s it. Period. We are to be like Christ in everything; every aspect of our lives is supposed to look like Him and point to Him. Luke 19:10 was Christ’s mission; in turn it’s the least we can do, right? Seek and save the lost. In easier terms, share the love of Christ. How do we do that? Show the kindness that God has placed in our life. Our lives change as we grow in Christ. Kindness is the product of this change. If we are going to love God and love people, then kindness has to be evident in our lives.  

Is it easy? This road less traveled? No. The road is dirty, sometimes you can hardly see it; it’s covered with leaves. Sometimes there is no help, and you can’t see the end. At times it’s down right disgusting, sleeping on the dirty ground with people driving by not paying any attention to you. And I believe this is where our love for Christ has to step in, and kindness is produced so others can meet Christ, possibly, for the first time. You never know who needs Jesus, and the person right in front of you may need to see Him through you. 

My prayer is this: God help me to respond to people and love people the way you would. Help me to be kind and show the kindness that my love for you produces.

By the way, the old man’s name is Delbert. He’s 59, been shot in the eye…and lived! He knows that God has a purpose for him; he’s not sure what it is, but he is keeping on. What will you do with the kindness that God calls us to live out?

Happiness, as learned from trees

“How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭1:1-3‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

The symbolism of the tree brings deeper understanding to truths about happiness.

  • A tree is dependent on the order of creation in order to grow and complete its purpose. Happiness is founded in reliance on our Creator.
  • A tree goes through seasons. Happiness doesn’t have to be contained to just the fruit-bearing times.
  • A tree is nourished by other means than itself. Happiness involves being connected to the rest of God’s creation.
  • A tree stays in one place. Happiness can largely be found in knowing your God-given purpose and living it out.

Fruity Fridays: 3 Acceptances of Patience

(A series about the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5)

Last Fruity Friday, Jeremy noted that patience is defined as “the capacity to accept…” So I’ve been thinking about the acceptances of patience. Here are three truths to accept that should deepen patience.

Accept the truth that God gave us all a purpose

That person’s personality that is so not yours has a God-given purpose. And it just might be to help you view a bigger picture of God. For example, you might be a planner like God, but that doesn’t mean that God can’t roll with your coworker who best creates under pressure.

Accept the truth that we all have flaws

If God realizes this about us humans, why do we have such a problem with this truth? Could it be that we’ve grown so comfortable in our flaws that we don’t see them anymore? That we think we’re okay and everyone else is the problem? Just reading that sounds ridiculous, right? But yet, it’s the stuff of impatience. Patience is accepting and loving people with all their flaws.

Accept the truth that everyone is on a journey

These journeys include emotional intelligence, relationship maturity, spiritual growth, financial responsibility, character development, leadership aptitude, among others. These days this seems to be even more challenging as the widening of generational journeys continues. Boomer, recognize the journey location of the millennial, and vice versa. One step toward patience could be simply pausing to consider the location of the other person’s journey. It’s okay that the two of you are not at the same place in your journeys.

You’ve probably been told to be cautious about praying for patience. Here’s a thought: the next time you sense the impatience rising, instead of asking God for patience ask God what truth he wants you to accept. May you see your journey move forward. Happy Accepting!