The following random thought came to me this weekend while I was talking about joy.
Now most people realize that joy and happiness aren't the same...happiness depends on circumstances and joy is in spite of circumstances. It is something that shows on your face...not just as a smile, but as that certain something that lets people know there's something different about you. The old fashioned was of saying this is that it showed in your "countenance".
Joy is, according to Galatians 5:22, a fruit of the spirit. It was as I read that verse that a thought came to me....fruit takes time to grow and it happens when you put that seed into the dirt. Dirt...something most people don't associate with the apple they just took a bite of, but without that dirt, there could be no tree...and therefore no fruit. We like to think about the end product, and we don't really take time to think about any of the process that got us there.
What is dirt? Well, spiritually speaking, perhaps it's the stuff that happens to us on a daily basis when it seems like we are just getting "dumped on". Maybe it's a situation at work, or a financial difficulty, or a health crisis...lots of things can dump dirt on your world. We usually try to avoid those things - after all, who wants trouble in their life! However, it's that very trouble that provides the rich soil for the fruit of the spirit to grow. If we could somehow manage to live our entire lives free from pain, hardships and trials...we'd have a squeaky clean life, but no soil in which the fruit of the spirit could grow!
True, everyone has this "dirt" dumped on their lives...sometimes you even have those people who feel the need to dump extra "fertilizer" on your dirt. Yes, everyone has dirt, but not everyone allows God to take that dirt and plant a seed. They don't allow Him to weed them, water them, prune them....all necessary ingredients for fruit production. Of course, we can't forget that all important invisible ingredient - time. Still, it all begins with the dirt and the seed.
The next time you encounter someone who displays any the fruits of the spirit like love, joy, peace, gentleness, self -control, why not ask them about their story. I'll bet you'll find that somewhere along the line there was some "dirt" dumped into their lives....and they gave that little spot of ground to God and let Him take control.
May you remember that when life throws dirt at you, it can be the beginning of new fruit in your life as well.