Ava Pennington is my guest writer for today’s devotion and the author of One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God (Revell), and co-author of Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? (Standard Publishing).Ava is also a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit www.AvaWrites.com
Today Ava challenges us to go deeper in our spiritual walk and examine ourselves with an honest eyes.
The Forgotten Fruit by Ava Pennington
I taught a Bible study on the fruit of the Spirit a few summers ago. One of the first things I did was to memorize Galatians 5:22-23. Problem was, when I quoted the fruit, the list would come out like this: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control.” Nice list, isn’t it? Nice, but not complete.
The missing fruit was always gentleness. Week after week, no matter how many times I’d remind myself, gentleness missed the list. I laughed it off…until one day, a class member said to me, “Maybe you keep forgetting it because you need to develop more gentleness in your relationships.” She said it with a smile, but the arrow went straight to my heart.
She was right. I’m one of those Type-A personalities: focused and driven. An MBA and twenty years in the corporate world honed my project management skills. Give me a job to do, and I’ll get it done. It doesn’t help that I’m a New York gal, born and bred. If there’s one thing life in the big city taught me, it’s that you’ve got to look out for number one. Deliver results and you’ll be rewarded. Wall Street doesn’t care about your—or anyone else’s—feelings.
Wall Street may not care, but the Holy Spirit does. He used that conversation to remind me people are more important than projects. Successful endeavors don’t matter one bit if I leave a trail of hurting people in my wake.
The apostle Paul explains the standard I must use to measure my success as a teacher of God’s Word: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil…” (II Timothy 2:24-26).
With the Holy Spirit’s help, I’ve been intentional about being gentler with people. Yes, my goals are important…but not as important as the people Christ died to save.
SHARING TIME: About which fruit of the Spirit has the Lord been nudging you? J