We live in a time where we are surrounded by resources on how to "better our lives." If we walked into a bookstore we would find an entire section devoted to these types of books. I think it's natural that we look for ways to better our lives, because we want our lives to leave an impact on others. The Apostle Paul, talks about the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). These are the characteristic of God that will grow in our everyday, normal lives, because God is at work within us.
Life produces fruit. Every living tree, no matter where it's planted will produce fruit. It's not a question of if it will, it's a question of when it will. As the fruit of the spirit is within us, it takes root in our lives, and grows gradually. It's not something that develops overnight, but it grows slowly, often unnoticed. Some of these characteristics may be more evident than others, and that doesn't mean we are lacking one of the characteristics, it simply means it may not be as developed as the others.
As we begin to meditate on the fruit of the Spirit, may we enter into a season of examen as we look deeply into our lives. May we learn to cultivate the the fruit of the Spirit so that each day we can grow more in the image of Christ.
Notice the natural rhythm of your breath. Now begin to slow your breathing down. Maybe you inhale a few seconds longer, at the top of your breath hold it for a couple seconds, then exhale long and slow. Now stop reading this and breathe.
As you feel your body relaxing, and find yourself in the present moment, I leave you with this prayer written by Anglican priest John Stott.
"Heavenly Father, I pray that this day I may live in your presence and please you more and more. Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I make take up my cross and follow you. Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control." Amen.