This month in Sunday school, the youth girls at our church are walking through the fruit of the Spirit. In preparation for each lesson, I’ve looked back at Elizabeth George’s book God’s Garden of Grace. I love the way she sees the fruit of the Spirit as three “categories” of growth in grace. Love, joy, and peace represent growth in the attitudes of grace. Patience, kindness, and goodness are the actions of grace. Finally, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control represent the application of grace.
This past week, we discussed the action trio in class, reviewing also the reminder that the attitudes have to be in place first. There is no action if our attitudes are not full of grace!
How often do I ponder that truth in my marriage?
My husband and I are frequently doing for one another. It’s a part of marriage. But what is behind our acts of service to one another? Are the actions habitual or intentional? Are they duty or delight? Are they obligatory or flowing from a peaceful heart of love and joy?
I love my husband dearly, and I really do love doing for him. But, so often I do not apply the attitude of that love to the day-in, day-out living of life. I don’t always approach walking through our morning routine as an outflow of patience, kindness, and goodness. I separate preparing lunch and caring for the normal routine of the home from the spiritual dynamics of our relationship.
But it’s all part of my service to my husband. And it all must be rooted in the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. Yes, even the most mundane, routine service. Even those acts must reflect the Spirit’s faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
My goal this morning was to start the day with that perspective, getting my attitude in place even when I did not want to get up, then letting my actions follow through. And it’s been a really good morning – not just in routine flow, but in our hearts as well. We both noticed it.
How can the fruit of the Spirit shine forth in your marriage this week?