“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23, NIV
There are a series of warning lights on the dashboard of my old car. The lights come on if I am low on fuel, oil, washer fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid or coolant. One light has been illuminated for several months now. I have no idea of the impending catastrophe to which I am being alerted. I should check the manual, for surely I ignore such a warning at my own peril.
The Fruits of the Spirit, as identified in today’s passage, often serve the same purpose in my spiritual life that those warning lights serve for my car. The Bible has clearly told me that if the Holy Spirit is present, as He should be in my life, then my life will be characterized by certain qualities. Those qualities are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Think of these attributes as nine warning lights. Are you lacking in self-control? Warning! The Holy Spirit is not in charge. Are you having trouble loving someone? Stop what you are doing and be filled with the Spirit. Are you anxious? Beware! The Fruit of the Spirit is peace.
I find that I make two mistakes with regard to this early warning system. First, I pay attention to the wrong signals. We are easily misled by feelings and criticism. Both of these factors may create the sense that something is wrong. But neither feelings nor critics are reliable in that regard. Second, I sometimes miss the warning lights when they come on. I can go for days thinking that I am joyless because of some person or circumstance, when the Bible clearly says that it is the Holy Spirit, not people or circumstances, who produces joy.
QUESTION: Look carefully at each of the nine warning lights today. Is there a warning to be discerned? Maybe it is time for a fill up.