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"By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another." Galatians 5:22-26

I don't like tight places.

On a recent flight I got stuck in a middle seat. I'd rather be in a dentist chair than sit in a middle seat on an airplane. I either like the window seat -- so I can look out, or the aisle seat to stretch my legs a bit. I haven't taken my tape measure with me, but I am quite sure the airlines take an inch of seat width away from us each year.

While already feeling cramped, this tall gentleman sits in the aisle seat next to me and spreads out, his knee and elbow infringing into my ever increasing small space. I'm thinking this is going to be a very long flight. I struggle with whether I should confront him about seat etiquette, but as I prayed about it for a moment, and started assessing my options, a much better choice surfaced.

I decided to talk with him.

He was such a joy to talk with, that I forgot all about being in a middle seat. He was filled with kindness and peace. It's such a beautiful thing to see God in the face of others. We went back and forth so effortlessly that our flight seemed about 10 minutes long. I never even noticed a hint of physical discomfort even though my physical circumstances were unchanged from my initial assessment.

Our natural inclination to see life from a me-centered perspective in which we constantly need or feel entitled to comfort can lead to a poor, unsettled attitude. That perspective keeps us from opportunities to experience God in ourselves or through others. A lot of different religious groups will give you all sorts of ways to know whether or not you have the Holy Spirit.

Jesus has one simple answer: "by their fruit you will know them."

Paul gives us the definition of holy fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Today, seek the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Then take the next step, and resolve to exhibit those same qualities. Then the Holy Spirit is back on the throne of your heart opening your ears to His voice and guidance. As you follow, this amazing fruit will be yours to taste and enjoy. It will satisfy the desires of your heart.

•••

Editor's note: The Rev. Dr. Scott Stewart is the pastor of Pea Ridge United Methodist Church and Brightwater Methodist Church. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. He can be contacted at revjstewart@gmail.com or 479-659-9519.

Religion on 05/15/2019

Print Headline: Seek to exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit

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