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  • Neil Stokes

Fruity



As a minister of a church during this pandemic, I have been so priviliged to be a part of a wider group of people who have just shown the love of God with so many other people, whether through a phone call, giving, helping or just prayer.


Now, as Christians, we don't have the monoploy on being good people. The world has come together to do good throughout the Covid19 outbreak. However, what we do believe is that good comes from a higher source - God. If you're reading this and you're not a Christian, you may have questions like, 'if God is good, then why all the bad stuff?'


That's okay. Christians think like that too. If they say they don't, then they are fibbers. We can't stand to see pain and suffering, fear and anxiety sweep this world. Yet it does. Consistently. There will always be good and bad (heck, most movies have good vs evil).


Here's the thing for me that has had a huge part to play in my walk with God, my own spiritual journey - faith and trust. I believe that God's creation and intention of earth and mankind has been messed up by us. Humans. We are literally our own worst enemy.


God could stop everything and start again. Thankfully, He hasn't. And that is a good thing. God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (John 3:16). What does this mean? God looks at you at sees greatness, His creation, part of His family. As well as giving Jesus to us as a sacrifice, taking on all the bad stuff, He didn't stop there. He sends His Holy Spirit to live in us when we accept Him. Whats the significance of this?


God wants us to do something 'good' in the world, to make it a better place. We all have the capacity to do that, but with the Holy Spirit we have a guide to do greater things. We are given this Spirit to change us, to shape and transform us into a better version of ourselves - an upgrade if you will. Whatever you think of yourself, God sees more.


In Galatians 5 we read about the fruits of the Spirit - fruits that don't spoil, fruits that make a difference, fruits that bring goodness to us and those around us. Those things that you are good at God can use to a greater extent.


Whatever I face and whatever I come up against I have learnt to rely on God to see me through, to shape me, to refine me and to bring me out the other side a better iteration of myself. The fruits of the Spirit allow me to rely on Him and not myself. I've stuffed up enough and, quite frankly, get bored of it. Yet as we keep step with God's Spirit we see that fruit starts to become evident.


I would encourage anyone reading this to check out this God we believe in. I used to think He was nonsense and couldn't do anything because the world was such a bad place. But I have learnt that God trusts us and has a faith in us to bring Him to others. The beauty is I am not the same person as I was ten years ago. I have hopefully changed for the better (you'll have to ask those around me...).



In the Message version of the bible in Galatians 5:1 it says this,


"Christ has set us free to live a free life."


That doesn't mean we do what we like. It means that whatever baggage or stuff you carry that pulls you down, those negative and self-destructive thoughts that weigh on your mind daily, those situations you think define you and will do for the rest of your life, or the names that have been declared over you which brings shame - they are all nonsense.


God isn't nonsense. He wants to set you free (in fact, He has through Jesus). You just have to reach out and accept it. It might be a long road, but I know from experience that it is far better than what I knew.


Imagine a world that has people realising who they are and what they were created for telling others and doing things that make the world a better place? That is fruit.


Stay blessed


Neil

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