I have asked myself the same question countless times over the course of my walk with the Lord. So many times I have questioned my reactions to troubles, my fear in the face of adversity, my behavior towards others, or the terrible thoughts that sometimes runs through my head that all I can do is question if I am truly saved, or if the Holy Spirit is present in me. I read about the characteristics that should be in believers...and I don't always see myself in the pages. Do you feel that way sometimes too?
The Holy Spirit enters a person the moment that they believe on Jesus Christ for his or her salvation. "Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God`s possession—to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14). If you have believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for our sins—that you are a sinner in need of a Savior, have asked for forgiveness and been saved by the grace of God—then you are saved and the Holy Spirit is in you.
The Holy Spirit acts in many ways. He guides us, comforts us, and teaches us to live righteously like Jesus did during his earthly ministry. But here is the secret: our road to righteousness, our molding, or sanctification does not happen overnight. It is a process.
The Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). One day, when we are in Heaven with God, we will possess all of these fruits in their fullest. In the meantime, God is working with us to develop these fruits. Healthy, well-tended trees bear fruit. Trees must be pruned for growth to occur. Dead branches must be cut off. The tree must be watered and fertilized. So it is with you and me. God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, cares for us so we may grow and produce good fruit. Experiences, hardships, relationships...all of these things come into our lives and give us opportunities to grow. Each fruit ripens in its own time.
Patience is the one fruit that I struggle with the most. I am a mother and wife—I know love. I am not always perfect at it. Sometimes I fail at love, but I know it. Patience is another thing. Make me wait for something I think I need or my family needs, and I will do whatever I can under my own power to make it happen sooner. Over and over again in my life, I have failed at trusting God to supply my needs by His power and in His time. He should have given up on me a long time ago, but He never has. He continues to give me opportunity after opportunity to grow and to cultivate patience.
Some days it feels like two steps forward, one step back. And that is the way of the Christian life most of the time. We make progress, then we fail, then we start over again. The only thing that keeps us going is knowing that God's grace is always there to save us no matter how badly or how often we fail.
Those days when we feel like we don't have any of the fruits of the Spirit—those days will come. Lies. The devil loves to steal our joy by convincing us that we don't really have salvation or what it takes to get it. Don't believe those lies. God loves you. If you have accepted Him through faith in Christ Jesus, you are His child and the Holy Spirit is in you.
I pray that you will go the next step and give the Holy Spirit the room to work in your life and the reins to direct it. I encourage you to read your Bible and pray daily. Attend church and maybe find a youth group that centers around learning the deep truths of the Bible.
Sometimes you don't see in the moment which fruit God might be working on in your life, but often you see it when you break through. Be watchful and try to remember those moments. Maybe you'll see faithfulness when you see a classmate who talks a lot and loudly and no one wants to be her science project partner, but you decide, "God loves her, and I will too." Maybe you'll see forbearance and self-control when everyone at the party is drinking beer, but you decide, "I am going to have my mom come and pick me up."
Remember, it's not an overnight thing, and each fruit often takes years to cultivate. Make yourself available to God, and He will do the work.
Dear one, we are praying for you and your walk with the Lord. You are precious to Him. Be like Paul of the Bible who likened our Christian walk as a race to be won and "run in such a way as to get the prize" (1 Corinthians 9:24). God is FOR you.
Rhonda is an author, wife, mother, and mentor. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in English and Religious studies. She loves studying God’s Word for truth and wisdom and uses it as a compass and roadmap for her own spiritual journey. Rhonda believes in sharing the Good News and the hope found in Biblical truths with others. She uses her writing and mentoring opportunities (often with a pinch of humor) to do just that.