This past Sunday was Epiphany Sunday. Every year on Epiphany, the Refinery (one of the campuses of the church I pastor) has a tradition of drawing stars from a basket. Each star has one of the Fruit of the Spirit written on it (from Galatians 5). Everyone picks a star without looking and whatever star you pick, you assume that God has something to teach you or say to you about that particular Fruit throughout the year.
Last year, I picked faithfulness. I spent most of the year wondering what that was about; not sure I ever really discovered exactly what God was up to. Still …
If there was one “star” out of the nine that I would have chosen to stay away from it was patience. Simply because I think that one’s dangerous! There’s the old adage that if you pray for patience, God puts you in situations where you need to develop and have patience. So what would it be like if God gave you a star as a way of saying, “This year is going to be all about patience?”
So when I picked my star? Patience! [Of course.]
Wasn’t too happy about it, honestly. Wasn’t looking forward to it. And then last night a friend said something that reminded me of an important truth. These are gifts!
The Fruit of the Spirit are gifts, given to us by God so that we can live a life of freedom by the Spirit. They aren’t given to us as punishments or as correction. They are given to us as gifts to enjoy. In them we get a glimpse of what a Spirit-consumed life is like.
If you were there Sunday night and you’re wondering what’s up; whatever your star - it is a good thing. God has a gift in store for you! The gift God has for me is patience. Not because circumstances will dictate that I need it, but because a loving God has graciously chosen to share it with me.