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Allison Althoff
Allison Althoff
Natalie Lederhouse
Natalie Lederhouse

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February 23, 2010

The Growing Season

40 days to a new you!

In Kyria’s Encouraging Words daily online devotional, author Diane Eble recently wrote about the need to create the right conditions for spiritual fruitfulness. Citing Galatians 5:22—"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!"—Eble reminds readers: “Fruit is the result of right conditions, including enough light, the right amount of water at the right time, pulling weeds regularly, and enriching the soil.”

For me, Lent has always been the best growing season. From Ash Wednesday to Easter, this 40-day period mirrors a planting, cultivating, and harvesting cycle. On Ash Wednesday, we confess our sins—till the ground, turning it over to inspect the quality of the soil and prepare it for new growth. During the 40 days following this groundbreaking, we engage in practices, such as daily Bible reading, prayer, personal sacrifice, and service, that are the equivalent of shining light, watering, pulling weeds, and fertilizing the soil of our souls.

Of course, Lent isn’t the only time we can experience new growth. The Spirit works in each of us throughout our lives. I am, however, grateful that the Church provides for a regular growth cycle, much the same as farmers prepare and plant the soil in spring and harvest their crops in late summer.

As Eble reminds us, Galatians 5:22 provides a spiritual check-up: Are we seeing any evidence in our lives of fruitfulness—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? I’ve been thinking more and more about what “plants” I need to grow this year. Last year during Lent I focused on self-control. This year I sense the Spirit calling me to cultivate love.

Related Tags: Lent, Spiritual discipline


I'm wondering if we get to choose the fruit ... or if that's the Holy Spirit's call. I'm wondering if what God really desires is that all the fruit continues to ripen and come to maturity in unity, each fruit impacting the others so that they all come into full bloom together.

Kind of like a beautiful vase, brimming with a fabulous bouquet of all kinds of gorgeous, lush, scented flowers.

The fruit of the Spirit all seem to go hand in hand to form us into Christ's likeness. I find that if I'm lacking in one area, I'm usually lacking in them all ...

Thanks for this thought-provoking, heart-examining article!

Thanks for the reminder and connection to Lent. I'm currently editing a book on how the fruit of the Spirit work out even in our physical and emotional health. In response to Linda's comment, I think God already chose the fruit (love, joy, peace, etc.). He wants them all, bu the particular ways they are expressed will be individual--a different bouquet for each of us.

I love reading all the articles.My church has never emphasized Lent because it is not "biblical".....Isn't my life as a child of God a daily walk?

The Spirit's fruit in our lives is the most tangible evidence of Jesus' Life within us. I love how scripture give us such an earthy way of living out our faith. Growth in Jesus takes effort on our part. This rings true on so many levels. Tending, cultivating, pruning, feeding, bearing tough elements, looking to the Son (sun). I could go on. Lent is the perfect time to revisit how we are growing in the Spirit. New life. Clean living. Sober in spirit. Denying ourselves from that which is ultimately harmful (gluttony ).

I'm putting together a calendar for our family for Lent. My inspiration came just today and I can't find what I'm looking for online. Being Presbyterian, we don't exactly observe Lent in full, but personally our family has observed it for many years. Spiritual examination. I'm excited about this fruitful mission!

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