Hey everyone! So I have a question for you, how was your black Friday? Did you do any shopping for Christmas at all? What about the deals, did you find any worth bragging about? Well, during this time of year, many of us start thinking of items to give our loved ones come Christmas day. Maybe you’re like me – just thinking of braving the Black Friday crowds in order to get a desired gift for “cheap” is too much stress to even think about! Then again, maybe you’re in a situation where you actually don’t have the money, or cannot afford to buy gifts others. I have been there as well. Or, maybe those that you are shopping for are picky as all get out and are never really appreciative with whatever they get for a holiday gift. So, you decide to put a creative spin on your holiday gifts and decide that whatever they get will be homemade thus given with a lot of love and thought behind it. When all else fails, we fall back on the usual gift cards, skin care packages and ugly Christmas sweaters.
But as Christians, have you ever considered thinking out side of the box and giving of yourself and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit?
The fruits of the spirit are nine characteristics or attributes of a life that has been changed by Jesus Christ. In the bible, Galatians 5:22 lists these traits that all should have as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. How awesome would it be to make an effort to give these very special gifts to all of those you love, and even strangers that you encounter! These simple gifts cost you nothing and yet they are all blessings and also reflect the best of us to others.
Of course most of us love our family, including our spouse, children and our closest friends, But can you say the same about those who have been hard to get along with? What about those who have hurt us time and time again? Have you offered love in the most difficult situations? Life is way too short. Now is the time to show some love to those who have held grudges with you, or perhaps consider opening up a line of communication that has been closed for however long. Try to focus on the goodness of all people, forgiving them as Christ has forgiven you. Be a more loving person than you have before, extending a voice of reason to those who have did us wrong or even those who don’t like us at all.
When is the last time you really felt joy, or even shared joy with others? Many people think that joy and happiness are the same thing – but that is actually not the case. Being happy about life depends on what’s happening at the time – we all have our good days and our bad days and our happiness will come and go. But joy… Joy is an attitude that we all can choose to have. No matter what is going on in our lives, we can make the choice to be more joyful and to see the brighter side of all things. Try not to wallow in pity or a depression. When you put all of your focus on God, who only wants the best for all of us, you will easily be able to find joy in your life. Your gift of joy and good attitude can be contagious to all those you encounter.
It is a huge blessing when you have a sense of peace in your life. But when you want to share peace with others, how do you do it? The first thing that you can do is pray for them – pray that they are able to receive the ultimate peace and loving assurance that can come only from God. You can also actively be a more peaceful person by avoiding conflict whenever possible. Try to meet any anger and criticism with compassion and a listening ear. Always think before you speak and perhaps saying something hurtful that you may regret. Try to stay as stress free as possible, given the circumstances you may find yourself in.
We’ve all had our patience tested at one time or another, haven’t we? Perhaps at this time of the year, it is the stress of the holidays, or maybe it has to deal with stress at work or even at home. We all can delight in the gift of longsuffering when we decide to change how we view unforeseen situations that come up in our lives. Depending on God can see you through some very stressful times. Trust that whatever is going on in your life will work out for your greater good. Having a cool head not only looks good for you, but rubs off on others as well, keeping people calm and won’t escalate already bad situations, making them worse.
When was the last time you went out of your way to be kind and gentle to someone else? Most acts of kindness actually require some kind of effort. Try to extend your gentleness beyond holding the door for someone, or smiling while crossing paths. Although those can make a difference in someone’s day, kindness can be also be expressed by taking the time to talk to someone, or listen to those who need an comforting ear. Give compliments to others and try to see good in more people. Try doing something for someone else without being asked, or without it being expected. Everyone needs a little bit of help some time in their lives.
So, you are probably wondering how could you possibly give the gift of goodness? Simply by doing good according to the word of God. Whenever I am confused about how to handle a tough situation, I ponder the well known statement of “What would Jesus do?” How would God want me to offer goodness to other people? By doing good, you will also set an example on how to we can all see the goodness in others as well.
Giving the gift of faith and faithfulness can really make an impact on another person’s life. By keeping your word, being honest and reliable shows people that they can depend on you. Try to be a real trustworthy friend and family member to others. Work to be more consistent, and faithful to God by spending more quality time with him, building a relationship by praying and being thankful and appreciative your blessings. Share your free time in happily spreading the gospel and telling others about the source of your faith. Faith is a very powerful gift and can change lives and move mountains, don’t count it out, but share it instead!
I’ve been told many times that I have a meek and gentle spirit. People who are meek usually are easy to like, very soft spoken, emotional, and carry the gift of love and healing to hurting souls. It is very easy to be more meek and gentle to others. It all starts by having compassion for others. Secondly, it takes being understanding of others by being able to listen well and also to see things from another person’s point of view. Being non-judgmental is key. When someone can open their heart to you without fear of being judged, that is big. When someone can see your gentleness instilled inside of you, that is amazing. Being shy is not always a bad thing, so don’t look at it that way. Being respectful, quiet and sensitive are awesome attributes to have.
Have you ever had a problem with controlling your temper? The gift of self-control can be soooo important for us as well as those around us in or daily lives. A lot of issues we face in our life start from a lack of self-control. We have to stop putting the blame of our problems on others when in actuality, it usually starts with us. If you don’t like the way your life is headed, or the problems you are facing – how do you expect anything to change if you don’t take responsibility, begin to commit your time, and put effort into turning your bad situations around? Having a positive outlook on life, believing in yourself, and learning from your failures and mistakes can help you more than you know. Free yourself from ungodly soul ties with people who will ultimately just drag you down, unnecessary stress, and from any unhealthy addictions that may trigger you into backsliding on your goals, and rely on God’s word to carry you through rougher times.
You see, there is really no reason to worry about if you can afford to buy someone the perfect gift or not. The best gifts to give will always come from the heart. Let this 2017 Christmas holiday season be the opportunity to share with your family & friends, neighbors, strangers as well as yourself, all of wonderful the gifts that have the ability to transform us into better people if we let it, by calling on the fruits of the Holy Spirit to help guide us in our lives.