Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Fruit of His Labors

When the words came out of the pastor’s mouth I knew they had value. What stunned me was how exact they were. In fact they were almost identical to what I had written in my journal just days before. No one but God knew.


On November 20, 2004 I wrote, “I know that I am a horse in the gate itching for the signal to go off. Yet I know that can take me to a false start.”


On November 29, 2004, the pastor spoke “Don’t give up hope, fight for hope. I see a horse in the gate stomping to get out.” “You’re a sprinter, get in do the job, get it done.” “But God wants you to know that you are built for endurance. You are an endurance runner.” “Anchor hope with endurance.”


When something like that happens I know that God is not only in my midst but something is on my horizon. Prophetic words are often released as encouragement before God extends an invitation to walk with Him on a new path. As I walk with Him through the hills and valleys of life’s circumstances, He works behind the scenes establishing the fruit of His labor.


I’ve recently started walking my neighborhood several days a week. Being in the mountains the steep roads challenge my out of shape body. It would be really easy to give up and find something more pleasurable to do with my time. But I want to lose weight, I want to feel better, so I press on.


There’s one specific patch of road that is my greatest challenge. It’s the incline that gets me to my driveway. As I come upon it and look at how far I’ve yet to go, it’s then the body does it’s talking to the mind and the mind tries to convince the will. “You’ll never make it.” “Look how steep it is.” “You’re really hurting.” “Quit here.”


At that point I have no choice but to set my face like a flint. If I focus on my feet and that next step, I keep moving, endurance kicks in. If I look around me at what’s before me, I know I’ll never make it. I’ll give up.

The years since that prophetic word, have felt much like that incline. So many times I’ve wanted to give up. Pain, heartache, weariness have spoken to my heart. But Jesus inside kept calling me back to one step at a time. “Set your face like a flint on me.”


Today I was challenged to ask Jesus the following question: “What one aspect of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is really active and growing in you?”


I asked, He answered. “Long-suffering”. What? Are you kidding me? Really? I was shocked!


I would have never picked that one. It’s never been true of me. It’s not one of my natural characteristics. I’ve never liked waiting, ask my family. Just like that horse at the gait, I’ve always been ready to move. Patience was not a characteristic anyone would have used to describe me.


But Jesus did.


I was taken back when I looked up the Greek meaning of long-suffering: patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance.


I see it now. These last few years, God’s been making me into an endurance runner. Out of desperate need, I’ve had to keep my eyes focused like a flint on His face to move me through that one step in front of me. In the process, little did I know, He’s been renewing my mind, by exchanging my broken flesh with the character of His indwelling Spirit. He says I’m long-suffering. Amazing. He really does work miracles. He’s transforming my mind.


Life takes on a deeper meaning as I see through His eyes what He’s doing inside me. Today He revealed the fruit of His labors. It matters. It really does. Endurance is having it’s perfect work. As I look into His eyes I see joy at the harvest He has borne in my heart. It makes it all worthwhile. For my light and momentary troubles are achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.


What’s Jesus harvesting in your heart? Why not ask Him to reveal to you that one characteristic of the Holy Spirit He's now developing in you?


Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

©copyrighted 2009, Julie L. Todd

16 comments:

Amy said... Reply to comment

What an awesome story of God's power in your life!

My heart is rejoicing after reading this beautiful testimony.

Romans 5, verses 3 and 4 are some of my most favorite scriptures! I was quoting these verses just a few days ago--sharing about what God has accomplished in my heart through suffering.

God is SO good!

Love you!!

Debbie said... Reply to comment

Bravo for sticking with your walking even when it was one foot in front of the other. And how wonderful to read how He is transforming your mind. I have been praying Romans 12:1-2 every morning to remind myself that He wants my life. And I want to submit every part of me to Him so that He can work in and through me.

Thank you for sharing this example.

Shanda said... Reply to comment

Transforming of the mind... I listened to that today in the messages you told me about. I didn't get to finish it though. I couldn't see how to pause/stop without starting all over again. Kinda tough to get through a complete message with little ones. I love to read how God is training you! This message brings hope! Thank you, friend!
love,
shanda

christy rose said... Reply to comment

I believe that God is harvesting faith in me. A couple of years ago i asked Him to help me to believe. Since then, I have felt and experienced His plow and sickle, planting, growing and harvesting the fruit of faith within my heart. Great post Julie,
Christy

Lelia Chealey said... Reply to comment

This is so good Julie. Thank you for sharing what God has put on your heart with us. You know I love your writing and heart you have for Jesus.
love,
Lelia

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

It took a long time till long suffering made sense to me. If we want to be like Jesus, we have to want all of the package. And sometimes it's not fun. But you know what? He's worthy and meets us right where we need Him to meet us.

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

This post, so personal, so real, ministered to my heart early this morning.

I love the prophetic word God spoke to you.

And long suffering is I think a foundational virtue. Like love, don't you think that these two go together?

Hang in there dear Julie. Your longsuffering will allow the rest of the fruit of the Holy Spirit to grow to maturity.

Lack of patience is what have gotten people into trouble, or stunts their growth.

I'll take long suffering any time.

By the way, it is also the fruit that is actively growing in me. Years of being in the wilderness has allowed that fruit to grow in my heart.

Love
Lidj

Laurel@From My Heart to Yours said... Reply to comment

Julie, this is beautiful! When you said a horse, waiting to get out of the gate...I was sure you meant me!

Your beauty shines through in all you do Julie. Thank you for sharing your heart.

With love from Canada,
Laurel

LisaShaw said... Reply to comment

Powerful!

God is doing a work in you Sweet Sister. Keep walking, remain at His feet and remain focused on HIM.

Love you and thanks for a powerful sharing.

Beautiful Grace said... Reply to comment

I just referenced Romans 5:3-4 in ministering to a friend who was facing surgery for an abscess and Crhon's disease.

Perseverance, yeah, that is a characteristic ALL of His kids are growing in.

Good post!

Thanks for you encouragement!

Karen said... Reply to comment

Beautiful! I especially liked...
"As I walk with Him through the hills and valleys of life’s circumstances, He works behind the scenes establishing the fruit of His labor."

After years of turmoil and uncertainty about certain situations in my life, I feel the Lord is harvesting peace in my heart...the kind that comes from totaling laying my burden at His feet and leaving it there...having faith that the Lord will take care of it.

Liz said... Reply to comment

another spectacular post!
an excellent way to start my work week.

Laura said... Reply to comment

I love how you see HIm and hear Him in these moments each day. You are such a blessing to me, dear friend! I too miss our frequent "visits"--I have not been much in blogland lately either. But know you are on my mind and on my heart! Keep walking!

Carmen said... Reply to comment

Loved this post Julie. So deep and encouraging!

I believe God is teaching me humility. I am learning that there is power, strength and perseverance in humility that builds character and makes me stronger. It's not an easy fruit to swallow, but I want all that God has for me!

Sarah Markley said... Reply to comment

This is beautiful Julie.

Setting my face like a flint, I often picture that when I feel like I'm climbing a spiritual mountain.

Blessings to you.

thank you for including your link so I could read this.

=)

Jo Princess Warrior said... Reply to comment

Jesus has been speaking to me about endurance lately too and not quitting. Love this. xoxo