Here are two lists of characteristics:
If asked, most people would say that they’d like to be described by the second list. But if you take a good look at yourself and are honest about how you are right now as a person, you will probably see that there is a lot more of the first list in you than the second. But the hopeful and joyful truth is that it’s possible to change from the first list to the second!
Life can get better and better
“Remember how she used to be so grumpy and complaining all the time?” people can say of me. “Look how happy and patient she is now! Wow, what a work God has been able to do in her!” This is the change that is possible, but you know that you can’t get it right on your own. You may have even tried.
God wants us to be changed into the second list, therefore He has shown us in His Word how to do it. He has also promised to give us the grace and power that we need to fight against who we are by nature and become that second list.
The characteristics on that second list are described in the Bible as the fruits of the Spirit. The great benefit of being a Christian is that we are not only promised an eternity in heaven with Jesus, but we also get to experience that life gets better and better for us on earth as we get more and more of the fruits of the Spirit.
Everyone and everything around you can be blessed
To be worried is heavy. Having hope and faith for the future makes life light and joyful. Being bitter makes you miserable. Being loving and forgiving gives you rest and peace. When these good characteristics begin to be a part of your nature, your whole life starts to change. You see things in a new way. Your joy becomes deep and unchanging because it is grounded in God rather than in outward circumstances.
Your spirit becomes light and free, and your relationships with other people get better and better as you learn to react with kindness, goodness, patience etc. instead of just reacting out of your sinful nature. People are drawn to the good spirit that shines from your life. Everything and everyone can be blessed by the goodness that comes from your life.
People will see that here is something different, this is not a normal person who gets upset, who is sharp and hard, who is selfish, who thinks of himself first. This is not someone who gives in to pressure from others or is afraid to speak up for what’s right.
This is someone who is willing to be humble, someone who is kind, who thinks of other's best and how he can make life easier for the people he meets in life, whether it’s close friends and family or other people. This is someone who has a deep trust in God and can say the right words at the right time and isn’t afraid to talk about his faith.
You honour God with your life
God is honoured by lives like these. Living according to our human nature—the first list of characteristics—leads only to unhappiness, hardship, hopelessness, worry, pride, stress, broken relationships, conflict, hatred, and other miseries. What meaning does life have when this is how you live it?
But just think of a life where the fruits of the Spirit are growing and ripening. Contentment, enthusiasm, hope for the future, peace, humility, rest, love, and joy are the results, and these are the things that make life exciting, meaningful, rich, and interesting. Then we experience life the way God really wants us to.
If we think of how long eternity is, this life on earth is just a puff of smoke in comparison, but God wants the very best for us during our short time on earth. He wants us to do well and enjoy life. And if we choose to follow Christ, He’s giving us the opportunity to live the most exciting, meaningful and richest life possible on earth. There is no other life that can compare to a life where our sinful human nature, with its old sinful habits, is replaced by the wonderful fruits of the Spirit.