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It is the time of the year when graduations and celebrations are all around us. You can’t look on Facebook without seeing people posting pictures of their kids or grand kids, whether they are graduating from pre-school or medical school. Learning is a great thing and achievements are won by much hard effort and God’s blessing.
When you go to college, you must take many courses which seem irrelevant to your desired career because the universities strive to create “well-rounded” people. These courses are seldom ones that you enjoy – in fact, you may really hate some of them (I did!). But, they are a part of the graduation requirement.
God has a university, too. It’s called Sanctify U, and he has a core curriculum for Christians. It is listed in these verses from Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… These “spiritual gifts” are akin to “majors” in college, if you will. There is a variety of majors in a university and “../there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of service…to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:4-7) Different people get different gifts, but all Christians are expected to possess and display the fruit of the Spirit by virtue of his living and working in us. Those fruits of the Spirit are to make us more effective and to make the gospel more appealing to non-Christians.
But…though the Spirit is working to develop those fruits in us, in order for them to develop, the Spirit has to “test us” in each area. To develop patience, we must be put in situations that test our patience. It’s easy to be patience when all is going our way, but we need to learn to endure frustrations without losing our temper or getting overly upset. The Spirit may need to teach us what true love is by putting us in relationships with exasperating people, or he may help us develop a peaceful spirit by causing us to pass through stressful circumstance. These “tests” – like the tests in a university in a core curriculum course – force us to cling to Him, because without Him, we’d fail the exam.
When we resist or flunk the tests, we have to re-take our Christian core curriculum courses. We must come to understand that the Spirit is trying to develop Christ-like character in us, or we’ll lose heart when we encounter repeated tests and we’ll eventually want to surrender and give up. But, if we persist, we will ultimately reap a great harvest for the King and Kingdom (Galatians 6.9).
The core curriculum may not be flashy like walking on water, but God never asked us all to walk on water – simply to be filled by the Spirit and to be individuals rounded into the likeness of His Son. And never forget – the day we matriculate we will know it was all worth it!
PRAYER: I am so appreciative of Your patience with me. Help us not to despise the basic lessons we must learn, but to welcome them gladly and to persevere through the testing as You sanctify us in Your way! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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