October 13, 2019 • Life for Leaders
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
Galatians 5: 22-23 (NRSV)
I have come to realize that God is equally as concerned with our productivity in the spiritual world as He is with our productivity in the material realm. How we feel in our being, and how we experience life on a daily basis as we perform our respective tasks, matters. Those feelings and experiences are just as important as getting our jobs done, taking care of our loved ones, keeping the world clean and safe, and stabilizing our communities.
This was not always evident to me. I used to heavily prioritize material accomplishments without taking account the spiritual components of my commitments.
Yesterday we talked about the habits of effectiveness: setting intentions, making informed decisions, creating timelines, organizing resources, building unified teams, managing expectations, and systematically tracking performances. What I love about these steps is that they don’t just apply to goals in the material sense.
They also can be applied to our experience of God’s fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. If we look at the opposites of the fruits of the Spirit—fear, hate, chaos, anxiousness, lack of self-control, discord, harm, selfishness, and so forth—we can clearly see why it’s important to set intentions to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, generous, faithful, gentle, and disciplined.
Every morning, I can drop my kids off at school with an attitude of joy and sweetness, or their last experience of me before they engage their learning can be one of haste, contempt, or invisibility. I can conduct work meetings in a patient and timely manner, giving everyone ample time to be heard and considered, or I can rush through discussions with my own agenda. In all of these scenarios, the tasks are accomplished, but how I feel, how I relate to others, and how they are impacted by my heart posture differs significantly.
As I mature as a child of God, I am strengthening the habit of setting my material goals alongside intentions for my spirit. I have instituted the practice of expressing my intentions with my spiritual desires included: “Lord, let me have a peaceful meeting. Lord, help me drive patiently. Lord, saturate our family day with your joy.”
In addition to setting spiritual intentions for my days, I also take stock of the resources God has provided me, and I try to move about my day from a place of abundance and gratitude versus lack. When I feel discomforted or disconnected, I resist casting quick judgement before managing my own expectations or gathering more information to make an informed decision about my challenges.
Employing the habits of effectiveness in the realm of my spiritual matters has significantly improved the quality of my leadership and my experience of success. Tell us how setting spiritual intentions for your day has helped you become a better leader.
Something to Think About:
Which fruit of the Spirit do you experience most often?
When setting goals, how often do you tend to your spiritual needs?
Which fruit of the Spirit would you benefit from prioritizing a little more?
Something to Do:
Pick a task that you are not fond of doing and set a spiritual intention for your experience while performing the task; i.e. if you are not fond of doing the dishes, prioritize feeling joy while cleaning your plates. Once you set your material and spiritual intention, find a resource in your house that will help you execute on both intentions effectively. Perhaps you can turn on your favorite upbeat song while you wash the dishes, or set up a time to do the dishes when you can have a fun conversation with someone you love in the home or on the phone. After your task, reflect on the difference of your experience coupled with such a spiritual intention versus how it normally feels without one.
Heavenly Father, you are the alpha and omega of our existence. In your presence there is fullness of joy. Help us to dwell in your presence all the days of our lives. You are Emmanuel, God with us. Keep us immersed in your patience, joy, and peace – no matter our engagement. From the mundane to the once-in-lifetime celebrations we encounter, let us keep the awareness that you are the source of our strength and in you we live, move, and have our being.
Thank you, Lord, for your provisions of love and mercy. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project:
Don’t Send That Email! Using The Fruits of The Spirit at Work (Video)
Clarissa Joan Middleton is an artist and business consultant committed to making media for social change.
Click here to read Clarissa’s profile.
Really enjoyed both devotions! Looking forward to reading more of your material and grateful for your leadership at De Pree.