We often stress that our Lord wants us to live a Christ-centered life, but what does that look like? While the entire Bible is our guidebook, the Apostle Paul’s description of the fruit of the Spirit is very instructive. He writes: “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Here is Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of this text: “What happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and the conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” So, living a Christ-centered life is not just constantly holding ourselves to keep from falling off the track. Rather, it is yielding our entire selves to God’s Spirit whom God sent to live inside of us. As we day by day yield to God’s Spirit, the likeness to Christ comes–just as fruit comes to a living tree.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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