>You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:16

“I didn’t sign up for this.” I hear this statement from Small Group leaders usually when something has come up in their group that is far more complicated than practicing the one anothers or figuring out who will bring the brownies next week. Maybe there’s a conflict. Maybe someone’s headed down a path to disaster, but they don’t see it. The leader needs to step in.

Once we’ve talked through the issue, I remind them that they didn’t sign up for this, but God signed them up for this. God wants to use them. I’m sure they are muttering under their breath, “Thanks, jerk.”

But, here’s the thing, God works through us more in our discomfort and inadequacies than through our strengths. God doesn’t want us to confuse the result of using our mad skills with bearing spiritual fruit. So, if you’re very well organized, we might give you points for self-control, but you’ll probably blow it on patience. Just sayin’.

God signed us up to bear fruit. We find the fruit (not fruits) of the Spirit in Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

What fruit do you see in your life? Where do you need to grow? If the sweetness of joy has been replaced by the bitterness of sorrow, don’t give up. As Pastor Rick Warren says, “God uses the opposite quality to produce godly character in our lives.” As we depend on God’s work in us, before we know it, He’ll exchange our mourning for dancing (Jeremiah 31:13).