Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

These traits, listed in Galatians 5, make up the fruit of the (Holy) Spirit, the evidence of being followers of Jesus. Who doesn’t want to have these attributes defining their days? Couldn’t we all use a little more peace? Don’t we wish that person would speak to us in a gentler tone? Aren’t we tired of not having the self-control we long for but seems always just out of our grasp? We know the Christian life should be marked by these traits, but we aren’t quite sure how to get there.

So, what do we do? Grab a new planner or notebook? Write out our goals on index cards to post them on our mirrors, kitchen cabinets, and anywhere else they may catch our eye? Look to the latest and best-selling self-help book? We want patience – and we want it now!

Instant gratification. Fast fixes. One pill to make it all disappear. Easy credit with no money down. That’s 21st-century America, the world we live in. We think we “deserve” these things; that we are entitled to them.

But think about it. Have you ever really been satisfied with that quick-fix solution? Has anything in the world ever really filled up your heart in the same way the living God does?

What if God is actually more interested in the state of your heart than He is in providing you with these quick fixes? What if the one true God is gently calling to you to swing wide the doors of your heart and let Him in? Will you? Will you – today – say “Yes, Lord”? Will you allow His Holy Spirit to work in your heart and mind so that this fruit can begin to grow?

Bear in mind that growth is a process. It’s not a one-time easy transaction that never needs repeating. It’s a consistent, little-by-little process that calls us to yield ourselves to who God is and what He can do. And what He will do in return is immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

For more spiritual-growth guides like this one, download Grow: A Guide to Spiritual Growth for Lent.