But 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 a 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.

// Galatians 5:22-23 [MSG]

When I first arrived in New York City I was struck by the amount of advertising and marketing that surrounds us every day. It’s seriously unrelenting and, between you and me, it led me to mentally dub NYC ‘the epicenter of inadequacy’. I can’t help but think that there are entire industries that depend on our dissatisfaction with our lives and what we have.

Whether it’s a billboard for a vacation destination, a perfume, or a new build apartment, what they pretend to offer isn’t just a product – it’s the perceived benefits that product will bring, like happiness, success, contentment, attractiveness and peace. But the truth is, no product or commodity on earth can give us what it is we really crave.

The free benefits that we receive, via the Holy Spirit, as children of God are often underestimated, and they’re things money can’t buy. Like inner peace – do they sell that at Bergdorf?

I often think, if we could sell ‘Holy Spirit in a Bottle’ we’d trump all of those billboards at their own game. In fact, we’d probably put companies out of business and make entire industries obsolete. A wild thought, but maybe that’s why society rejects Him – because ‘the system’ depends on our dissatisfaction.

Because isn’t what we’re actually looking for somewhere between unconditional love and acceptance, fullness of joy, inner peace, good relationships, health and wholeness, peaceful rest, self-discipline, bold confidence and comfort through hard times? It’s not actually things or money or a vacation anyway. And it’s all available to us free of charge!

Galatians 5:22 describes the Holy Spirit as a tree bearing good fruit in us. Also known as ‘the Friend’ [John 14:26 MSG], ‘the Comforter’ [John 14:26 AMP], ‘the Helper’ [John 14:16], ‘the Counselor’ [John 14:16 NIV], ‘the Teacher’ [Luke 4:14-15], ‘the Free Spirit’ [Ps. 51:12] and ‘the Breath of the Almighty’ [Job 33:4], Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us and sustain our very lives.

He is what we’re looking for and He’s everything we need.

// Alicia Hosking