Throughout life God is shaping us into the people He want us to be. We are His good creation, and He is daily at work in our lives. The Bible uses images like a potter working on clay, or a mason shaping living stones for the temple. Because of our fallen nature there are things within us that need changing to make us into the nature of Christ, to make us useful for God’s Kingdom. This is why we talk about God working through circumstances to help us grow in the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and the rest. Years ago I heard a pastor say, “If you want to know what is in a cup – bump it.” I know when I get bumped I all too easily respond with frustration or saying something I shouldn’t. God speaks to us in circumstances to help us yield to His Spirit and grow in more patience and the other fruit. It works this way with all of us as we are willing to listen to God’s voice and yield to His hand. The lessons are not always easy, and we don’t like many of the circumstances we face in life, but they are tools in God’s gracious hands. The fruit of the Spirit is the nature of Jesus, and what God is working to form in us. God doesn’t do away with our personality and individuality, but works Christ’s nature into these so that we may be useful to Him and to others.