Here's something you can try at home, with sweet results! Fill a glass halfway with water and stir as much sugar into it as you can get, or about four tablespoons. Stir it until the sugar dissolves in the water. (This may take awhile.) Once you've dissolved as much of the sugar into the water as you can, get a piece of string and tie it to a spoon. Lay the spoon across the top of the glass with the string hanging down almost to the bottom of the glass (but not touching the bottom) in the middle of the sugar water. Cover the spoon and glass with a napkin or paper towel and set it out of the way, where it won't accidentally get knocked over and cause your parents to ground you from ever reading this book again!
Leave the string in the water for nine days. You'll see the sugar crystals that were dissolved in the water begin to attach themselves to the string, gradually forming what appear to be rocks of sugar. You will then be able to remove the rock candy from the glass and eat it. (Be prepared for your parents to claim that when they were kids, rock candy was the only candy they could afford.)
Now, what's the point? Just this: The glass involved in that little experiment doesn't produce the rock candy, does it? The ingredients inside the glass actually create those beautiful, tasty crystals. The glass was filled with sugar water; that's what produced the rock candy on the string.
You and I are kind of like that glass. We can't produce beautiful things out of our life. We can't be consistently pure and loving and patient and kind. We may try; most Christians do. But no matter how hard we try, the best we can produce is pretty bad.
But as Christians, we're filled with the Holy Spirit. As we learn to spend time with him and trust him every moment of our life, some of the qualities of the Holy Spirit will be produced in our life. Without him, we can only produce things like impurity, hatred, and jealousy (Galatians 5:19-21); but when we are filled with the Spirit, we will like the string of rock candy in the glass of sugar water take on the characteristics of the Holy Spirit. Sweet, eh?
REFLECT: If you never put the string in the sugar water, but only placed it near the glass, do you think rock candy would ever form on the string? Why or why not? How is that similar to you and your relationship with the Holy Spirit?
PRAY: For the next nine days, watch your rock candy forming in the glass of water. Pray briefly each time you check it (and especially as you eat it) that the Holy Spirit will produce his sweet fruit in your life.