But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! [Galatians 5:22-23 NLT]

At a wedding shower, I was presented with a list of items for a game. The woman whose purse contained the most items on the list was the winner. Since my bag usually holds only lipstick, wallet, camera and phone, I was amazed at the variety of articles the attendees had packed into their handbags. Out of curiosity, I recently Googled what it is we women actually stow in our purses. One site mentioned nineteen essentials, noting the typical items such as a compact, breath mints and tissues. It also included such “necessities” as oil-absorbing sheets, a sewing kit, deodorant, matches or lighter, roll-on perfume, hairbands and bobby pins, headphones, baby lotion, hand sanitizer, Band-Aids, aspirin, notebook and pen, and a snack. Other on-line lists included pepper spray, a flash light, eye drops and antacids. I now know why those enormous purses are so popular and why so many of my friends have back problems! Men may not carry handbags (and when they do it’s a “man bag”), but I know you fellows manage to stuff things like handkerchiefs, pill cases, lighters, toothpicks, calling cards, Swiss Army knives, keys, cell phones, and overstuffed wallets into your pockets.

What things do we consider necessities when we start out our day? More important than all the things we cram into our handbags, brief cases, wallets, backpacks, and pockets, we need to remember to pack the Fruits of the Spirit. We’re more likely to need patience and self-control than matches or bobby pins. If I had to choose, I’d prefer a good and kind person with bad breath or body odor to a nasty or cruel person who smells like peppermint or baby powder. Faithfulness is more important that having a bit of shine on one’s nose, joy makes one more attractive than any amount of make-up, and gentleness may save the day better than a safety pin or sewing kit ever could. An atmosphere of love is far sweeter than the aroma of Shalimar or Chanel #5 and, as much as I hate to admit it, the peace of God is far more essential in life than even my camera or phone!

What essentials are you taking with you today?

“Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes. [Luke 9:3 (NLT)]

Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ [Romans 13:14a (NLT)]