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)]

fireweedGames seem to be a requirement at wedding and baby showers and one such game is a purse scavenger hunt. Guests are given a list of items and the woman whose handbag contains the most of them is the winner. After playing it, I was amazed at the variety of articles beyond wallet, lipstick, tissues, and gum women pack into their purses.

Out of curiosity, I Googled what the well-packed purse should contain to be prepared for every situation. Combining the lists from the first two sites consulted, I’d need to carry 26 items. If I packed all of that in my purse, I’d need the recommended three zippered pouches to keep everything organized!

Even without handbags, men manage to carry things like handkerchiefs, pill cases, toothpicks, combs, Swiss Army knives, keys, cell phones, and overstuffed wallets. When researching what are considered a man’s necessities, the first site listed ten items and the next added six additional ones. Perhaps that’s why I’m seeing so many men carrying messenger bags and backpacks.

Looking at all the essentials these various sites listed, I wondered about the items a Christian brings with him or her when starting the day. More important than all the things we cram into our handbags or pockets, we need to remember the Fruit of the Spirit. I’d rather lose an earring because I don’t have an extra earring back than lose my temper because I forgot to bring along self-control! In a pinch, we’re more likely to need patience than a flask or stain-erasing pen. Faithfulness is more important that having a bit of shine on one’s nose, joy makes us more attractive than any lipstick, and a gentle word may save the day better than a safety pin. While I’d rather not have to choose, I’d prefer being a good person with bad breath or a kind one with body odor than a cold-hearted or unkind person who smells like cinnamon gum, peppermint or rose petal deodorant. An atmosphere of love is far more pleasant than the aroma from perfume or after shave and the peace of God is far more essential than even a flashlight or Ibuprofen!

God’s wisdom and the Holy Spirit’s guidance take less room and cover more situations than the multitask key ring that includes a pry bar and both flat-head and Phillips-head screwdrivers. We don’t need ear buds to hear God’s voice or a flash drive to keep His word in our hearts. People shouldn’t need our business card to know we are Christ’s followers and, unless we’re hiking in the back woods or expecting to light birthday candles soon, there is no need for a lighter or matches; we carry the light of Christ!

What we have in our hearts is far more important than what we carry in our purses or pack in our pockets. What are your essentials for the day?

Jesus spoke to them again. “I am the light of the world,” he said. “People who follow me won’t go around in the dark; they’ll have the light of life!” [John 8:12 (NTE)]

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