“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22
Happy 90th Birthday Coach John Byrd! Let me share with you a little about my high school coach, because he never would. He served high schools in the state of South Carolina for over thirty years coaching football, basketball, and baseball. His basketball teams won 396 games and three state championships. He was named South Carolina Basketball Coach of the Year twice and Regional Coach of the Year five times. Coach Byrd is a fifty-nine year member of the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association and was inducted into its Hall of Fame. These are the tangible rewards of his career, but his contributions go much deeper. It was an honor to play football and baseball for Coach Byrd my junior and senior years. These were formative years for me and Coach helped me become a better athlete and a better person. His teams were disciplined and he insisted on teamwork. Coach was not a “screamer”, but he could give you that look that would stop you in your tracks. To be coached by and to be around Coach Byrd was to experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I’d like to think some of these character traits rubbed off on me just a little. I know without a doubt that he is a major reason I chose to go into coaching. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others like he did mine.
Through the words of Galatians 5:22, Paul is telling us the kind of person we can become if we turn control of our lives over to Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit can be produced in our lives, but only when we admit that we are incapable of doing it in our own strength. We must wave the white flag of surrender. With the Holy Spirit in us, the fruit takes seed. The fruit that grows from this seed reveals the very nature of Jesus Christ. If we want it, we must be willing to connect our life to His. And just how do we go about doing that? First, we must know Him. Then, we must trust Him. And finally, we must imitate Him. When we do these things, we too can bear fruit that will impact others in ways that we may never know.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Coach Byrd and the fruit he is producing in his life. May I strive today to know You more, trust You more deeply, and look a little more like Your Son Jesus than I did yesterday. Amen.