In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem
6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Parents and children. Friends and co-workers. Siblings and in-laws. Marriage and dating. Our lives are filled with relationships. They are amazing and challenging, inspiring, and just plain hard. Isn’t it true that in many of our connections with those we love the most, we experience communication breakdowns, discouragement, and unmet expectations? As we depend on Christ to do within us that which we cannot do on our own, we (and our relationships) will be strengthened and filled with “the fruit of the Spirit.”
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. All are necessary when navigating relationships, but sometimes they can be seemingly lacking or straight-up missing in our lives! Maybe patience with a child has been running short lately. Maybe life has thrown a curveball and peace seems slim-to-none in your heart. Maybe you’re just simply tired and your reserves are low, leaving you lacking kindness and gentleness toward others.
There is no shortage of relationships that can feel like they’re out of our control. However, one thing that always remains true is that we have direct access to our God who made and knows each of us. When we put our faith in Jesus, we’re made alive in Christ and His Spirit lives in us. And with the Holy Spirit comes the fruit of the Spirit. As we learn to rely on and surrender to the help of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit will begin to saturate our lives and influence how we love others.
As we read through the story of Ruth this week, look for the fruit of the Spirit on display in this amazing story of love and redemption. Consider how you see – or might not see – His fruit showing up in your life in and through your personal relationships on a daily basis.
A Mentoring Journey
FLOURISH: A Mentoring Journey is a year-long curriculum guide, rooted in Scripture and developed by The Flourish Team of Passion City. Now available in two volumes, this mentoring journey encourages women from different stages of life to share their lives with one another through the studying of the Word of God and relevant life topics. Find out more about Year One and Year Two of FLOURISH by clicking the link below.Find Out More