I know a newborn Christian in prison, with lots of time on his hands and lots of enthusiasm about God. That confluence prompted an idea in me. I suggested he take each of the nine fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23, and focus on just one a day.
I told him if he prayed for a specific fruit each day, and then went through the day trying it on for size, consciously "putting it on" as Colossians 3:12 says to do, the Lord would bring him into a deeper understanding of that fruit and transform him in that particular area.
I thought it fair to warn my young pen pal not to be easily capsized by strange things that might happen in the course of this spiritual experiment-things that may feel like setbacks but are actually testings to prove and hone his faith:
". . . various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praises and glory and honor in the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:6-7).
"For example, on the day you pray for love, don't be surprised if He sends you the most unlovable inmate in the unit. On the day you focus on joy, don't be shaken if you are whacked by a depression that you have to box your way out of with prayer. On the day you do self-control, watch out for a situation that will press all your buttons, where you normally would have reacted like Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. (Remember the toll booth scene?)"
God gives the Spirit but we need to walk in the Spirit, one foot in front of the other. Slip-ups are understandable. Not cooperating is not.