Fruit of the Spirit – Let Us Reflect

fruit the end

As we end the Fruit of the Spirit, let’s take the time to reflect on Peter’s words…

2 Peter 1 NLT

Greetings from Peter

1 This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.

I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.

2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

Growing in Faith

3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Paying Attention to Scripture

12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. 13 And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. 14 For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, 15 so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.

16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.

19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, 21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.

Fruit of the Spirit – Gentleness

gentleness

Gentle means 1. having or showing a kind and quiet nature; not harsh or violent; 2. not hard or forceful; 3. not strong or harsh in effect or quality.

“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your gentleness made me great.”  2 Samuel 22:36 ESV.

David spoke these words near the end his life.  With God’s help David became one the greatest men to have ever lived.  God taught David gentleness so he could be great.

When we think of God we might not consider His gentleness, we see much of His great power and might, the parting of the Red Sea or the flood waters covering the wicked in Noah’s time.  As powerful as God is, He is also gentle.  God could act in a mighty way ~ forceful and demanding but that way is not His nature.

God is gentle with us, showing His quiet nature.

God is gentle with us, He does not force Himself on us.

God is gentle with us, He is not cruel.

God is gentle with us, He does not act impulsively.

God is gentle with us, He is not inconsiderate.

Gentleness is His nature, an amazing characteristic to consider!  Our God, who made everything from nothing, who knows everything, would choose to be gentle.
If God is gentle with us, should we not be gentle with others?
As the Holy Spirit fills our lives, gentleness will be expressed through us.
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Titus 3:1-2 ESV

Gentleness is difficult … it’s difficult to be gentle to others when someone is talking behind your back, when you watch someone give in to the same sin time and time again. Our human nature comes into play and we just want to shake them to wake them up.  We’ve all looked at others and thought “I don’t understand”.

At the heart of these thoughts is pride, a sense that we are better than another or above that type of behavior.

 Are we really?

I see this sin working in me, the pride, I don’t like to admit it, but it’s true.  I get frustrated when others aren’t listening, aren’t responding the way I think they should.  I want to scream at them, “I’m trying to show you! Why won’t you do it my way!” Sometimes I believe I’m justified, I’m trying to lead them to God, to Jesus, it’s righteousness anger, after all, isn’t it?   No, it’s not righteous anger, it’s my own pride, it’s me looking for the glory that should be His and His alone.  I will admit, the more I learn about Him, His ways, His laws, the more the pride thoughts stop me in my tracks.  I know that I need to be as gentle with them as He has been with me.  There is more work for me to do on this fruit, we are all a work in progress, and I’m no exception but I pray that God will keep a hand over my mouth, that He and He alone will give me the words of gentleness to others, so the glory is His.

How were we before we came to know Jesus?   Were we better or above the people we are struggling to love today?

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” Titus 3:3 ESV

Looking back I was all the things that Paul says.  Weren’t we all?  My heart grieves that I didn’t come to Him sooner!  How I allowed myself to pursue things not of Him!  How much different would my life be, had I only come?  If I had only taken His hand sooner.

 I was no better than those I’m trying to bring to God now, no better.  I knew but didn’t follow.  I knew but didn’t speak.  God was gentle towards me… I must be too.

Jesus was gentle towards us, too.   He showed us mercy, He saved us from our sin.  Did we deserve this?  No, we didn’t.  Did we earn it by our good deeds?  No, we didn’t.

So then, who are we to deny the same gentleness to others!?

When sin shows up in someone’s life we have two ways to respond…1.  We can look down our noses at them, talk about them, shake our heads about them; or 2. We can show mercy.  We shouldn’t be trapped by self-righteousness but sharing the hope Jesus has poured into us.

Jesus walked our earth as the Son of Man, we need to study His actions very carefully to understand how He handled different kinds of people.  Sometimes He would engage and set them straight.  Sometimes He would be gentle, speaking with kindness and love.  His gentle way always touches my heart… for I’m sure there were thoughts of “again?”.  Yet He remained gentle until the end.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”  Colossians 3:12-13 ESV

Gentleness is not a lack of power; it’s power under control.

Are you allowing the grace of God to flow through you to others?

Softly and Tenderly by Will L. Thompson

  1. Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
    Calling for you and for me;
    See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
    Watching for you and for me.

    • Refrain:
      Come home, come home,
      You who are weary, come home;
      Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
      Calling, O sinner, come home!
  2. Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
    Pleading for you and for me?
    Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
    Mercies for you and for me?
  3. Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
    Passing from you and from me;
    Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
    Coming for you and for me.
  4. Oh, for the wonderful love He has promised,
    Promised for you and for me!
    Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
    Pardon for you and for me.

Fruit of the Spirit – Faith

faith

Faith means: 1. adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea; loyal. 2. worthy or trust or belief; reliable. 3. consistent with truth or actuality; a faithful reproduction of the portrait.

Faith is more than just believing.  Faith is trusting with our lives to what we believe.  Faith in God says that we are willing adhere to the His Word for living because we believe He knows what’s best for us.   Faith in God means we are to act consistently in our faith.  Faith in God is surrendering our will for His will for us.   Faith in God means we are willing to endure ridicule and persecution for our faith in Him because we are sure that the Christian life is what’s best for us eternally.

Wow, God sure is asking much from us, isn’t He?  Why should we have faith in Him?

God created everything.  God knows about everything.  God  knew the end before the beginning, before He even began to create. God never changes. God keeps His promises.  God, by His Word, give us a solid foundation to build our lives on.  God’s standards of right and wrong does not change. God is present in all the places at all times.

If God was NOT all these things, we wouldn’t have a reason to faith in Him.

But real faith is still more than that… it’s not just knowing, it’s accepting it as true for You.  Our faith is only as good as in where you place it. We need to make sure our faith is in something that does what it promises to do.  No matter how much trust you have in others, your church, etc., they maybe able to help you in the here and now but they can’t help you afterward.  The only one who can help you is God Himself.  He proved He has the power to give us eternal life because He sent His son to pay for our sins, who conquered death.

God did what He promised He would do when He sent Jesus to pay for our sins.  God can will do what he promised He would do for you ~ give you eternal life if you would only just believe.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 18 ESV “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, …”  that faith is a responsibility.

Faith is not about innocence, but dependence.  Children are dependent upon others with faith that others will care for them and their needs.  That is how we have to have trust and faith in our Jesus.  As Jesus tells us to come to Him as a child, He asks us to be good children.  A good child accepts their responsibility to learn and grow.  As a child of God we must express humbleness and trust so we can grow in our faith.

As we grow in our faith, we should be evaluating ourselves by His standards, not the worlds.  Childlike faith helps us to see who we are in Christ.  We must always humble ourselves, we cannot come to the Lord if we don’t; we will never admit our need, surrender to Him or grow.

Faith is the what we do and what we bring to everything we do in our Christian life.  Faith means trusting, being humble and not forcing our wills on others.  Are we good examples to others, pointing the Way? Or are we causing others to stumble?

Faith is exactly what it takes to get through uncertainty.  Faith is not necessary when you know how things are going to work out, – that’s knowledge.  It’s in the time of unknowing that having faith is what sees you through to the other side.  Faith is what gives you strength.

Faith is that light in your heart that keeps on shining even when it’s all darkness outside. Now is the time to keep that faith alive!

Faith in Christ is not faith, until He’s all you’re holding onto.

Christ is able to hold you forever and never let you go all the way through eternity.

It’s not the strength of our faith that matters but the strength of what we put our faith in.

Do you have faith in Jesus to hold you up forever?

 FORSAKING       ALL     I   TAKE    HIM

FAITH

your love never fails

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlrBZgc60tQ

 

Fruit of the Spirit – Goodness

sharron-postcards-fruit-of-spirit-goodness

Good means 1. of high quality; 2. of somewhat high but not excellent quality.  Goodness means the state of being good.

Goodness is not just being good at something, it’s being like Jesus.  It’s doing things that are morally correct in a genuine way that shows our likeness of Jesus to others, it’s shining the light of God to others.  The Word tells us when we say “I want to be good” you are really saying you want to be like Jesus.

Jesus was goodness, we, as believers, are to walk like He did.  Jesus tell us, ““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12 ESV.   Believing in Jesus, knowing He died for our sins, makes me want to do the good works He did.  I know that He is within via the Holy Spirit, giving me the power to do good.

Luke tells us in 6:45 ESV, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

With the Holy Spirit in our hearts, with the Word of God on our lips we can produce good.  If we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us will can produce good works by teaching and preaching the Word of God, by serving others.

Goodness is very similar to kindness but we put the emphasis on moral values – values that can be seen by others. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we doe not lose heart.  Therefore, we have an opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household faith.” Galatians 6:9-10 ESV.  During this study, this verse stood out to me… “let us know grow weary while doing good”.  There have been days in the very recent past where I have felt at my wit’s end, though I have been praying, it seems that I’m not reaching those who I want to reach with my preaching.  I feel as if for every step forward there is two steps back, yet God’s Word tells me do not grow weary “for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”.  Once again, I will obey knowing that God knows what He’s doing.

Roman 12 ESV teaches us how to conduct ourselves as Christians, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. …”  All of these actions express goodness, they show the character when we are filled with and led by the Holy Spirit.

While kindness is the soft side of good, goodness reflects the character of God.

Goodness in you desires to see goodness in others and is not beyond confronting or even rebuking (as Jesus did with the money changers in the temple) for that to happen.

Being good is living the way God intended us to live.  The Word is clear on what God wants us to do, He created us so He knows what’s best for us.  When we live according to God’s word we are living according to His will.  Living His will we are living a good life.

 Does your life reflect the holiness of God, and do you desire to see others experience God at a deep level in their own lives?

 

 

Fruit of the Spirit – Kindness

Kindness 1

Being kind is not being nice. Actually as I studied on this I was dismayed not to see “nice” in the definition of “kind” So they aren’t the same thing?

Kind means 1. of a good or benevolent nature or disposition; 2. having, showing or proceeding from benevolence; 3. indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane; 4. mild, gentle; 5. loving; affectionate.  Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition, and concern for others.

Nice is 1. pleasing, agreeable; delightful; 2. amiably pleasant; kind; 3. characterized by, showing or requiring great accuracy, precision, skill, tact,care of delicacy; 4. showing or indicating very small differences; minutely accurate.

So what’s the difference between the two?

When you are nice, you are trying to please others so you feel good about you.  When you are nice it’s away to get others to like us.  When you are nice, you bend over backwards to oblige. When you are nice you are might do too much for others, who may take advantage of you or mistreat you.  When you are nice, you are taking care of others hoping that they will, in turn, take care of you.  When you are nice, you are very careful not to rock the boat, not to offend anyone.  When you are nice, you are focusing on being good to others and forgetting that you have needs too.  When you are being nice, you keep your feelings and needs inside, you feel unworthy of them.  When you are nice, there is pain and frustration which grows into anger even though you try to push those feelings down they continue to simmer.

I know a lot about this nice thing…  I know about the frustration, the resentment, the anger.  I know  I repressed feelings that should have been expressed.  I know  I turned to things to comfort me, things to ease the pain of being nice.  I know about the emotional pay-off I was hoping to receive by being nice to others.  I know how I was unwilling to face the hurt or pain when the pay-off didn’t come.  I know how even though I took care of others, no one took care of me.  I know now I never validated myself.

Until that night. That night God took me away from myself.  That night God put me to my knees.

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. …”  Ezekiel 37:1-28 ESV

That night God told me I was more.  ” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”  1 Peter 1:3

God gave me confidence in Him “For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:26

Kindness takes bravery, it’s saying “I am confident and comfortable with myself.”  Yet kindness leaves us vulnerable because kindness is doing what you know to be right and good which might not be what others believe to be true for you.  Kindness leaves you wide open to mockery for your beliefs and who you are becoming.

Kindness means you begin to assert yourself and begin to set limits and boundaries with others.  Kindness means you love yourself and as much as you care about others, you know you deserve to be treated with respect.  Kindness means you begin to take responsibility for your own self-care.

As I began to be happy, I became kind, I didn’t need to please others but to be generous and loving from my heart.  As I became kind, my heart opened more. As I became kind to others, I didn’t try to smooth things over.  As I became kind, I learned to say no when something wasn’t right for me.  As I became kind, I learned not to take the easy route, the path of least resistance.

I learned kindness is genuinely caring for my self and others.  Kindness is wanting the best for myself and others.  I learned kindness takes less effort because I’m no longer thinking about someone “liking” me.

Life is better when you are kind… just saying!

Fruit of the Spirit – Patience

patience

Patience.  I will admit this is not one of my strong points.  For example, I got up this morning all ready to do the Loving Like Jesus Bible Study post for the Gift of the Home on Facebook and nothing…I can’t post at all.  Frustrated?  Yes, that was me!  Continuing to try to post?  Yes, that would be me again!  Private messaging people to see if they were having a problem?  Oh yes!

Patient means being able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people.

You have to admit you have some impatience in you too.   (Truth!)  When everything is going your way, patience is so easy.  The tests come when we don’t get our way. When we don’t get what we want now.  When we get cut off in traffic.  When we have to explain something for the millionth time.  What about the times that are trying to achieve a goal?  Do you have patience then?  Are you willing to go step-by-step, building foundations or do you just rush right on in and expect it all to turn out the way you want?  Have you ever thought that your impatience could hurt you?

Impatience hurts you because you may give up on worthwhile things.  We all have to give up on things once in a while, God usually leads when something isn’t what He wants for you.  People who are impatience tend to give up sooner.  Most things that are worthwhile take long-term work, focused effort and the building of strong foundations.  They require more time and patience; there is no immediate results.  Our impatience makes us miss out on the end result.

Impatience is a focus on instant gratification.  Impatient people get short-term happiness at the expenses of long-term happiness because it takes too long.  Yes, that would be me.  Give me the happy now!  In my heart I know I’m missing out… I’m allowing the frustration of not seeing immediate results hurt me in the long run.  For example, trying to gain weight is something I sporadically work on.  I know that I need to for my health, I know that this weight is no good for me.  I know I should invest the time required and build long-term foundations but yet I don’t.  My impatience gets in the way.  I don’t see the results as quickly as I want to so I give up.

As I’m learning, patience does not develop overnight.  Galatians 6:9 ESV says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”  Our patience is strengthened by resting in God’s perfect will and timing.  “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” Psalm 37:7.  For “the Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” Lamentations 3:25 ESV.

How do we develop this fruit?

First, we thank God for the Word says “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,” 1 Peter 1:6 ESV.  Everything we go through is for a reason.  Though we may not know in that moment we will know in the end.

Second, we seek God’s will for our lives.  God’s purpose is for our growth and His glory.  “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment.” Philippians 1:9 ESV

Third, we remember God’s promise which tells us that “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 ESV

The next time your impatience is showing, how will you respond?  Will you continue to respond with impatience which leads to stress, anger and frustration?  Or will you release your natural response because you are a new creation In Christ?  Will you use the Lord’s strength to respond with patience and a complete trust in God’s power and purpose?

“To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;” Romans 2:7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit of the Spirit – Peace

peace

Worrying, feeling uneasy or troubled, seems to be the norm in our world today.  It’s human nature to be concerned about bad situations in the world and our lives.  Worrying is always there but it never gets you anywhere.  So why do we still worry about everything?  Why can we not feel the peace that God wants to give us?

Worry is the opposite of faith.  When we worry about things, we are telling God that we don’t trust Him in our lives.  It’s saying that we can do a better job of taking care of things, figuring everything out.  Worrying makes us less aware of God being with us, because we are casting Him aside.  We don’t feel God because we aren’t looking for Him, yet He is with us waiting.

So are you fed up with being miserable yet?

I was!  I was tired of trying to make everything work out on my own…as it fell apart around me showing me, no, I wasn’t doing a better job than God.  I was done… done with trying, done with failing and done trying to be my own boss.  I was my own worst enemy.

So what is peace?  Peace is: 1. freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility: 2. mental calm; serenity.  Who wouldn’t want that?  How can we have this peace?

Peter says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV

We must  ask Christ to cleanse us of all our sin and make us new creations in Him, we are asking for peace, for a harmonious relationship with God.  “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.  The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV

He tells us to tell God what we are worrying about, putting all your anxiety on Him because He loves you. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV

We must take our focus off our problems, our troubles and put our focus on Jesus.  “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5 ESV

We must believe in God’s promises to us.  “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”  Isaiah 26:3 ESV

We must obey the Word as Jesus tells us “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

If you pray for peace, God will help you find it. It could be as simple as accepting your situation in life or knowing that “everything will be okay.”  God promises that it will be, maybe not today or tomorrow but you are not alone in life.

Peace means that you are able to cope with the life you have been given and be satisfied with it.

We can’t have peace without Jesus and the world will not know peace without God. 

download

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYkq2uhspVw