You all know of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. Applying these things to your life means that you are trusting in the Spirit before anyone or anything else.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Briefly, I’m going to go through each fruit of the Spirit. Starting, naturally, with the first.
Love is probably widely believed to be the easiest, but really to love how God wants us to is much harder than it seems. Outside of loving God, love is also treating others the way you want to be treated:
‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.'” Leviticus 19:18
That verse is really powerful as its talking about neighbor as your self loving which I find very difficult. Jesus also talks about loving your enemies, which is really crushing at times. Most important, though, is loving God. The verse below is repeated throughout the old and new testament, for good reason:
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5
Joy is being happy with everything that happens, and it can often be more difficult than anything else.
On the following day he sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the Lord had done for his servant David and his people Israel.” 1 Kings 8:66
This verse explains that the people of Israel were happy with what good things God had done for their nation. And for us this means that you must always be joyful–even if something horrible happens.
Peace (also called forbearance) can be a lot of things, from being content to being a moderator between family or friends. Peace can be compared to love, because love is often required. With it, you can be the bridge between a friend and his enemy, or even two friends. Peace is incredibly important to our faith, because if you’re violent then nobody will listen to your testimony.
Patience, this could possibly be called the easiest fruit to grow in your heart. Patience can be waiting and not complaining or…
…in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…” 2 Corinthians 6:5-7
… a weapon. Yup, I said it. A weapon. In fact, all the fruits of the Spirit are weapons (I’ll talk about this further in another post).
Kindness is mentioned in that last verse, saying it too was a weapon, but it focuses on reaching out to people.
Goodness is incredibly crucial; it is our purity, righteousness, and obedience to God. Having goodness means that we strive to walk with God in everything.
Faithfulness could possibly be the most important fruit of all.
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”” Exodus 34:6
This verse talks about how God is eternally faithful to us and how because of his faithfulness, we need to return it. Faithfulness basically means devotion, which means that God is devoted to us.
Gentleness, I always think of whales when I hear the word gentleness because they’re so gentle (except maybe Killer Whales). Gentleness basically means hugs and pillows, but that doesn’t mean you go around giving hugs and pillows.
Last but definitely not least is self-control. This is important because, without it, we won’t have the will to strive for any of the other fruits of the Spirit.
It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…” Titus 2:12
Paul tells us specifically that the only way to live a successful life is to be self-controlled.
The fruits of the Spirit may appear to only be contained in a few verses of Galatians, but, in reality, are important and powerful qualities found in places all over the bible, and to be applied all over our lives. Over the next nine weeks, I’ll be getting into detail for each fruit in a new series called “Fruity Spirit”.
Whether you’re the skin-and-bones gamer who spends his Saturdays captivated by the latest, or the person who spends their day at the gym, or maybe a strange mix of both, we all have at least a little strength. But all that doesn’t even compare to God’s unlimited strength. God also has unlimited love, and so he’ll use his strength to help us out. Plus, all he asks for is us giving him glory (see Glory to the Lord Most High) by accepting and living for him.
The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15:2
The Lord is omnipotent (all powerful) and will protect us with his strength and love. The Lord gives us strength so that we can thrive in Him.
David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6
I want to keep Geeks on Faith posts like this simple, short, and made just to remind of you of the important things we all need to remember. I hope you walk away today trusting God to give you the strength to get through whatever you are going through. The Lord has more strength and love than there is in the entire world, and he is fully willing to help you with it.
It’s something we all hope for, we all seek, and something that is dangerous to bring upon ourselves. You guessed it–glory. (But you probably only got it because it’s in the title). Though it is an everlasting want, all that “glory” is what man thinks of you, not God. Yes, pride often springs up when Christians take the kingdom’s victories as their own, and for their own glory. God gains glory through us in all kinds of ways, though, like such victories. Perhaps by doing miracles and showing people that he is real, like healing people from a disease or suddenly stopping a forest fire for example. Or, perhaps, crashing an entire sea on top of an incoming Egyptian army, maybe?
“And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.” Exodus 14:4
Miracles are a tool God uses to show his might and power. They also may help us to show people his light. Outside of miracles, God can also show his glory in us. We must give glory to God by answering his call. When we do this, we can bring him the glory of our success. God does great things in our lives for a number of reasons: to guide others, to save the unreached, or to bless his followers–but all of these things may bring him glory.
The jaws of sin (see Jaws) eat away at our faith and keep us from giving glory to God. So when we get too involved in our sin and in our own glory then we can’s serve God’s purpose and give him the glory.
When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 7:3
The glory of God will fill our lives when we worship God, serve God, and put him first. Everything we do should be for his glory. All the things in our lives we have to do and remember to be truly “pious” Christians are really for this single purpose.
Due to God’s unfailing love we are totally in his debt, but because of that love, all that he asks for is the glory of answering his call.
I don’t know about you, but while I always liked learning, I never did like helping other people to learn. Believe it or not, we are called to do just that.
Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform.” Exodus 18:20
Even more than bringing people to Christ, we have to help people understand the truth about Christ. Without a firm foundation in their faith, without the understanding of the concepts they are believing in, how can they ever stand up to the world? Or stand up to themselves? Without the proper support, encouragement, and teaching, people cannot grow in Christ, new believer or not.
‘As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.'” Matthew 13:4-7
This parable is the perfect example of how we are to bring the gospel. We aren’t supposed to just tell people about the gospel. We need to teach the gospel! In order for people to be solid Christians, they must have a solid root in the message of the kingdom. Jesus then explains the parable:
‘When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.'” Matthew 13:19-21
We are called to help people to have solid root in Christ, firm understanding, and a true relationship which guides them as they listen on a personal level to the Holy Spirit, living their lives for Christ, and seeking the Lord. Don’t just tell it–teach it.
If there is any message that gets preached way too much it is the stereotyped God-loves-you-and-has-a-plan-for-you message, referencing Jeremiah 29:11. But God is way more complicated than we can imagine and surprisingly enough there is much more to him. This week, our Geeks on Faith posts will be all about the often forgotten characteristics of God, starting today with God being jealous of you and me.
We usually wouldn’t think about something like this. The very Lord of All and King of Kings gets jealous over me? Oddly enough, yes.
Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14
God is described as to have the very name of “Jealous”. It makes sense when you think about it: with love comes jealousy. We should all know that God loves us unfailingly and unconditionally, and with that he is jealous when we don’t give him any of our time or devotion.
The first thing I think of when it comes to jealousy is a ridiculous social drama all the way from 7th grade. What unsettled me most behind that stage was a girl who would simply not lay off me. She didn’t really talk to me or send me desperate love notes, she would simply stare at me. This girl, constantly, would follow me and stare at me and stalk me; she was obsessed with me. It got to the point where all my friends wanted to help, so we huddled up and came up with a plan–the kind of plan only middle school students could. Our plan was to make the girl who was so obsessed with me think that I was unavailable (Yes, at that time I understood very little about girls…even less than now.) Of course, I wasn’t actually dating the girl I wanted to yet, and she didn’t go to the school. Alternatively, we thought of the bright idea to ‘decoy’ the stalker. So, I pretended that I had a girlfriend who wasn’t really my girlfriend. It seemed to work for about the first five minutes and then it was clear it wasn’t solving the problem. But, like any good social drama, it came down to the show’s closing party. It all ended when the obsessive girl was found crying in the bathroom. Though that wasn’t even the real end to it all, I learned a lot about how not to handle a girl, and it eventually occurred to me that the girl who had stalked me had only been made more jealous.
God’s jealousy is a little different. He isn’t jealous over our spouses or girlfriends or boyfriends, and he doesn’t exactly stalk us either, but he does want us to spend time with him and to be devoted to him. He wants us to love him as he loves us. The Lord Almighty wants you to care about him and live your life for his glory and purpose.