“By contrast the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control. There is no law against such things.” Galatians 5:22-23
This summer our worship is going to focus on the fruit of the Spirit as listed by Paul in Galatians.
Can you think of someone in your life who exemplifies love joy, peace, patience, or kindness?
Can you picture a person who embodies each of the fruit of the spirit?
How do you feel about people whose lives bear clear testimony to the fruit of the Spirit?
We tend to be drawn to them, don’t we?
As you look at the nine fruit of the Spirit listed above, which ones would you say are most evident in your life?
Which ones need more attention?
What will you do about that?
In Galatians, Paul contrasts “the flesh” which refers to our self-centered human nature with “the Spirit.” Paul says the fruit of the Spirit is Love. In many ways, all the fruit of the Spirit are different manifestations of love. Love wills the good of someone else and seeks to serve others.
Jesus speaks of Joy in John 15:11, 16, where he says to his disciples,“
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
Peace is both a gift of God and a fruit of the Spirit for us to cultivate. Once we have received the peace of Christ, we are charged with living in peace and making peace.
The Hebrew and Greek words for “peace” are “shalom” and “eirene.” These words are active, positive words, communicating much of what we desire in life: health, security, long life, harmonious relationships with other people, and blessing.
The gifts of God’s Spirit of Love, Joy, and Peace enable us to grow in Patience, Kindness, and Goodness.
As we seek to develop patience in our life, perhaps it helps to remember how patient and gracious God has been with us. Patience and kindness are next to each other in the fruit of the spirit and that they often go together in many other passages (see 2 Cor. 6:6, Col. 3:12) and 1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind.” People who embody patience and kindness tend to be good to others.
The final three fruit of the Spirit are Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. All three are aspects of self-mastery or self-leadership.
Faithfulness is keeping our promises and responsibilities. One of the major ways faith is displayed in the New Testament is through a developing transformation of our character and personality as we grow in Christian virtue. Faithfulness is a quality that is always in demand, especially in challenging times.
On July 4th, we celebrate Independence Day. David McCullough in his book, John Adams, writes of the difficult summer of 1776, “Little that had happened through the summer had distressed Adams quite so much as the behavior of American troops, and especially reports that Massachusetts men had ‘behaved ill.’ ‘Unfaithfulness’ was something he could not abide, and in his spells of gloom he pondered whether the fault was in the times.
John wrote to Abigail, “Unfaithfulness in public stations is deeply criminal. But there is no encouragement to be faithful. Neither profit, nor honor, nor applause is acquired by faithfulness…There is too much corruption, even in this infant age of our Republic. Virtue is not in fashion. Vice is not infamous.” One day, as he and Benjamin Rush sat together in Congress, Rush asked Adams in a whisper if he thought America would succeed in the struggle. “Yes,” Adams replied, “if we fear God and repent our sins.”
We can ponder how our own lives and how our culture and times might be different if millions of Christians sought to be led by the Spirit and to produce with God’s power a bumper crop of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
May God grant that as a body of believers we will experience such fruit in abundance.
Worship in July
- 7/7 What’s the most important thing about being a Christian?1 Corinthians 13.1-8a
- 7/14 You Can Choose Joy Proverbs 15.13, 17,22; John 15:11, 16:22-24, 17:13
- 7/21 7.21.19 Finding Peace that Conquers Troubles and Fears John 14.27
- 7/28 7.28.19 Learning to Be Patient Colossians 1:9-12