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Fruit of the Spirit

Fruit of the Spirit

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Faithfulness,

            Gentleness, Meekness, Self-Control

Galatians 5: 22, 23

by Joyce Webb    2010

A "fruit" of the spirit is Paul’s way of making a picture for your mind about the way the Holy Spirit works in our lives. When we have the Holy Spirit working in our spirit and personality----we change and become more like God.

Love:

True love is a gift from God. God is the beginning of love. God’s love in us and through us is true love.

As people, we love, but often our love is self-centered. We love so we will be loved in return. We show love so people will show love to us. We love those who are able to love us back or are willing to love us back.

Most of the time we do not love those who hate us. Most of the time we do not love those who ignore us or refuse to love us back. We do not love those who are mean to us and act badly to us.

God’s love is pure. He does not love for selfish reasons. He does not love just to get back love. God loves. That is who and what He is.

God does want us to love Him back, but he does not keep back His love because we do not love Him.

God does show more favor to those who love Him and obey Him.

To those who belong to God’s family by following Jesus, they have more favor because they are part of God’s family.

Just like children have privileges in their family. Your sons and daughters have privileges in your house because they are part of your family. If the neighbor’s children come over----they do not have the same privileges. They are not allowed to go to your refrigerator or cupboards and help themselves. They are not allowed to use things and go into the bedrooms and drawers. And you do not have to take care of them and do things for them. They are not your children. You may be polite and kind---but your responsibility to them is limited.

God shows favor to people who do not belong to Him. The Bible says that God sends the sun and rain on the just (righteous) and the unjust (not righteous)." Matthew 5: 45

People who are believers and follow Jesus’ teachings are part of God’s family. God takes special care of them because they belong to Him.

Parents love their children---even if their children go off and ignore them and do not seem to care….the parents still love them.

God is a Father and He loves people even when they do not care.

Parents are hurt if their children do not love them back. God is hurt if we do not love Him back. Sometimes, a parent will give up on a child who will not love them back. God’s love is very patient. The Bible says "long-suffering"----it means to suffer long with someone.

Long-suffering (patience) is also a "fruit" of the spirit.

The Holy Spirit comes into us when we receive Jesus as Savior. The Holy Spirit helps us to love others. The Holy Spirit speaks to us and helps us in our minds to think about that person in a different way so that we can be more loving to them.

The Holy Spirit helps us see the person as God sees them so we can show them love.

When we see people with our own thinking----we often see their faults and weakness-----we remember the things they did that we did not like. The Holy Spirit helps us see that person as God sees them. God knows their faults, too. God knows what they did. God still loves them.

The Holy Spirit helps us to have the God’s kind of love and patience with them.

Some people are hard to like. But we can still be kind to them and treat them with love. Even if you do not like someone ---you can act in a loving way.

Showing God’s love to some people is not easy. We must really want to obey God and have His Spirit flow through us. We need to keep trying to be loving. As time goes on, we will find it easier.

One of the things that proves that we are a Christian is that we have love to one another.

John 13:35

The "fruit" of love, the Holy Spirit will grow in our life.

Joy:

Some would say that "joy" and "happy" are the same. In some ways they are alike. I would say "joy" is a deeper feeling that may be connected to "peace".

"Happiness" can be what we feel when things around us are the way we like them. Often our happiness depends on what is happening in our lives. If things are not going the way we like, we are not happy.

"Joy" may be a deeper feeling. When our spirits are right with God, we have a feeling of joy deep inside. Sometimes things around us are not going so well, but the joy we have down deep is of God. We feel peace and at rest and joy. There is a knowing of "everything is ok" because God is in control of our lives.

When our sins are forgiven and when we know our spirits are right with God we have a feeling of "rightness" and rest.

When we know that God is in control of the things that come to us in our everyday living---we have a feeling of being satisfied and calm.

Knowing that if we were to die, we would be with Jesus, gives us joy and peace.

As Americans we talk a lot about happiness and fun. We hear words like, "As long as you had fun." or " I had a lot of fun." "It will be fun." "Did you have fun?"

Even in our laws from the beginning of our country we have the words the right to "the pursuit of happiness". We have a right to try to have happiness. As Americans we feel we have a right to be happy.

Happy is something that we think we should have.

Happy may be something we expect as Americans, but it is not something that is a promise in the Bible. The Bible does not promise we will be happy.

The Bible does not promise that the things in your life will make you happy.

God does promise to those who follow Him, that He will be with them until the end of the world. That means, that whatever comes into your life, God will be with you to help you through it.

God does not promise to His children that they will have an easy way, or a way with no pain, or a way with no trouble.

He does promise to walk with them through it all.

Because He is with us, we have joy. We may not be happy with things around us, but down deep we have joy because of His Spirit in us.

We have the idea that if we serve a God that has all power----that He should make things in our life nice. If He has all power, why does He let us have so much trouble?

The main reason trouble is with us is because this world is full of people who sin and make bad choices. These sins and choices also spill over into our lives and we suffer because of their choices.

Could God stop all of that? Yes. Why does God let all the bad things happen in the world? He could stop it.

For God to stop all the bad things in the world, He would have to stop people from making choices. God would have to make all people love Him and they would have to obey Him and they would have no choice but to obey Him.

God could have made people like that. But He chose to give man a choice to obey or not. When they chose to not obey---sin happens. Adam and Eve had a choice about eating from a tree or obeying God. They chose to ignore God and do what they wanted. Then, Adam and Eve’s first son, Cain, made a choice not to obey God. He became angry and jealous of his brother, Abel, and he killed him.

Bad choices bring bad things to people who do no wrong. Abel did nothing wrong. He obeyed God and did everything right. He was murdered. He suffered wrong because of his brother’s sin and wrong choice.

People around the world suffer because of someone’s sin and bad choice. The only way to remove all the bad things is to stop the choices.

Because of the bad choices and sin in the world, God does not promise the "righteous" people no problems. Abel had a problem---Cain’s choice.

Why did God not stop Cain even if he made a bad choice? Here is another question----why didn’t God stop the "result" of Adam and Eve when they made a bad choice? God said they would die if they made the choice to eat the fruit. God keeps His word. To die was the result of eating from the tree. If you do not want to die, do not eat from the tree.

God lets us make a choice and with the choice something happens.

God does not let us make a choice and then change what is the result of that choice. If you eat the fruit--you die. God will keep His word. He will not change His mind and not do it.

If you choose to sin and do bad things----pain, trouble, death will follow. God does not run around changing the end of that choice.

If people want a different end---they must make a different choice.

Those who obey God have the sorrow of suffering because of other people’s sins. But before we begin to feel too "righteous", we need to remember that before we started obeying God and living right---we hurt a lot of people with our sin and bad choices. And even as Christians, we still sometimes sin and make bad choices that hurt others.

God does not go around the world "erasing" everyone’s wrong. He does call to us to follow Him and learn to obey the Holy Spirit so we make good choices to begin with.

Things around us may not be things that make us happy.

But being "happy" is often a choice. When we have the joy that comes from knowing God, we tell ourselves, "I will be content." I will look for the good." "I will not complain and be thinking about all the bad things."

If we can not change the things that make us unhappy, then we need to ask God to help us with our attitudes, and feelings.

Our joy depends on our relationship with God. The closer we are to God the more joy we have. God is peace and joy and goodness. The closer we are to Him, the more peace, and joy we will have.

If we find ourselves losing our joy----we need to look at where we are with God. Have we been getting farther away from God? Have we been praying less, reading the Bible less? Have we let anger, or disappointment come into our spirit? Have we been unforgiving to someone? Have we let ourselves get into complaining and being in a bad mood about things?

God is all things good. The more we are like Him, the closer to the goodness and joy we are----and the more joy we will have in our life. 

Peace:

Peace begins with forgiveness of sin. Without forgiveness we will not have peace.

Forgiveness comes when we are willing to admit and confess that we are sinners. We confess to Jesus that we have sinned against Him. We ask Him to forgive us.

We surrender our will to Him. We say that He will be the Lord of our life. We give up the right to run our own life and we tell Jesus that He can run our life for us.

Many people are willing to have their sins forgiven, but they do not want a "Lord" over their life. They want to run their own life.

The problem with running your own life in that we are selfish and we think of what we want and soon we are sinning. So we are back to sin.

Our nature is so weak to sin, that we cannot live without sinning unless we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us. Jesus/God/Holy Spirit must help us stay strong and on the right path.

We need Jesus to be the Lord of our life so we can stay away from sin.

We also need Jesus to be the Lord of our life to show us what decisions to make in life. We can not see the future. We do not know what is best for us. We can only see one part of something, God sees the whole big picture of parts we can not know.

The Holy Spirit will lead us and help us in making good decisions in life. At first, we may think "This is not what I want." Later, we will see that it was a wise and good thing.

Peace comes from knowing we are right with God. Peace also comes from knowing that God is leading our life. Peace comes from believing that God sees all the things that come into our life and He will take care of us.

This is a peace that God gives. The world does not give this kind of peace. And the world can not take away the peace that God gives.

We may surrender this peace because we let in worry and do not obey God, but the world can not come in and take away our peace.

There are stories of people who have been put into prisons and work camps in other countries because they believed in Jesus. These places were awful and the people were beaten, had little to eat. They were made to work hard for hours----yet deep inside these people had peace----because they knew they were faithful to God and His spirit was still with them.

John 14: 27 Luke 2: 14

Peace is something people want more than almost anything.

A family will argue and yell and fight. People want peace in their homes.

At work people are jealous, and mean, talk about us, make fun of us, try to do better than us----we want more peace at work.

When we watch the news, we hear about all the terrible things that are happening. People want peace in the world.

Sin brings pain, trouble, fighting, etc.-----sin does not bring peace.

The heart of sin is selfishness. Me, first. It is about what I want.

Everyone wants themselves to be first. That will never bring peace.

Someday when Jesus returns to earth as king, He will rule the whole world and there will be peace on earth.

Until then, the peace that God gives is peace in our hearts, minds, and spirits. That peace depends on our relationship to God.

We can give up our peace by letting in sin, worry, and disobedience.

Keeping our relationship with God open and clean will give us peace.

Choose peace.

Long-suffering (patience):

Patience that is willing to suffer long with someone.

The Bible tells us in many places that God is that way with us. He suffers long waiting for us and is patient with us about our sins, our attitudes, our wanting our own way, etc.

God tries over and over again to get our attention, to get us to change, to get us to come to Him for help, etc.

Our human nature is not good at having patience with people. Some people are more patient than others, but most of us are short on patience. We want things done now, we want people to change now.

When we let the Holy Spirit work in our lives, He helps us have more patience. When we have more love, we can be more patient. When we have our own peace, we can have more patience.

We all are thankful when people are patient with us. Let us remember that when we are dealing with other people. We all have our short-comings and faults and weaknesses---we want people to be patient with us about those things, so we need to be patient with others. God is patient with us. 

Gentleness:

Gentleness is not weakness. It is the opposite of weakness.

Example: If you are holding something heavy and you want to set it down. If you are weak, you will set it down fast with a thump. If you are strong, you can set it down slowly, carefully, gently.

Gentle means strong, and with control. A ballet dancer can go up in the air and go down to the floor moving smooth and very slow. The reason is because of having powerful muscles. Ballet dancers must practice and exercise for hours. Their muscles are very strong. Control makes their dances look smooth and easy. Much work and control came first before the smooth easy look.

People who are gentle with other people, are people who have learned to be kind, patient, and to go slow and careful.

People who are rough and tough----have not learned to control themselves. Maybe that is the way people have been to them, and they have not learned to be different.

Everyone is thankful for someone to be gentle with them. Gentle can be firm and strong. Gentle does not mean that you give in to the other person, Gentle does not mean that you let them push you around. Gentle does not mean that you do not say anything.

Gentle is how to say it. Gentle is how to go about dealing with someone. You are kind. You say things carefully. You are polite and show respect.

Parents have the responsibility to make their children obey them. Still they can do it in a gentle manner. Being firm and strong, yet being kind and showing respect.

Parents should never call their children bad or insulting names, or swear at them. That kind of thing will not show respect for the child and the child will copy the parent in talking to others. If parents call him names and swear at him, he will think it is okay to do it to others.

No one wants someone to call him names or to swear at them. It does not show respect. It does not help in any way.

Give yourself time to think about what you will say and how you will say it. If you are angry, do not say anything right away. Give yourself a minute or two to think of the best way to say something. You can tell someone that you are angry or upset with gentle words and get your idea across----you do not need mean, nasty, ugly words to tell them how you feel.

If your words are gentle and controlled, you will have better relationships with people. Everyone appreciates being spoken to with respect and gentle words.

The things you do should be with gentleness. Do not be mean, selfish, or bossy, or pushy. Show respect.

Goodness:

Goodness is something we do not have in our own natures. Even as very young children we show our true natures----self----me---it is all about me. "I want it." "It is mine." "Give it to me." The word "no" is a word we learn early not to like.

We want our own way. We do not want anyone telling us what to do.

We have those feelings our whole life. It never goes away.

We learn to control those feelings. We learn to give up our will and do someone else’s will. But deep inside we always fight the idea of someone telling us what to do, or doing what someone else wants instead of what we want.

When times of disaster happens like earthquakes, floods, etc. and people are left without police or government to make them keep the laws,---you see people stealing from other people, hurting other people, etc..

When New Orleans had that big hurricane that upset the whole city. People were taken to a big auditorium for a safe place from the storm. There were thousands of people in that big room.

People told how their things were stolen. They told how some men formed gangs and hurt people, even raped women.

Many years ago, when the gold rush happened, many men went out West and lived in mining camps. How did these men live? They had been family men back home in the east. They had been loving, kind, taken care of their families, etc. Now they were out West, no law, no police, every one did as they wanted. The men drank, got into fights, killed each other, stole things, etc. These men had not acted like this back east.

There were dozens of mining camps---and the men all acted in the same bad ways. Where was all the "goodness" that was down inside of them?

I taught school for many years. I know from experience if you leave a room full of children without the teacher, for even a few minutes, the children will be doing all kinds of bad things.

It seems that when people are left to themselves----with no law to make them do right--- they fall to doing very bad things. If people were really "good" inside, their good would be coming out. That does not happen, instead we see the bad.

In the people who run the government, we see how so many give in to accepting money so they can be in office, they give in to having sexual affairs, they cheat and lie. If people were "good" inside, why doesn’t their good side come out?

Being "good" does not seem to happen naturally. It takes work to be good. Being bad is easy, You do not have to try----bad just happens.

Do you have to teach a child to be bad? Never.

It seems very clear that we are really "bad" inside, not "good".

The Bible says that we are "bad" inside. The Bible says that "none does good." "all of our goodness is as a dirty rag". Isaiah 64:6,7 Romans 3:23 Romans 3; 10-12 Psalms 14: 1-4

Since Adam disobeyed---sin came into the world----every person since Adam and Eve have sinned and done wrong. We have all needed someone to save us from our sin.

Goodness comes from God. As we learn from God, we become good. We have to choose to be good. It will never come "natural". And all of our lives, God’s spirit will have to help us be good.

The more we learn to let the Holy Spirit control us the easier it is to be good.

Goodness is righteousness. It happens because of our relationship with God. Jesus is our righteousness. The more Jesus controls us, the more good we are.

Faith:

Of all the "fruits" of the spirit, this one is so important----the other "fruits" rest on this one. Faith is the only way any of the others can happen. Faith is the only way our relationship with God can happen.

Faith is the door that opens the way to all the other things.

Sometimes our faith is strong and comes easy, sometimes our faith is very small and is so hard to have faith. Some things seem easy to believe God to take care of, other things it seems we can not believe for them.

So many things in the world seem to come against our having faith. Americans are proud of being independent. We want to take care of things our self. We do not want to depend on anyone.

That is okay for us to want to be grown-up and be a responsible person. Yet God wants us to depend on Him. Still we try to live our life independent of God. We can be a responsible, independent person and still depend on God.

Having faith means we look to God for things that are beyond what we can understand, beyond what we can control or make happen.

When things happen that we can not understand, our faith in God believes that He knows and He cares and in the end it will be okay.

When things are beyond what we can control or make happen, we believe God will see our problem and help us by changing things, or by giving us strength to get through it.

When we pray for something for a long time and God does not give that thing or make it happen----it is hard to keep having faith. Sometimes we begin to think that God just does not want us to have it. Sometimes, we know that the thing we ask is in God’s will----yet it still does not happen.

It is hard to have an answer for this. There are all kinds of books on prayer and how to get your prayers answered. There are many verses in the Bible that tell us to ask and God will answer and give us what we ask for.

Anyone who has walked with God for awhile---- knows that they have prayed for things that have not happened. And there seems to be no answer or reason why.

I do not know the answer. I do know that the most important thing is my relationship with God. I know that if I want to be in heaven forever, I must keep faith in God and obey Him. If God does not answer some of my prayers, then I will have to wait until heaven to ask Him why.

It could be easy to get upset with God. It could be easy to become discouraged and think God is not listening, or does not care, or does not like me or is holding out on me for some reason----a reason that I cannot seem to understand.

I do not know what to do except keeping on asking, and waiting.

Keeping faith in God as my Savior, Lord, Keeper, Father, Friend is more important than the answer to a certain prayer. Whatever the reason is that the answer does not come----it will have to be surrendered to God----and some day He will explain.

Many people have prayed for one of their family be saved and come to ask Jesus to be their Savior----yet that person praying died and their prayer was never answered.

Praying for someone’s salvation is in the will of God.

Yet that person must choose for himself to ask God for salvation. That person’s will and choice must say yes. God does not force people.

God calls and lets things happen to get that person’s attention, but that person has to say "yes".

Some times these people finally say "yes" to salvation, but they did not do it while the person who was praying for them was still living. So God did answer the prayer----it took time----God had to wait for that person’s "yes" before the prayer was answered.

If you are praying for something that needs to happen while you are living----or there will be no need for it----and God does not answer----I do not know what to say. Maybe God does not want you to have it, because He knows it is not the best for you. Maybe it still is not the time.

Nothing we want for use in this world is worth getting mad at God about. Nothing we could have, nothing to be enjoyed, nothing is worth more than your faith in God and your relationship to him.

Be willing to give up any prayer or request------if you would choose having that thing more than continuing your relationship with God-----then it has become more important than God to you.

Not healing for yourself or a family member----not healing of a friend----nothing should be more important than God to us.

God is our only salvation forever. Our forever is the most important. Other people’s "forever" is the next most important.

Let nothing take away your faith in God.

Meekness:

Another word for meekness would be humble. Meek not does mean weak.

Sometimes we think of meek as someone who lets other people treat them without respect. Sometimes we use the saying: "They let people walk over them." Meaning they do not speak up for themselves.

That is not the true meaning of meek. Humble would be a true meaning of meek. Humble means not too proud. Proud enough to have respect for themselves, but not so proud as to think they are above, or better other people.

A humble person who is a leader of others, needs to have respect for themselves, and believe they have the authority to lead----but not be proud to think they are better than other people.

They may have more authority than other people, they may have been given more power by others to lead, but in themselves, they do not feel they are better and above other people.

Meek people are willing to learn and be taught. They do not think they know it all. They are willing to listen and consider and think about what others say.

When they are insulted, they do not get angry and try to pay someone back.

Meek people do not feel that they are too good to do "lower" kinds of jobs. Example: A leader who is willing to help out, if needed, to sweep the floor, clean up, etc. He does not think he is too good or too high and important to do such a thing.

A Christian is meek because he knows he is just a sinner saved by God’s forgiveness and grace. He was like everyone else out in the world.

Only God’s grace and power has made him any different or any better. If he did not have God’s spirit working in his life----he would be just like that person out in the world.

Christians can not go around feeling "better" than people out in the world. The only thing that makes a Christian "better" is not anything he did. It is only what Jesus has done in him that has made the difference.

Temperance (Self-control):

Self-control----something that we must learn through our whole life.

It is something we never come to the end of learning, or to the end of having to think about, or to the end of having to keep practicing.

It will be with us always. We started learning it as a baby and soon as we began to crawl.

Some of us have been more willing to learn it-----others have refused to learn it. Some of us have learned self-control in some areas and we do very well, but in other areas we have very little self-control.

Temperance is often used when talking about drinking alcohol. It means self-control in drinking. Having one drink, but not drinking too much.

Some believe it is better to never take a drink.

Drinking one drink often leads to drinking more. It is like eating peanuts, or potato chips---it is hard to eat just one.

Peanuts and potato chips can give you a tummy ache or make you fat.

But drinking can make more problems for everyone. Drinking can become a stronghold in your life. Drinking can destroy you, your family, your job, your money----on and on.

I would say do not take the first drink. The most important is----be in control---do not drink enough that you are not in control of your thinking.

If that is one drink---then be in control and only drink one.

Our spirits and our minds are almost the same thing----not exactly----but close. Our minds have control over our spirits, and our spirits also control our minds. Drink that changes your brain makes you not be in control of your mind and will------your spirit is controlled by your will. So now your spirit is under the power of the drink. This is not good.

Your spirit should always be under a clear thinking mind.

Allowing your mind to come under the power of drink, a drug, or a person----is dangerous.

You are to be charge and control of your mind at all times. Do not allow a thing or a person to control it.

The only "person" you should yield or give your mind to is the Holy Spirit or God.

Some people practice the occult----getting in touch with spirits through cards, the stars, saying words over and over, going into a trance, worshipping spirits, meditation of Eastern religions.

They open their minds up to other spirits to control them.

Do not do this. The Holy Spirit is the only spirit we should yield to.

The Holy Spirit is the only spirit to be trusted. The Holy Spirit will control only as we decide to allow Him to do so. He will not force His control on us or over us. At all times, our will and our choice gives Him permission to come and help us and control us or not. At any minute, we can take back the control and say no----and go our own way.

When people get into the occult and other spirits----it is very different. Those spirits (evil spirits) come in when given an open door, and they do control the person. They do not ask. That person soon loses control. They find that the evil spirit is controlling them.

There is only the Holy Spirit/God which is good and other spirits which are evil spirits.

Drinking, using drugs, smoking drugs, is a dangerous thing. All of those things have power over your mind-----and that has influence and power over your spirit.

The Holy Spirit wants you to have a clear mind so that you can decide what happens to your spirit.

_______________________

Our goal is to have the Holy Spirit grow good "fruit" in our lives. These "fruits" are the same things that are in God. We want to become more and more like God.

 

 

 

 

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