Take a look at some challenges and consequences of those famous fruits of the Bible, listed in Galatians 5.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness -- sounds very passive, very submissive to the noise and misbehavior of the people in the world. Does it mean we are to exhibit these traits so that the world will notice how agreeable we try to be, but how weak we really are?
How do we view the “fruits of the Spirit”? Have we missed some important aspects from the list in Galatians?
LOVE confronts. Love does speak up about what is unacceptable and immoral and bad and evil. If I am silent then those who are lost in sin think they are getting by and the future will be theirs by force, by overtaking the public opinion, or by clever persistence.
JOY clarifies. This is why I have a happy outlook. It might be a verbal communication with someone, but more likely an inner trust in God that in His timing we will be taken to His presence, to live in an astounding new world of Eternity, to know and appreciate Him as never we could do before.
PEACE comforts the questioning soul. Why are things out there so bad? How can these people do so wrong? The believer’s peace holds our hearts close to the Prince of Peace.
PATIENCE demonstrates a strong belief in God. No, I cannot fix the world, but God has a message and a time. In His time those who believe and teach a lie will be shown to be wrong.
KINDNESS reveals how far God has brought us in this giant conflict of good and evil. It is an inner measure of prayer. We pray for those who are disobedient, misguided, angry, or confused. It is a kindness to bring their names to Him, asking for His Holy Spirit to bring them to a place of conviction so they will repent and turn to Him.
GOODNESS takes courage, and reminds us that we can’t get by with an easy, normal response to life’s troubles. It is God’s mercy and goodness that makes salvation possible for us and for everyone who asks for forgiveness.
FAITHFULNESS shows our standing with God. His Holy Spirit empowers us to do what pleases Him. The example of Jesus is faithfulness to God, but facing the extreme torture to come, He did declare, “If it be possible let this cup be taken away,” but He added, “Not my will, but Yours be done!” Faithfulness means obedience.
GENTLENESS is a measure of peace that is satisfied with God’s leading. We can trust that the difficulties of the path we are on are not there as a punishment to us, but as a training which actually strengthens us for the days ahead. Our prayers to the Father enable us to accept His love and His will.
SELF-CONTROL is a strength of anticipation that reaches out to God. “Father, this is not too hard for You, and You know all about it. You energize me to go beyond coping, clear to conquering. The words I will speak out for others to hear will be Your words of victory.”
These are qualities that I claim from the powerful Holy Spirit. I speak up with eagerness in prayer, accepting with immense gratitude the completeness that God, Almighty Creator of the vast Universes, and Maker of Me offers to me.
Read Ephesians 6:10-17 to see how it explains how to be tough; I need truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. That armor of God is not simply a cute, ruffled apron or a business suit suitable for picture-taking. God does not want me to be a weak and pathetic example of what His child should be.
Yes, it is true that Satan, arch-enemy of God claims dominion over the souls of men, and he has taken huge territories in the minds and hearts of multitudes of people. Yes, this is war, and God has a plan and a place and a purpose for me.
This new look is overdue and goes beyond wishful thinking or careless neglect. I will stand strong by His empowerment, and I will give Him the glory. I will be confident, committed, determined and strong.
The “fruit of the Spirit” is not some weak, diluted Gospel concoction, but is a vitamin-packed energy meal for believers! Consider the challenges and consequences of faith and obedience to God, because it means good news for you, too.
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by Elaine Hardt ©2011