Fruit of the Spirit: SELF-CONTROL

Galatians 5:22-23(NLT), “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things!

SELF-CONTROL. We can control ourselves through the power of God’s Spirit working in us. We can say no to our old ways and yes to the ways of Christ.

Romans 6:6(NIV),“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”

Although we have a new nature in Christ, we must help it to grow by filling our hearts with God’s Word so that we will not fall into sin (Psalm 119:11). We have to make our growth in Him a priority. Whatever we feed the most, will grow the most. If we feed our flesh more than our spirit, it will be more difficult for us to follow God’s ways and practice self-control.

Through The Holy Spirit, we can control our thoughts, words, and actions. When we stop and think about it, we begin to realize just how much we have to practice self-control on a daily basis. I’m sure we all have areas where we need to discipline ourselves, and be more self controlled. I know for me, trying to make sure I am honoring God with my eating habits takes self-control. It’s easier for me to eat unhealthy foods than it is for me to avoid them and “eat responsibly.”

I’m glad we have the attribute of self-control. We can stand firm against the things that try and get us to go against God’s will for our lives.

1 Peter 5:8 (NHEB),“Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

***Please share your thoughts about your journey with self-control in the comments.

Fruit of the Spirit:Gentleness

Galatians 5:22-23(NLT), “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things!

GENTLENESS. Gentleness also called meekness can be described as power under control. It’s like Jesus, He has all power in His hands, yet He knows how to control it and use it appropriately.

Being gentle or meek, has nothing to do with being weak or letting others walk over you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. To me, a person who can exhibit meekness, especially when they are in a position of authority, is really to be admired. This is a person who knows how to use their authority and power for good, just like Christ. They don’t try and abuse their authority or belittle others in an attempt to prove themselves. Meekness also knows when it’s time to stop talking and just walk away.

We also must be gentle/meek in our relationship with Christ, so we will be willing to follow His will for our lives. God let’s us choose how we want to live, and being gentle/meek causes us to not want to rebel against Him. Instead we will want to submit to Him and follow His path for our lives.

There’s a lot riding on us having a meek, humble attitude. This is one of those things that the enemy will quickly use to try and destroy our witness if we aren’t careful. I know it’s rough. I’m learning too. But we can do it, because as always, the Holy Spirit will empower us to be who we should be for His glory.

Be of a gentle spirit…

1.Philippians 4:5, (NIV),” Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

2.Ephesians 4:2,(NIV), “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,”

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! It all goes back to love. Loving God and loving others. We also have to ask God to take away any insecurities or fears that keep us from being gentle/meek. The fear of being taken advantage of is real. The truth is, there are many people who will try and take advantage of others.

However, being gentle/meek will cause us to bow down to the power of God, and allow Him to show us exactly how to respond to difficult people or tough situations. Gentleness/meekness does not mean we don’t take action. It just means we know how to take the right action.

***Please share your thoughts about GENTLENESS in the comments.

Fruit of the Spirit: FAITHFULNESS

Galatians 5:22-23(NLT), “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things!

FAITHFULNESS. God is always faithful. He never lets us down. I love this verses in Lamentations 3:23-24(NIV)…

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

We can depend on the Lord to always be there for us. He has promised to never leave us and to never forsake us (Hebrews 13:6). He is faithful to be who He promised to be. He is faithful to do what He promised to do.

The most important relationship we have is our relationship with Jesus. So we should be faithful in our love and loyalty toward Him. When we are faithful to Him, it will cause the other areas of our lives to fall into place. Our relationship with Him even sets the standard for the other relationships in our lives.

Although faithfulness is planted in us, we must still pursue it. We must actively seek to increase our faithfulness to our God. The more we come to know Him, the more we will want to faithfully love and serve Him.

A few ways we can increase our faithfulness to God:

We can spend time getting to know Him through His Word.

We can pursue activities that will strengthen our relationship with Him.

We can fellowship with likeminded people.

We can pray and ask God to strengthen our faith as we seek Him.

Walk in Faithfulness to our Lord…

1.Psalm 31:23(NIV), “Love the LORD, all his faithful people! The LORD preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full.”

2.Psalm 37:28(NIV), “For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish.”

God promises to preserve us when we are faithful to Him. That brings such peace to know He is covering us, especially with all the turmoil that is going on nowadays. He will not abandon us, but will instead lead us on level ground (Psalm 27:11).

I will be the first to admit, remaining faithful to God is not an easy road. Some days are easier than others. The Holy Spirit gives us warnings, called convictions, that He designed to keep us on the right road. But we must follow those convictions. I’ve been guilty many times of ignoring the convictions and doing what I wanted. I know from experience that in the end, that causes heartbreak. But thankfully, He was still faithful to keep on loving me, being patient with me, and helping me to do better. Even when we fail, He is still faithful!

We just need to take one day at a time and trust God that we are progressing more and more with each passing day. We must live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). When we seek Him wholeheartedly, He will be faithful to help us learn and grow.

***Please share your thoughts about FAITHFULNESS in the comments.

Great is His faithfulness

Fruit of the Spirit: GOODNESS

Galatians 5:22-23(NLT), “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

GOODNESS. Goodness is the ability to choose right over wrong, or good over evil. God’s Spirit works in us to create pure hearts that are willing to choose what is right from God’s perspective. We are living in a time where choosing godliness is not usually celebrated. Instead many people are more interested in pleasing the flesh, and doing whatever they think makes them feel good. Living by feelings and the flesh instead of the Word of God will lead to destruction (James 1:15). Choosing to obey God’s Word and live by the Holy Spirit (goodness), will lead to life (John 6:63).

I pray God will help us as Christians to choose what is good in His sight, even when we feel the pressure of the world’s evil ways. I pray He will help us not to compromise and fall prey to sinful temptations. As we choose to live righteously for Him, we will enjoy the blessings of the abundant life Jesus died to give us.

God’s Word is GOOD…

1.Romans 12:21 (NIV), “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

2.Romans 12:9 (NIV), “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

3.Nahum 1:7(NIV),“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”

We overcome evil by choosing to do what is good. Cling to what is good! God is a good God who will always do what is right. So we can trust Him completely. We can have full confidence that when we choose what is “good”, He will fight on our behalf to bring justice wherever it is needed. Walk in Goodness!

***Share your thoughts on GOODNESS in the comments.

Fruit of the Spirit: KINDNESS

Galatians 5:22-23(NLT), “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

KINDNESS. Don’t you just love it when you know people who are kind? There are no strings attached and no hidden motives. They are just kind people who know how to be nice and treat others with respect. These type of people are a true blessing to be around. You feel at ease in their presence, and you know you can just relax and be yourself.

The kindness of a Christian should be evident. Even a smile or a simple hello can radiate kindness. When we see people with needs that we are able to meet, the kindness within us should be willing to do so. Giving money is a great way to be kind, but certainly not the only way. God has placed numerous gifts inside of us to share with the world. There are many different acts of kindness we can do that can help encourage people.

I recently signed up with the “Teachers Ministry” at my church. It’s a ministry that was started to help encourage teachers. I personally have never been a teacher, but I do have several teacher’s in my family. My sister also volunteered as a teacher’s aid for seven years in an elementary school. I asked her what do teachers need most? She said without hesitation, “Teachers need encouragement!!” So I volunteered to prepare fifty-five cards with inspiring handwritten messages for the teachers. My hand was tired, but it was worth it!

I’m also looking forward to helping to serve the teachers breakfast in a couple of weeks. I’m sharing this to show, there is always something we can do. I pass many homeless people on the street everyday, and unfortunately I can’t help them all. But I can help encourage the teachers, so I’m thankful God can use me in this way. By the way, I do have a very interesting story about a homeless lady that I met and got a chance to talk to some months ago. But I’ll save that story for a future post.

So what does God’s Word say about kindness? Here are a couple of verses…

1. Ephesians 4:32(NIV), “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Be kind. Be compassionate. Be forgiving. Sounds like a follower of Jesus Christ for sure. Is forgiving always easy? No it’s not. However, we are quickly reminded in this verse that Jesus forgave us. I love the way that everything we are asked by God to do, Jesus has already done. What an example He set for us!

2. Proverbs 11:17(NIV), “Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.”

It’s to our benefit to be kind. The scripture tells us being unkind or cruel will bring us to ruin. It doesn’t elaborate on what kind of ruin, but I definitely don’t want to find out. The Bible also says in Galatians 6:7(NIV),…“we reap what we sow”. In other words, whatever we do to others will be done to us. So it makes sense to treat people right. I like the way the NLT version puts it: Galatians 6:7(NLT),“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”

We can’t fool the God of the universe! He knows all. People may not always “deserve” kindness, but we have to ask God to help us to give it anyway. We have to sometimes make the sacrifice. Besides, we don’t always know what someone is going through. Our seeds of kindness can be just what they need to get through a difficult day.

***Feel free to share your thoughts on KINDNESS in the comments.

Love Is Kind

Fruit of the Spirit: PATIENCE

Galatians 5:22-23(NLT), “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

PATIENCE. One of the things that captures my heart the most about our God, is His enduring patience. I can look at my own life and see how patient He has been with me. Through all my sins, lack of understanding, and struggles to serve Him consistently, He has always been steadfast in His love and patience toward me. He has never given up on me. I know many of you can relate, because you too have experienced the Master’s patience in your lives.

When I saw this picture of the desert, it reminded me of learning to be patient.

In the desert…

It’s hard to walk on sand (we must rely on the Lord to make our steps firm).

The temperature fluctuates from extreme highs to extreme lows, (we must rely on the Lord to equip us to handle all kinds of conditions).

It’s very dry (we must rely on the Lord to refresh us).

Learning patience can feel like a “desert experience”, but we must trust God to make our steps firm, equip us with all we need, and refresh us when we are weary. When we are in a “dry place”, and we feel “thirsty” for the things we desire, and God tells us to wait, it can be very hard. We may even wonder if it’s worth the wait, and we may feel like giving up, but we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t give up, because our waiting is part of God’s plan to bring about great things. Not only in our lives, but in the lives of other people.

Waiting develops our character. It prepares us to handle the blessings God wants to give us. Today many people no longer want to wait for anything. Therefore, people are taking possession of things they are not prepared to handle, which often leads to stress and failure. We can’t let fear keep us from trusting God as we wait. God knows what we are developed enough to handle.

It’s important to remember that every season of our lives is meant to draw us closer to Christ. So when we are in a season of waiting, we should use that time to learn more about Christ and who we are in Christ.

A few of the many great verses from God’s Word about patience:

1. James 1:4(ASV), “And let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.

Patience works in us to make us complete people who lack nothing. When we exhibit patience we are showing our maturity in Christ. That of course is contrary to the way the world thinks. But as Christians, we are told not to conform to the ways of the world (Romans 12:2). As you strive to be a patient person, you are building a strong foundation to excel in the work that God has for you to do.

2. Proverbs 15:8 (GNT), “Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.”

It’s hard to be patient when people are rude, mean and angry. Plus as Christians, we have to make sure that we are not the ones being rude, mean and angry. (I’ve heard complaints about how mean some of us Christians can be). Our only hope is that if our hearts are open, the Holy Spirit will help us. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that a gentle answer stops anger, but harsh words stir it up. People can sense when we are being genuine towards them. Patience is one of the best ways to show the LOVE of Christ.

3. Romans 12:12 (NIV), “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Prayer is key in learning patience. The closer we stay to the Lord in prayer, the more successful we will be at becoming patient people. God doesn’t want us to be miserable as we learn patience. We should have JOY as we hope in the Lord to do a marvelous work in our lives. He is always an oasis that we can rely on to refresh us. The Holy Spirit will quench even our deepest thirst.

***Please share any thoughts you have on PATIENCE in the comments.

Fruit of the Spirit: PEACE

Galatians 5:22-23(NLT), “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

PEACE. The presence of God’s peace is pretty hard to put into words, but similar to JOY, it’s not dependent on our circumstances. We serve a generous God, who has promised to give us His peace in exchange for our worries. However, we must be willing to make the exchange. I desperately need His peace. I’m learning to open my heart to receive it everyday. The peace of God is priceless.

GOD’S PEACE KEEPS US ANCHORED:

1. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27, NIV)

Jesus assures us that the peace He so freely gives to us is different from what the world gives. He knew we would have all kinds of troubles in this world. It’s easy to be plagued with fear but His peace will bring calm if we are willing to receive it. Don’t forget we can ask God to help us to willingly receive the peace He offers.

2. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (Romans 8:6, NLT)

It’s important to place our focus on the things of God and allow His Spirit to lead us. When we take our eyes off of Him, we can quickly become driven by the desires of our flesh. Living by our flesh will lead to death, but following the ways of the Lord will lead to life and peace. We must ask God on a regular basis to show us ways that we are following our flesh instead of His Spirit.

3. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Colossians 3:15, NLT)

Peace is supposed to rule in our hearts. That means it should overpower everything else, including our worries and fears. Having an attitude of thankfulness brings peace to our hearts. Thankfulness keeps our focus on the goodness of God. Knowing that our God is a good God, who will take good care of us keeps our souls peaceful.

4. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

Don’t worry, keep praying, be thankful, and receive God’s peace. Not just any peace, but the peace that will surpass all of our human understanding. He also said His peace would guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Knowing that God is personally guarding us from evil wicked schemes and trouble is an amazing comfort.

***Please share your thoughts about God’s PEACE in the comments.

Next Reading: Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

Great peace have those who love your law.

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