Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things.”
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit flow out from us. Take time to think about your interactions, your life, your coming and going and consider…how am I doing in living out these fruit? Consider: Which one of these do I wish, hope, and pray that in yielding my life to God and the Holy Spirit this week that others will see MORE of that they aren’t currently seeing today? Pick one that sticks out to you to focus on growing in and keeping in step with the Spirit in demonstrating this week.
An action or verb. It’s what God did for us. It’s who God is and it’s an expression of His unending feeling toward who you and I are. As followers of Christ, we are called to demonstrate unconditional love for all humanity without expecting anything in return.
- Do I love like this?
- Do I only love when it’s convenient for me?
- Do I love without question?
- Do I love without wondering what I’ll get in return?
- Do I love whether or not I like the person, if they like me, or if they’re my enemy?
It is not happiness, having the things in life that you need, a sunny day outside, having a vacation coming up, a pursuit of different avenues in life. The more we try to get worldly things, the less we’ll find joy. We’ll find joy by focusing less on circumstances and more on who we are as children of God. Joy, instead, is a sense of “it’s going to be okay” no matter the circumstances. The evidence of joy is most often seen in the moments of trial and distress. In those moments, that is when we ought to rejoice and have joy.
- Do others see joy on your face regardless of what’s happening around you?
- Do others see joy in you or not?
Double meaning. 1) Finding unity with one another regardless of differences, instead of war, conflict, and strife. We often see strife coming and wonder, “what are they going to nitpick me on today?” Like Jesus, being about unity vs. dissension. 2) Inner peace, being able to relax and breathe. Demonstrating a calm. A peace that “transcends all understanding” = a peace that doesn’t make sense.
- Am I considered a “person of peace” by those around me?
- Do I live with such anxiety and stress that no peace is evident in me?
Patience is also referred to as forbearance, long suffering: a sense of resilience. In fight or flight situations, it’s a third option: being able to stand in the midst of the tension. Things don’t bother you like they should. Being able to put up with a lot. Having “rhino skin”—things may come your way but you don’t let them penetrate you. You don’t get easily aroused. You don’t have a short temper. You are slow to anger. You choose not to run away and disengage, or argue and fight. Rather, you are willing to stand in the tension, in the doorway of darkness.
- Do you quit too soon?
- Do you get angry too soon?
- In the midst of tension or trial, when things weigh down on you, do you have a sense of calm?
The external component of goodness. Someone helping someone else just because. Willingness to think about and look beyond yourself and demonstrate love through practical acts.
- Do I notice other’s needs and then do something to help them?
Being a person who can be trusted, who has pure motives. Being goodhearted. Making good decisions.
- Do I possess the character of Christ within my being (that is evident without words, just by others watching me)?
Being trustworthy and full of faith to God and to others. A willingness to step out and to go. Having a sense of integrity, where our actions match our words.
- If we say, “God I want to give everything to you. I want to follow after You,” do we demonstrate that?
- Do our actions match our words to God and to others?
- Do I hold true to my promises to God and to others?
- Do I do what I say I’m going to do or am I wishy washy?
Not weakness. Strength in the way you interact with and talk to people and how you touch them. Think “gentle giants” or that person who is described as a "teddy bear." Being caring and loving.
- Are we harsh, defensive, and direct in the way we carry our body and our words?
- Are we cautious with the words we say and the looks and touch we give?
We live in a constant battle between self and God. Self-control is about yielding your life to the Spirit and being filled with the breath of God. It is not about mustering enough courage and strength to quit, not do, or stop doing the things you don’t want to do. Instead, it is surrendering and letting go of what you want and the things you want to control, and letting God do what He wants to do in you. It’s pursuing what He wants instead of your own agenda. It’s saying “God, if this is not what you want for me, then you give me the self-control not to do it. Distract me with something different. Help me to walk away.”
- Can I let go of that thing, that sin, even that person or relationship, surrender it, and let God do His work in it?
Church... we "who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25)