“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)
I spent the last week looking at the remainder of the fruit:
- Goodness. It is the “pulsing, powerful performance of right in the midst of wrong all around us.” (from my Keller book). When you think of all that is wrong around us and in the world, goodness is a powerful attribute. Goodness is what moves us to give our time, talent, interest, strength, energy and capacities to work towards the betterment of others. In the New Testament Lexical Aids, I discovered in order to possess good intentions, one must have this fruit of the Spirit in operation in their life. Moral goodness stems from this fruit. This helped me to realize the depth to which the world is in need of this characteristic from God’s Spirit. May we be filled with the goodness of God.
- Faithfulness. This means “exercising fidelity in relationships” (from my NLT Bible). My commentary further explains it this way … “the quality of being true, trustworthy, and reliable in one’s dealings with others.” In today’s vernacularÂ we might just flat out call it “loyalty”. A sense of duty or commitment to relationships or obligations. We don’t see this very often any more. Sad to say, isn’t it? Yet of God, who shows us how to be faithful, it is written:
~ “Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds” (Psalm 57:10, NLT)
~ “Your faithfulness continues to every generation” (Psalm 100:5, NLT)
~ “Great is his faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:23, NLT)
So truly, with the help of the Holy Spirit, this is something we can cultivate in our lives. I have a quote written down (don’t have who said it, sorry!) … “Faithfulness is not doing something right once but doing something right over and over and over and over.” May we do the right thing, the godly thing, faithfully – again and again and again!
- Gentleness. Not sure what I was expecting but this wasn’t it >> “This word connotes a submissive and teachable spirit toward God that manifests itself in genuine humility and consideration toward others.” It saddens me to think how this word has come to mean a weakness, almost a wimpyness, if you will or a non-assertiveness, lack of energy or power. But with God, it is strength under control, harnessed strength. It is expressed in loving service and being respectful to others. A person who is gentle does not push people around. Gentle people win their way into our hearts by their humble, loving way. God Himself is drawn to gentle people – “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” (James 4:6) After reading about gentleness, I thought to myself …. we so love the goodness of God towards us. Can you imagine if this fruit were in abundance in each of our lives? People would so be drawn to us. May God fill our lives with His Spirit.
- Self-control. The power to restrain oneself. “To master one’s desires and passions.” We all have areas where this is lacking. For some it may be with food, spending money, watching TV, sexually, drinking or anger. It’s that area where consistency is needed. Self-control means that all of our person – body, soul and spirit – comes under the control of Christ. God governs my life and not my own desires. We cannot live uncontrolled or our lives will become overgrown. In order for self-control to grow in our lives, we must have the help of the Holy Spirit with our thoughts and emotions. When either our thoughts or emotions are wreaking havoc in our lives, the area we struggle with, will take control. The verse which probably best expresses our lives with self-control might be, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13, NLT) As He works in us, we will be able to exercise self-control, or moderation, in our lives each day. And the verse which best expresses our lives without self-control might be, “A person without self-control is like a city with broken down walls.” (Proverbs 25:28, NLT) May we take time today to think about where our walls have broken down. Where does the wall need repair? For then, we can submit that area to Him and ask Him to work in our lives so that we grow some self-control.
Spring is here. It’s the perfect time for us to pray for our lives to bud some new fruit!