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The Fruit of the Spirit this week is Love. I’ve chosen a strawberry since it’s often used to represent love due to its shape that’s similar to a heart.
When you love someone, their happiness is important to you. You behave in a kind and caring way toward them and wish to protect and support them, in a selfless manner.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.1 Corinthians 13:1-3
The above scripture tells us that it’s pointless to say, know or do anything without love. Love is the key to making an impact for the Kingdom of God. What are ways you can demonstrate love in the way you speak, through what you know or how you react?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
These verses tell us, as discussed in an earlier post (Godly Love), what love, in the eyes of God, look like. I use this scripture as a checklist to see where I’m struggling (usually in multiple areas). It helps me know what I should be praying for. I find myself having a hard time not keeping a record of people’s wrongs, which then causes me to have a hard time trusting. What aspect of love are you struggling with right now?
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
This piece of scripture opens with the statement ‘love never fails’ and ends by telling us that the three gifts from the Holy Spirit to remain are faith, hope and love, with love being the most important to have. The speculations, words and knowledge of man will fade away, but our faith, hope and love in God will never fail us. This makes me want to focus my attention more on the Word of God, than of man, because the Bible is the key to our hope and faith, which will lead us to a love that never fails.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for Your Word, and the guidance it gives with the help of the Holy Spirit. I pray we would love You and others, even those we see as enemies, the way You love us, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is Peace. I’ve chosen grapes because they grow together in a group, a community. We grow best, when together with a community, rather than alone. A community does better as a whole when its members feel at peace and not restless.
Peace has many different definitions and is described in assorted ways by various people. How would you explain peace?
Those who experience peace are not easily disturbed and feel calm and not worried about life in general. People who encounter peace live and work well together with others in a friendly way.
When you are at peace, you feel secure, your mind is free from annoyance, distraction, anxiety and obsession. You are untroubled, tranquil and content. Are you at peace within your circumstances today?
Experiencing peace has nothing to do with having an easy life or your circumstances. How you react in different situations in your life can show others if you are at peace or in turmoil. Would other describe you at a person at peace or in turmoil?
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9
I find this passage in Philippians is comforting as well as encouraging. It reminds me to bring every situation, with a thankful heart, to God, because God alone can offer us peace as we walk through the trials and tribulations of life. As we pray, talk with God, seek to have a relationship with Him, He will be with us. God doesn’t wish for us to be anxious about anything. He calls us to bring all our troubles to him, so we can experience the peace He desires us to have. How have you experienced God’s peace?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the peace you offer us, regardless of our sinful nature. I pray we would turn our troubles over to you before they can cause havoc in our heart and mind. My we seek Your peace and not the peace offered from the world, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is Patience. I’ve chosen a pomegranate because it’s a fruit that takes time and effort to eat. You cannot simply grab it and take a bite. You must work at it. First open it, and then get through the maze of its inner pieces to get to the scrumptious juicy morsels inside. This my friend takes patience.
Patience is being able to stay calm and not get annoyed under any circumstance. A patient person can also bear provocation, misfortune or pain without complaining, losing their temper or becoming irritated. A patient person is quiet, works with steady perseverance and is even-tempered.
Patience is the one thing I often hear we should not pray for, because God will answer by giving us a situation in which patience is needed. I don’t know about you, but I think patience is the most difficult Fruit of the Spirit to master. When have you seen someone demonstrate patience? How did it affect your mood or behavior?
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14
As it says in Colossians, we as believers in Christ Jesus, have the ability to call upon His power, which will strengthen us, equipping us with the patience needed within our circumstances. When we lose our temper or become irritated, it’s because we have taken our focus off our heavenly Father and looked to our own selfish desires or needs. You see, only God, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit can enable us to demonstrate true patience in all situations.
I lack patience with my family more often than I should. I lose my temper when they don’t treat me the way I think they should and then I fail greatly at being quiet. I can even get irritated when they don’t take my advice and do what I think they should. Imagine that! When have you lost your patience? Without a doubt, I always seem to lose mine when I don’t take that second to call upon Jesus in the difficult times.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank You for Your patience with us. You shower us with love, grace and mercy every day, offering guidance. I pray we would call upon the power of Jesus and the help of the Holy Spirit, so we too may serve with patience in all areas of our lives, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is goodness. I’ve chosen a banana to represent goodness because a banana is a good addition to many things, such as pancakes or oatmeal. People have the choice, multiple times a day, to be a good addition or not so good addition to circumstances throughout their day.
Goodness is the quality of being kind, helpful and honest. When our actions portray these qualities, we are choosing to bring goodness into our situation or circumstance. Other characteristics of goodness are when we strive for moral excellence, act generously or think and do what is right.
Too often, people act in a way that is not good because they let their feelings over ride their common sense. This could cause us to act in an unfriendly way, create white lies or intentionally hinder another in their efforts.
We constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 2 Thessalonians 1:11
Isn’t that verse in 2 Thessalonians encouraging? We can ask God to fill others with His goodness. When we feel someone is not being good in a situation, we can pray for God to give them the desire to do the right thing as well as help us see the goodness in this person or situation.
Better yet, we can ask others to pray for us to be filled with His Goodness. We don’t naturally have the desire to be good. Naturally, we want to do what we feel is good for us, which is usually not good for us or anyone else around us. By God’s power, and His power alone, we can be filled with the desire to do what is good, in God’s eyes, in all situations. We still have to act on this desire, but having the desire is half the battle.
I often have a hard time knowing the difference between what is good for me or a situation or circumstance. Others easily sway me, especially when they speak passionately about something. That’s why I lean heavily on the counsel of the Holy Spirit to discern between what I feel is good and how God desires me to portray His goodness. When have you made an effort to show goodness when you felt like acting badly? How do you think that situation would have turned out if you let your feelings run the show?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, You are good to all, regardless of our circumstances. I pray You would teach us to be good to one another, regardless of how we are feeling, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is gentleness. I’ve chosen a peach to represent gentleness because they are easily bruised, so we need to handle them with care. Similar to the people in our lives. We must treat every relationship delicately, because people are easily bruised.
Having gentleness is behaving in a kind, calm manner, being polite and soothing regardless of the people or environment around you.
The dictionary says gentleness is a person with a mild temperament or someone who isn’t harsh or rough. It also says it’s someone who isn’t affected by criticism.
Gentleness is an attribute of God I struggle with daily. I find myself being more abrasive than mild when seeking things to fulfill my to-do list. I often show up to the church mid week with a list of things I need to take care of or check on and feel like I’m always on a time crunch. I know it should always be about the people I work with, not the job or task I do with them, but I struggle it. I think I more often than not, run in, blast a list of needs and run back out leaving everyone’s heads spinning. It takes every ounce of effort I have to interact in a gentle manner and not like a crazy person who’s had too much caffeine.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. Philippians 4:5
Gentleness is asking someone how their day is going before asking for help. It’s gently encouraging someone to make a change without judging their actions. It’s a willingness to accept a decision or suggestion gracefully from another. It’s being friendly and social in an uncomfortable or awkward situation. Do people find you easily to approachable?
Gentleness is not yelling when someone accidently breaks a tile on the kitchen counter. It’s not reacting harshly when a flying dart hits you in the face. It’s choosing not to tell someone how much they annoy you when they’ve decided to let you know how stupid they think you are. It’s politely explaining yourself even when it’s the 20th time. It’s completing a task for someone, without being asked, and expecting nothing in return. When was the last time you stepped in to help someone without being asked?
“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
Jesus is our one true example of someone who is gentle. He offers us the gentleness we need to experience in our life as well as teach us, through the Holy Spirit, how to be the example of gentleness to others.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, You gently call us to You, through Your word and those You place in our lives. I pray we would be a reflection of Your gentleness, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is self-control. I’ve chosen a lime to represent self-control because when we don’t have self-control in front of others it can leave them with a sour taste.
Having self-control is the ability not to show your feelings or not do things that your feelings make you want to do.
The dictionary states self-control is to refrain or avoid or be stable, calm or harmonious. It also says having self-control means not to agitate, excite, indulge or upset. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a very tall order. I find myself challenged with all of the above almost hourly, especially when with my family.
Self-control is not cursing loudly when you step in a pile of cat vomit as it squishes between your toes. It’s not reacting rudely when someone interrupts you. It’s not screaming at someone when they accidently ram their scooter into your leg.
Self-control is asking politely with a smile, even when it feels like it’s the 100th time you’ve asked. It’s being careful with others things, even if they have not been careful with yours. It’s smiling and calmly listening when someone’s yelling at you because they’re upset. It’s resisting a third cupcake even though you know it would taste oh so good.
Self-control is not letting your circumstances dictate your thoughts, words or actions. Having self-control is putting the feelings of someone else above your own and acting or speaking in a way to be helpful, not harmful.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ Titus 2:11-13
As hard as I try to be an example of a wife, mom, daughter, friend or Christian who has self-control, I fail miserably every day. Whenever I do appear to have self-control, it’s not by my own doing. It’s only by the grace of God, the help of the Holy Spirit, that I am able to resist reacting in a hysterical awful ridiculous manner throughout my day. Praise be to God for His goodness!
What does self-control look like to you? When have you witnessed it? How have you been an example of self-control? When do you find it difficult to have self-control?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, You gave us Your Son, Jesus, who was the perfect example of self-control. I pray for strength to choose what is right, even though it may not be easy, Amen.
Over the past few months I’ve been meditating, studying and praying over the attributes of God because I desire to know my Creator, Abba Father, more intimately. While doing this, God has given me the desire to know the attributes He calls all who live by the Spirit to live by. The attributes He enables all who believe in His Son, Jesus, to have.
Galatians chapter 5 tells us not to get caught up trying to justify our actions within the law. We are to faithfully follow Jesus, who is all about relationships. We are to act in a way that mimics how Jesus lived while here on earth. Our lives are to be pleasing, glorifying and honoring to God, our creator and sustainer.
We should not blame others for our actions because we are each given freewill and the ability to make choices. Do you choose to be persuaded by the lies of Satan, who wants to steal, kill and destroy everything good? Or do you choose to look past the frustrating, hard, painful, sorrowful circumstances you may experience occasionally throughout your life? Which do you think is pleasing to God- causing confusion or bringing encouragement to others? Which do you prefer, being confused or encouraged?
We are reminded that the freedom we are given through Christ Jesus was not so we could gratify our desires, but rather to humbly serve one another in love. The law we are to focus on and live by is to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to treat everyone, regardless of how they treat us, the way we wish to be treated. Would you rather receive love, grace and mercy from those around you as you stumble through difficult times in your life? Or would you rather everyone around you have high expectations and demands regardless of the your personal struggles?
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:26
Galatians chapter 5, verses 22-23 is where we find the Fruit of the Spirit. Over the next 9 weeks I will take a look at each attribute to see what it should look like in our lives as we live them out in our every day lives. Today I’d like to look at verses 19-21 and verse 26 where we are given attributes not to live by, which are as follows:
- Sexual Immorality~ Going beyond proper bounds with our bodies
- Impurity~ Doing things to please man, not God
- Debauchery~ Lack of restraint, easily allured from your duties
- Idolatry~ Placing something above God
- Witchcraft~ Seeking wisdom, guidance and understanding from something other than God
- Hatred~ Intense dislike or hostility toward
- Discord~ Lack of harmony with others, being harsh with others
- Jealousy~ Desiring what other have
- Fits of Rage~ Violent anger toward another
- Selfish Ambition~ Doing things to help yourself not others
- Dissensions~ Quarreling with others
- Factions~ To purposely cause division
- Envy~ Being upset others have things you desire
- Drunkenness~ Overcome by power
- Orgies~ Uncontrolled gratification of desires
- Conceited~ To flatter and talk about yourself above others
- Provoking~ To purposely annoy someone
I don’t know about you, but I struggle, on a regular basis, with many of these attributes. I often find myself feeling jealous when hearing of others doing things or going places I wish I could. Sometimes I purposely do something to annoy someone just because I can and I find their reaction funny. It’s cheap entertainment. The word debauchery sounds like such an evil thing (at least in my mind it does). But I must confess, I’m easily lured away from my duties. SQUIRREL! Which attribute listed do you struggle with most often?
The wonderful news is God does not expect us to change who we are or stop being who we think we need to be. God knows we can’t. As we seek to know God, study His Word, spend time with Him in prayer, He and He alone will change our heart. This will cause a ripple effect that will cause our thoughts, words and actions to change. The attributes of the old will fade away as the new attributes of the Holy Spirit, the Fruit of the Spirit, will pour out of us naturally.
My prayer for us today~ Father God, You know our heart and our deepest desires. I pray You would show us an attribute of ours that does not bring glory to You and help us replace it with an attribute that honors You, Amen.