I really do. It doesn’t matter what kind, I love it all. I am especially fond of grapefruit. Growing up we had three grapefruit trees and two navel orange trees. My grandmother, two doors down, had a small grove behind and beside her. It was awesome. We ate the ones on the trees and threw the ones on the ground…lol. They made for fun grove fights with cousins, siblings and neighborhood friends. Of course our mothers weren’t thrilled but we had fun.
For nine weeks our pastor has been teaching us the aspects of the Fruits of the Spirit. On http://www.dictionary.com, it is described as “The fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23; Eph. 5:9; James 3:17, 18) are those gracious dispositions and habits which the Spirit produces in those in whom he dwells and works.” The New King James Bible for Galatians 5:22-23 reads “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
I made a point to write down several things I wanted to remember over the course of these several weeks. 1 John 4:7-8 reads “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. “By this token, since we are made in God’s likeness, we can be known by how we exhibit love. There have been many occasions where my family and I would be at a restaurant or in a store and someone would start talking to us about church or some deep moral issue. I believe we can know other Christians by how we act. We can also know who is not at least exhibiting Christ-like behavior as well. I often watch and listen to people as they interact with each other. When someone chooses to be mean or loud when being gentle and pleasant isn’t that hard, I often want to say something to them. But I figure I’d get shot so I pray it up instead and keep my mouth shut. Our goal should be to love like Jesus.
This joy has it’s source in religion, not so much elsewhere. A relationship with Jesus is necessary to feel real joy. This joy produces a burning desire to share Jesus with other people. If we show true joy, other people will want what makes our joy.
Peace is not just the absence of war. Peace is a choice and has to begin with us. Isaiah used the phrase “Prince of Peace” to describe Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 which reads “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Peace be still comes from Christ and is triggered by our trust in Him.
True patience is completely supernatural. It is not something we are naturally born with. It is infused into us when we love Jesus and love like He does. In 1 Corinthians 13, known as the love chapter; God is love, love is patient, therefore God is patient or He would contradict himself. Patience is perfected in our perfect love for Jesus. It is knowing that He is in control of everything that provides the trust we need to cultivate patience.
Kindness is one of those behaviors you have to work at. Many people who are kind hearted do not speak with kindness. Some come across harsh or even mean because they do not acknowledge their abrupt manner. Kindness and forgiveness also run hand in hand as we see in Colossians 3:12-13 which reads “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
God is good…All the time! It stands to reason that goodness is one of these fruits. In John 10:11 and 10:14, Jesus declares that He is “the Good Shepard”. If we are to bear fruit and witness to the world, we have to be consistent in our behavior. This is a serious mandate if we are to attempt to mirror Jesus.
God was faithful when he provided the Holy Spirit. He always keeps His promises. He is always faithful. Fear should immobilize us to serve God, not make us run from Him. Adversity and fear (just to name a few) should draw us closer to God, should make us run to the Father, just as a little child will run to their parent’s side. We possess this quality because our God does but He is a jealous God. Our grace comes at the expensive cost of Jesus’ life.
The Greek word for gentleness is prautes. Prautes as defined by the ancient Greeks has several meanings and examples. According to www.ExecutableOutlines,com, Prautes is defined as:
1. To describe persons or things which have in them a certain soothing quality… — E.g, having a humble and kind demeanor which calms another’s anger
2. To describe gentleness of conduct, especially on the part of people who had it in their power to act otherwise… a. E.g., a king forgiving a servant who failed a particular task 1) The king has the authority and power to render punishment 2) But chooses instead to show kindness and forgiveness b. Such a king would be praised for his gentle and meek behavior
3. To describe the ability to take unkind remarks with good nature… a. E.g., as when embroiled in controversy b. Being able to discuss things without losing one’s temper because of unkind and unfair personal remarks
4. Most often, to describe the character in which strength and gentleness are perfectly combined… a. E.g., a horse obedient to the reins, a watchdog friendly to the family owning him b. There is great strength present, but it is tempered by a gentle spirit.
It can also be described as being submissive, teachable and considerate. Again, God is our perfect example. He is able to show gentleness when needed and not when needed.
Self-control is difficult to master. By nature, we want things our way or the easy way. Having self-control is not natural or easy. Without this virtue, the other fruits will not be evident. Without it the works of the flesh cannot be overcome. Self-control starts with the choice to have and execute it. It is easy to run to fear when we are afraid or run to anger when someone wrongs someone. Having self-control propels the other fruits which would remain hidden and undeveloped with out it.
Seeing the big picture of these fruits has given me more understanding of how weaved together they really are. We tend to compartmentalize bits and pieces of ourselves, whether it is memories or behaviors. Seeing how these virtues work together makes making them work together easier.