Tag Archives: Fruit of the Spirit

A Few Thoughts About the Indwelling Holy Spirit

October 15, 2013

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As I continue to think about how the Holy Spirit is in the New Testament Christian from the previous post, I realize there is plenty of disagreement about whether the Spirit actually indwells in us or is given to us in the form of the word of God. I never fully understood how to make my own decision until I took the time to read Romans more deeply – especially chapter 8.

When we understand Romans 8 and other supporting passages, we can understand that we will never have the full measure of the Spirit, like the apostles had, in this lifetime. We can also understand that he will not act upon us to direct our actions. Whether we follow the flesh or the Spirit is up to us. Paul told us that we get an earnest portion of the Spirit, which is just enough to serve us until we get to our reward. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

The Holy Spirit is not available to us before we become Christians. The idea that he might push us into believing and obeying the Gospel is wrong. The scriptures are quite plain:

  • He’s not available until after the word of truth is heard – Ephesians 1:13
  • He’s not available until after belief – Ephesians 1:13
  • He’s not available until we are sons of God – Galatians 4:6
  • He’s not available until after baptism, the point the gift is received – Acts 2:38

Those who have chosen to follow the Spirit instead of the flesh exhibit certain characteristics. Those things are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith and meekness. (Galatians 5:22-23) These “fruit of the Spirit” are a result of our personal decision to avoid the sinful ways of the flesh and follow him to God.

Daily Bible reading for October 15

Psalm 75
1 Kings 9:1-9
Ezekiel 37
Romans 8:1-17

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Fruit of the Spirit: Love

July 18, 2013

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance Gal 5:22-23

Love Demonstrated Through Action

I saved the best for last in this series. Love is the first item in the fruit of the Spirit. Love is the last item in Peter’s list of Christian graces (2 Peter 1:5-7) Whether it’s first or last in the list, we understand that it takes love to have the other attributes. Look at it again and we see that having the other attributes makes us more loving. This is how our spirituality grows and sustains itself.kiwi

That spirituality makes something very special manifest in our lives toward the father in heaven. The greatest command is to love God with all our hearts and our souls and our minds. When Jesus called this the greatest commandment in Matthew 5:37, he said the second one was just like it – Love your neighbor as much as yourself .(Matthew 5:39) That means to love your neighbor is loving God!

When the Agape type of love is mentioned in scripture is it associated with activity and service. God demonstrated it through the gift of his only son. (John 3:16) A couple of ways we can respond to that is by:

  • keeping His commandments John 15:10
  • keeping it sincere Romans 12:9
  • serving others Gal 5:13-14

Jesus said that the only way we can be identified with Him is to have this love for one another. (John 13:35) He will recognize us when we have the fruit of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, self-control, longsuffering, and gentleness.

Daily Bible reading for July 18

Ecclesiastes 11:1-8
Joshua 20
Jeremiah 11:18-12:17
Matthew 26:1-29

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Fruit of the Spirit: Meekness (or Gentleness)

July 17, 2013

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance – Gal 5:22-23

The underlying Greek word here is preotes. Gentleness, meekness, implies humility. (Note that the NKJV, ESV and others use gentleness for meekness)

While we think of meek being equivalent to mild, bland, timid and even weak based on the dictionary definition, these thoughts do not describe Jesus Christ. Moses was described as meek in Numbers 12:3. These words don’t describe him either.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s unfortunate that meek rhymes with week. Jesus doesn’t want weak Christians. He wants those who are strong enough to stand their ground yet do it with a loving gentleness – which describes meekness in a nutshell.

The meek will inherit the earth Matthew 5:3-10. Meekness as described here indicates we are giving ourselves over to God’s will. This might include being stern and determined when carrying out His commands.

As we consider how to apply this attribute of the fruit of the Spirit, we might think about the mighty elephant. He is able to rip trees out of the ground with his trunk, yet he can control it so he could take a peanut out of your hand without hurting you. Great strength under control.

Daily Bible reading for July 17

Ecclesiastes 10
Joshua 18-19
Jeremiah 11:1-17
Matthew 25

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Fruit of the Spirit: Temperance or Self-Control

July 16, 2013

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (or self-control) – Gal 5:22-23

The underlying Greek egkrateia means self-control

Self Control is a Decision

Openly sinning is becoming a very popular activity these days. Better yet, we don’t even have to take responsibility for ourselves. We fail to train ourselves for suitable employment. We fail to maintain our health through exercise and diet. We fail to make good choices because we think we want something else. These are all simple decisions we make ourselves, but think the outcome is unfair when we don’t like it.

Dave Ramsey, the budget expert and radio show host, often says that “children do what feels good, adults devise a plan and follow it.”file000299165828

Zig Ziglar, the original motivational speaker, says “overweight people got that way by choice because they never accidentally ate anything.”

Both of these ring true because self-control is the art of making good decisions and taking responsibility for them – even when they are not so good. Most of us have a “guilty pleasure” or a weakness that we know better than to entertain. Many of us simply choose to ignore the risks and do them anyway.

Peter urges us to maintain ourselves so even when we are railed against by sinners, they will know they are messing with Christians. (1 Peter 2:11-12) Our own self -control becomes very important when we are telling others about sin.

The more we avoid sin, the better we get at avoiding it. When this happens, we can present ourselves to God as his instruments for righteousness (Romans 6:11-14)

Daily Bible reading for July 16

Ecclesiastes 9:11-18
Joshua 16-17
Jeremiah 9:23-10:25
Matthew 24

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Fruit of the Spirit: Faith

July 15, 2013

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance – Gal 5:22-23

The underlying Greek word here is pistis defined as assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

When asked to describe faith or faithfulness, we often think:

  • loyalty
  • trustworthy
  • steadfast
  • dependable

These are some excellent words to describe what we see in faithful people, but they are not what makes them faithful. Faith is a belief  in something so strong that we will take an action based on it. For instance I believe my boss will write me a paycheck, therefore I go to work each day.

Hebrews 11 teaches us the essence of that kind of faith:

  • Able offered his sacrifices the way God wanted them
  • Enoch did things in a way that pleased God
  • Noah built an ark with only a warning
  • Abraham moved his family to an unfamiliar land
  • An angel had to stop the knife in Abraham’s hand so he wouldn’t sacrifice his son
  • Moses chose to be numbered among his people and not the Egyptians

…the list goes on. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without this kind of faith, we can’t please him.

Here are some ways we need to respond once we understand that God is who the Bible says he is:

  • Obey his Gospel plan
  • Live in a way that demonstrates your faith (James 2:14-26)
  • Supplement it with virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and with love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)

There are those that tell you that God’s salvation is available through faith only. This concept is foreign to the Bible.  When the Bible tells you that faith saves you, it is talking about a faith so strong that you are willing to move and do something.  It means that when you have gotten into Christ, you are living and acting in a Christ-Like manner all the time. This kind of faith takes a lot of maintenance, so keep reading your Bible and it will grow! (Romans 10:17)

 Daily Bible reading for July 15

Ecclesiastes 9:1-10
Joshua 15
Jeremiah 8:4-9:22
Matthew 23

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