[The continuation – Part 2 of 3 – of my look at the Fruit of the Spirit. Come along as I take a slightly different walk down this familiar path. If you missed it, see Part 1 here.]
“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Continuing along on our Fruit Journey and to get us reoriented, let me remind you of the questions I posed regarding the Fruit of the Spirit … “What if they are not singular and isolated? What if they are actually interconnected, additive and interwoven?”
However, before I start this week, I wanted to share an observation my pastor mentioned as we chatted about last week’s post … “Interesting that Paul calls it fruit and not fruits.” Yes, more than interesting … perhaps instructive.
Building upon the solid foundation of Love, Joy, and Peace, the foundation of our relationship with God,
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." - Deuteronomy 6:5
we embark upon the Fruit that forms the foundation of our relationship with others.
"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." - Lev 19:18
Something we tend to struggle with, if you are like me; Patience is built upon and enabled by the three pillars of Love, Joy and Peace which form the basis of our relationship with God. Think about it. When you are grounded in love, joyful in that abiding presence, and at peace in the assurance of that reality, isn’t it much easier to be patient with others? Patient with your children, patient with that screwball at work, patient with the technology that isn’t working right, patient in traffic, patient with your spouse as they step on that wound in your heart yet again?
“As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” – Luke 8:15
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” – Romans 8:24-25
Next the Holy Spirit imparts in us kindness. It’s hard to be kind when we are stressed; when we are overwhelmed by the burdens of life. When everything we perceive around us is against us. And yet, when we are grounded in love, confident in joy, resting in peace, and established in patience; is there any way NOT to be kind? Kindness is the ultimate act of selflessness. Of putting others first. But kindness flows not from our striving to be so but out of our resting in the enabling fruit we have already been given.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another” – Zechariah 7:9
Now out of this abundance of fruit, the Holy Spirit bears in us goodness. Goodness not as something we strive for or can "make" happen but something that has become innate IN us. Goodness as a component of our DNA. Good is who we have become.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalm 23:6
“I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” – Romans 15:14
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” – Titus 3:4-5
Let this soak in … pray, “Lord Jesus, continue to transform me by the work of the Holy Spirit depositing his fruit in me. Thank you for the process that changes me and makes me a new creation. Amen!”
“For God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo. Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity.” – C. S. Lewis