“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
What fruit are you producing? Fruit that looks good on the outside but is really bad on the inside? Fruit that is immature or not ripe? Fruit that is good? People will come and “pick” your fruit.
Immature (not ripe) fruit is thinking you are a wonderful person when in reality you walk immaturely in Christ and expect others to like your fruit. Immature fruit is walking around ignoring issues in your life and expecting good results. It is thinking everyone else is wrong and you are right.
We can really do a world of hurt for others if we don’t take care of any issues in our own life. Issues like; pride, complaining, gossip, un-forgiveness, and so much more, if not dealt with, will produce bitter, unripe, even toxic fruit.
If you want to live like Christ, and have given your heart to Him, there will be times of correction and rebuking. If you are like me, you know in your “knower” that you need to be corrected so that you produce the fruit of the spirit.
God chose us before we were even born. He had a purpose for our lives and that is to bear good fruit.
John 15:16 NASB
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”
Love, as a fruit of the Spirit, is a verb. It’s not a feeling, and much like faith, if only expressed in words, it’s essentially meaningless. Though we like to hear the words “I love you” they mean nothing if not accompanied by loving action. Remember actions speak louder then words. Show your love to people with your actions.
1 Jn 4:7 – 8, 16
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. … So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
This simplifies the idea of abiding if we see it as abiding in love because God is love.
Love is from God, we don’t have this kind of love if we don’t know God. If we are abiding in love, keeping it always in the forefront of all our interactions and choices, we are abiding in God.
All that Jesus did was motivated by love. His love for the Father, and His love for others.
This selfless, humble love that washes feet, seeks to build others up, is foreign to the human nature and our culture, but by the example of Christ we can practice this kind of love, and through the power of the Holy Spirit we can achieve this kind of love.
1 Cor. 13: 4
“Love is patient and kind…”
This is the character of God. Patient and kind. Life is hard and we all need a place where we can lick our wounds, be ourselves, rest, and feel safe and cared for. That is what love is supposed to do.
Love makes us feel safe and soothed rather than pressured to perform, or live up to some standard. Love comforts us when we are struggling. Jesus said he will give us rest and peace. We all need to ask ourselves, do the people I love feel soothed by me? Can my loved ones completely let down their guard around me? Are they emotionally safe?
There will be times to love those who are hard to love. Loving people with the love God has given us makes it easy to love others.
1 Cor 13: 7
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
God bears with us, he believes in us, he hopes with us, and he endures our constant disobedience and wandering away from him.
Has God forgiven you of much? Then you should love Him much, and in turn, we should love others much. It is hard to produce any of the fruit of the spirit without love. Love binds all the fruit together.
Joy is deeper then happiness. Happiness deals with what is happening. Happiness depends on circumstance. Genuine joy, on the other hand does not depend on what’s happening. Joy is an inner sense of well-being that has nothing to do with circumstance. Joy is an inside Job.
God wants to produce the fruit of joy in all of us. Often it comes with trials and struggles. James says to “count it all joy” when we experience trials. Jesus went to the cross with joy. Joy is an inner strength. It is a knowing that God is with you and you can walk through anything that you face because you are not alone.
Too often people try to find false joy. They acquire things thinking that will give them joy (Ron’s uncle). Sometimes people think they have joy when their surroundings and needs are all met. Our surroundings change daily. Other times people place their joy in relationships. This is a big false joy. People will come and go. They will let you down. They are unstable, but God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
There are so many lasting things that bring true joy; our salvation, having a grateful heart, and trusting in God are just a few things.
Church remember: Pain, sorrow, trials, and tribulations, are temporary, but Joy is ETERNAL. Happiness is Outside, But Joy is Inside
Allow the fruit of Joy to grow inside of you. Walk in this promise daily. The Joy of the Lord is your strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)
Isaiah 26:3 Amplified Bible
“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.”
This is how to keep yourself in perfect peace:
- Keep your mind stayed on God
- Commit yourself to God
- Lean on God and hope confidently in Him
Proverbs 3:5 – 6 Amplified Bible
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”
Trying to reason everything out will take your peace away. We will have unanswered questions. Ask God to help you stop reasoning and begin to live by faith, leaning on and trusting in Him and not on your own understanding.
Peace, when your in the Kingdom, is not the absence of conflict, rather its the assurance that in the midst of conflict, the Father has things under control. Learn to have peace with people and peace with yourself.
1 Peter 3:10 – 11 Amplified Bible
“For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good – whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit). Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace (harmony; undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) and seek it eagerly. [Do not merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, go after them!]”
Patience is not an ability to wait. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that manifests while we are waiting. If patience doesn’t manifest in times of waiting, then we see the fruit of impatience.
It doesn’t matter why you are impatient. What matters is how you deal with it. Impatience is a counterfeit fruit. It can look like it is productive, but in reality, it only produces stress and turmoil for you and others. Impatience is very selfish. It only cares about itself.
James 1:4 Amplified Bible
“But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.”
We should rejoice in difficult situations, knowing that through them God tests our faith to bring out patience. Trials do eventually produce patience, but first they bring all kinds of junk to the surface such as pride, anger, rebellion, self-pity, and complaining. We need to face and deal with these ungodly traits before patience can come forth.
Waiting destroys pride. If God gave us everything the minute we wanted it, we would be so proud and haughty, we’d think it was us. We would expect our way always. God makes us wait because He is testing us.
Colossians 3:12 NASB tells us to “put on patience.” That tells me that patience is something that I have to do on purpose. Just because I don’t feel patient doesn’t mean I have to be impatient. We must put on patience.
We can’t expect our clothes to come on our bodies all by themselves. We have to put them on. Likewise, it is the same with patience. We have to choose, to purpose to walk with patience everyday.
Kindness is the quality of being kind. Kindness is being friendly and warm-hearted. It is truly caring about others. It is treating fellow human beings with respect and being beneficial or an asset in someone’s life.
~Pastor Kris Belfils
Kindness goes a long way! People respond positively to kindness. You will win people over with kindness. Love and kindness always go together. Love and Kindness is the opposite of selfishness.
Jesus was motivated by love and kindness. He had compassion on people and moved to heal them. Jesus always receives us and he never rejects us. This character trait is something we need to have in our life. When we show kindness people see we are real and approachable. Kindness builds the Kingdom of God.
Proverbs 20:28 CEB
“Kindness and faithfulness protect the king; he supports his throne by kindness.”
This shows that if we allow kindness and faithfulness into our lives we will be protected and supported. It is a good foundation to stand on instead of building on a weak foundation of sandy efforts, works, and manipulation.
We are fortified when we are friendly and generous. When we are approachable instead of being an island unto ourselves. People will be strengthened around you and feel secure.
Listen to people. Hear about their life. Don’t be so quick to interrupt and share your needs or something about yourself. People want to know you care about them. Listening is showing kindness.
Kindness costs us something. It costs us our flesh. We die to what we might want to say and change it to be what God wants us to say. We realize what we are thinking will possibly hurt or hinder someone and let it go, and in turn, we say things that build up. This is kindness.
1 Thess. 5:15 Amplified Bible
“See that none of you repays another with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody.”
The Greek meaning for goodness is: “Uprightness of heart and life, goodness, kindness” (Thayer Greek Definitions).
Goodness is the action that kindness brings. Goodness is what God is. God is Good. God can’t be anything else but good. Because He is good, he is waiting and looking for people to be good too.
Isaiah 30:18a Amplified Bible
“And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you.”
Being gracious is being good. This is what God is constantly doing everyday.
Psalm 23:6 NKJV
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
Only goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life. Only! Nothing bad, nothing negative.
Exodus 33:18 – 19 Amplified Bible
“And Moses said, I beseech You, show me Your glory. And God said, I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim My name, The Lord, before you; for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy and loving-kindness on whom I will show mercy and loving-kindness.”
Moses asked to see God’s glory. God said he will make all His goodness pass before him. God’s glory is His goodness. That is such an awesome thought that Moses saw all of God’s goodness pass before him. God’s goodness, His glory, goes before us. When we show goodness we literally are showing God’s glory. We shine when we are good.
Each time you have an opportunity; be good to somebody. Don’t let one occasion pass you by to be good to somebody. If you want to be good to somebody, all you’ve got to do is listen to them.
Forgiving someone is being good to them, and yourself. Forgive people when they don’t deserve it. Before someone stops offending you, you can forgive them.
Remember whenever you are good to someone you shine God’s glory everywhere you go. This takes the pride out of us. We realize we are doing it for God and not our own glory. Shine for the King wherever you go by being good to others.
A faithful person knows what God has put in their heart, and even though many times they feel like quitting, they don’t give up.
A faithful person is committed to doing whatever God tells them to do no matter what it costs them personally. If you start something, finish it!
A faithful person sees something all the way through to the end. There are so many divorces and so much job-hopping and church-hopping in society today because many people don’t understand what commitment means.
A faithful person understands that no matter where they may go to church they won’t like everything that happens. Stay where God has placed you. The way we grow is to stay planted in one place.
A faithful person arrives at their commitments early or at least on time. A foolish person is constantly late.
A faithful person is someone we can depend on – someone who shows up where they say they will be at the time they say they will be there, someone whom you can count on to do something they say they will do for you. Be a faithful person! Your reputation depends on it!
Too often we start out to do the right thing and then when we don’t get the right response we change and backtrack and do something else.
Galatians 6:9 KJV
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Your faithfulness and stability benefits others. It helps build the Kingdom of God. It brings security in the hearts who are close to you. They know they can count on you.
God never gives up on us, and we should never give up. We especially shouldn’t be the kind of people that give up on something because it is hard.
Don’t expect to be promoted if you are unfaithful. Don’t expect to be promoted if you do what you want to do and not what you committed to do. Bosses, Pastors, Authority figures are looking for faithful people. Being faithful is doing the right thing over and over and over and over and over again.
Gentleness (Humility and meekness)
The word “Gentle” in the Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language: “Mild; meek; soft; bland; not rough, harsh or severe; as a gentle nature, temper or disposition; a tame; peaceable, not wild, turbulent or refractory, soothing, treating with mildness, not violent.”
Are you a gentle person? How do you respond when someone rubs you the wrong way? Are you rough, harsh, or wild in your response or are you meek, humble, and peaceable?
Phil. 4:5 NIV
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
This fruit of gentleness should be seen by the world, Christian and non-Christians alike should see you as a gentle person. Gentleness preserves us and brings peace.
Meekness is not weakness. Meekness requires great strength. What about Jesus? Scripture tells us that he was “led as a lamb to the slaughter” yet cleansed the temple with a whip! Jesus didn’t have to go to the cross. He said, “Don’t you know I can call on a legion of angles and they would deliver me.” But He humbled Himself under the mighty hand of God because He knew that was what God wanted Him to do and what was going to be best for everybody else.
Jesus didn’t use His power to get out of something but humbled Himself to go through something that He thought God wanted Him to go through. It would be like if somebody really did me dirty and it made me mad and I knew I had the ability to get them back but I refused to do that because I knew it wasn’t what God wanted me to do. That’s meekness. When you have the ability to do something but you won’t do it because you don’t believe that is what God wants you to do. Amen!
If you have the authority or ability to get even or hurt the other person who spoke badly about you this is what you need to do: Forgive, pray, and bless (FPB) and allow God to take care of the situation.
1 Timothy 1:7 Amplified Bible
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”
The Holy Spirit is not going to ZAP you with self-control, no, it has to be worked out in us. We have to learn to take it as our own and walk in it. It is virtually impossible to show forth the other eight fruit of the Spirit unless we walk in self-control.
How can we remain peaceful in the middle of an upsetting situation unless we exercise self-control?
Self-control allows us to be patient when we feel impatient. You don’t wait to feel patience, but choose to be patient.
How about faithfulness? People commit to do something when they’re in the height of emotions, and then when all the emotional stuff is over, they don’t feel like doing what they said they would do.
How about humility? How can I exercise humility without self-control? You can’t. Remember the “50 Fruits of Pride” we looked at when we were looking at Gentleness?
It takes a willing heart and courage to look at ourselves and see the areas we need to change in, but it is so worth the change. God can trust us with more. Our lives are more organized and blessed. We are not being lead by our emotions.
As we abide in the Vine, we will produce much fruit.
I challenge you to decide right now that you will live the remainder of your life giving glory to God in everything you do. As you make that decision and carry it out in your life, you will find your life to be exceptional beyond anything you could ever have imagined.
Love, joy, peace, faithfulness, kindness, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self-control are the elements that make our lives exceptional; they are a reward in themselves. We were born to display them, and we will never be like Christ or be fulfilled without them.
Pastor Kris Belfils