Saturday, June 27, 2009


“We also pray that you will
be strengthened
with all his glorious power
so you will have all the endurance
and patience you need.”
Colossians 1:11 NLT

As we pointed out at the outset of the study on the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT, there are nine facets to this fruit. The first three: Love, Joy and Peace basically deal with our thought life; especially in our relationship with God. Today we start with the second set of three: Patience, Kindness and Goodness which primarily have to do with our thoughts and actions towards people and our attitude during trials.

According to the dictionary, patience basically means “good-natured tolerance of delay, or incompetence.” Most of us get irritated when people cut in line in front of us, especially when we are in a hurry and have been in line for some time. We may mutter under our breath, or loud enough for the perpetrator and everyone else to hear. That certainly would not be an expression of patience.

Some people look at patience as “passive waiting or gentle tolerance.” But the words translated “patience” in scripture, are active, robust words. For example Hebrews 12:1 “let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Patience includes the idea of endurance and not only putting up with people who irritate us.

If we had our way, life would pretty much be without trouble or trials, and if we did have problems, we would want God to fix them in a hurry. But we know that’s not what life is like. There are wayward children who keep going down the wrong road, no matter what we say or do. There are medical problems that daily worsen, and God doesn’t heal, no matter how hard we pray. Why does God allow these trials to come into our lives, and why doesn’t he answer our prayers immediately? “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance (patience) has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4

No matter how long it takes for our prayer to be answered, or when answered is not what we asked for, the Holy Spirit will cause the fruit of patience to grow in us - if we keep on trusting the Lord!

Let’s Pray-
Thank you Father for making provision for our growth, even as we go through trying times. By your Spirit cause the fruit of patience to flourish in us, making us “perfect and complete.”

Saturday, June 20, 2009


“I am leaving you with a gift—
peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give
is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27 NLT

The gift of peace which Jesus gives, and the fruit which the Holy Spirit produces in us, is not dependent on the circumstances we face in this world. We can be in good health – be financially well off – have good marital and family relationships and still not have true peace of heart and mind.

We naturally are not at “peace with God,” and no matter how “good” life may be going for us, it cannot change the hostility we have toward God. Even neglecting him is a form of hostility because he requires our allegiance. The good news is that, “Our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies.”
Romans 5:10 By faith in Christ we have “peace with God” and no longer are his enemies.

As believers we not only have “peace with God” but we also are able to experience the “peace of God.” The Holy Spirit produces a tranquility of soul, even in stressful and frightening times. Paul writes: “Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 It is incredible, but even in times of devastating news from the doctor’s office, a foreclosure notice, the death of a loved one, or being served divorce papers; the fruit of the Spirit makes it possible for us to “experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand," as we “Tell God what we need, and thank him for all he has done.”

We cannot manufacture the “peace of God;” it is produced in our hearts by the Holy Spirit as we trust and obey God. However, all of us have had times when the “peace of God” eluded us; our hearts were troubled and we were aware that God was not pleased with us. What causes that sort of situation? When we neglect prayer and time in the Word, it doesn’t take long before we find ourselves thinking and doing things that dishonor God. And in faithfulness the Holy Spirit holds back God’s peace to alert us to the fact that we are displeasing him and need to repent. Sin will rob us of the “peace of God” every time! But praise God, when we acknowledge our shortcomings and repent, God forgives and his peace is restored!! The closer we walk with God, the fuller we will experience his peace.

Let’s Pray-
Thank you Father for the Holy Spirit who causes the fruit of peace to grow in our “hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus.”

Saturday, June 13, 2009


“Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”
Romans 4:7-8 NLT

Joy and happiness are often used interchangeably. But happiness is usually associated with pleasing experiences such as material gain – success or when things turn out to our liking. On the other hand, joy (as related to The Fruit of the Spirit) is the product of the Holy Spirit’s work in our inner life.

The first experience of that divine joy came when we accepted Jesus as our savior, and the Holy Spirit assured us that our sins were forgiven. “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven.” Do you remember? How could you forget? “Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” There is no joy that can compare with knowing we are right with God. All blessings (present and future) flow from that relationship! Having our sins forgiven is so incredible that “there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”

The Holy Spirit produces joy in us even in times of trouble and trials, because by faith we know the Lord is going to bring good out of it. That is why James tell us, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” The way in which our society is heading, it is very possible that Christians, in the not too distant future, may have to endure costly persecution for our faith. Like Jesus, who “endured the cross, for the joy awaiting him,” the Holy Spirit will produce joy in our hearts as he enables us to see beyond the abuse to the reward that awaits the faithful.

The Bible says that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” It’s the strength we need to live a life that encourages others to turn to Christ. It’s the strength we need to “not grow weary in well doing.” It’s the strength we need to face our final hour without fear. C.S.Lewis reminds us “It is not so much the joy of the Lord that we are seeking as the Lord of Joy himself.” It’s when we seek him with all our heart that the Holy Spirit produces divine joy in us.

It reminds me of the little chorus we used to sing years ago.
“Joy, Joy, my heart is full of Joy.
Joy, Joy, my heart is full of Joy.
My savior dear is always near,
That’s the reason why my heart is full of Joy!”

Let’s Pray –
Father, thank you for the joy your Holy Spirit produces in us. Help us to turn from anything that stunts the growth of that divine fruit.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


“Love never gives up,
never loses faith, is always hopeful,
and endures through every circumstance.”
1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT

The fruit of the Spirit has many facets. Over the next weeks (the Lord willing) I will attempt to look at the nine facets recorded in Galatians 5:22.

All true believers have the Holy Spirit living in them. The fruit of the Spirit are the Godly qualities that grow in us to the degree that we are yielding to the Spirit’s control.

The word love is used in many ways in today’s society. “I love my wife – my cell phone – coffee – springtime – etc.” “Making love” is another expression. But the love we’re talking about today is unconditional divine love, the love that was demonstrated in the life of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 13 tells us this kind of “Love is patient and kind.” It endures mistreatment and hardships without grumbling and complaining. It has the capacity to return good for evil, and to pray for those who persecute us! This love enables us to be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven us.

“Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.” If we feel bitter and unhappy because of other people’s advantages, or possessions, we are not displaying God’s love. The same is true if we get “the big head” and brag to appear better – richer etc. than others.

“Love is not rude.” It is not ill-mannered - disagreeable or discourteous in manner or action. Instead, it is polite and treats others as it desires to be treated.

“Love does not demand its own way.” Demanding our way is pure selfishness and it will destroy any relationship in a hurry.

“Love is not irritable.” What a sobering thought, whenever I get irritated or annoyed, I am not showing love.
“Love doesn’t keep a record of being wronged.” It’s ready to forgive and move on. "It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.” It’s always on the side of what is right.

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” It’s not the nature for Godly love to give up, because Love is who God is!

Let’s Pray –
Father, Jesus perfectly lived your unconditional love even to the point of dying on the cross for us. Help us to fully yield to your Spirit so his fruit will fully mature in our lives.