The Fruit Of The Spirit: Kindness

Kindness word

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

Over the last several weeks I have looked at the fruit of the Spirit–love, joy, peace and patience. Today I will be looking at kindness.

Kindness is the act of meeting the needs of someone else. It is not being harsh with other people.

The world is always looking for people to be kind. Everyone wants others to be kind to them, to not hurt them or do anything wrong to them. However, many people are not really that kind to others. Harsh words are said. Lying to others occurs. Cheating on others occurs. Violence and abuse is rampant. Hatred abounds.

The believer, the follower of Jesus is to be different.

Throughout the bible many people requested of others to be shown kindness. They did not want to be harmed in any way. There were some that did show kindness.

Naomi exclaimed that Boaz had shown great kindness when he provided food for Ruth.

Wheat field

In 2 Chronicles 2, David gave honor to the men from Jabesh Gilead for their kindness in burying Saul after he was killed. This honor was given when the kindness was shown to his enemy, who was out to kill him.

David later wants to show kindness to anyone who was left from the house of Saul, his enemy. He understood God’s kindness to him and wanted to pass that on to others. The interesting thing with David is that he is showing kindness to the family of his mortal enemy. As king, he had the right to destroy all of Saul’s family line, but he chose instead to show God’s kindness.

“In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:8

Isaiah quotes God in talking about His kindness. God was angry with Israel for rebelling against Him and following false gods, but He chose instead to be kind to them with compassion, giving them what they really needed.

Person sitting by road

Years later Jesus gives a parable about the good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37. This man showed kindness to the enemy. He had the man given right to ignore the man on the side of the road, but chose to help him instead. He not only helped him in the short term of getting him to the hospital, but took care of all of his expenses.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4

Paul points out the value of God’s kindness. It is because of His great kindness that one is led to Him to repent. God is not a God who just judges harshly and condemns everyone. God wants to save people. He wants a relationship with people. If He were not kind, then we would never have a chance to be saved. We would be afraid to repent, because we would fear harsh judgment.

Romans 2_4

Let a righteous man strike me–that is kindness; let him rebuke me–that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. Psalm 141:5

Most people take offense at a rebuke, but David had a different thought on what a rebuke may look like. A rebuke is a harsh condemning of an action or word and is thus usually hated. He saw a rebuke from a righteous (believer) person as good. He saw a rebuke as an act of kindness. This rebuke would cause him to refocus back onto God and check himself in his actions and words. Not giving a rebuke would be to allow a person to continue to live in sin or in a wrong way. Kindness will point Him towards God and His word.

Colossians 3_12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

The final verse I want to look at is written by Paul in Colossians. He tells the Colossian church to clothe themselves with kindness. This should be a mark of the believer.

There are many more examples of the kindness of Jesus shown in the gospels. He was kind to the blind, the lame, the lepers, the drunkards, the adulterers, and sinners. The only people Jesus was not very kind to were those who claimed to know God, but went against God in what they did and taught.

Every day you will have plenty of opportunities to show kindness to others. It could be in the checkout lane at the store, at a gas station, driving down the road, passing by a person on the sidewalk or many other places and situations.

You will have many people who are enemies to you. They will harm you either physically or emotionally with words. When this occurs you will have a choice to either retaliate in anger and vengeance or to return their harm with the kindness and love of God.

Open brown door

Being a believer you will have God’s Holy Spirit in you. With His Holy Spirit in you, you should be displaying His kindness towards everyone. This is another fruit of the Spirit.

If you examine your life and find you are lacking in the area of kindness, seek God for help. Examine how God has shown you kindness and then become more like Jesus in showing kindness towards others. Let your life be marked by one as having kindness towards everyone.

The fruit of the Spirit continues to grow from each one to the next. As you have God’s love showing in your life, you will have His joy, which will bring about His peace, which will bring about His forbearance/patience, which will bring about His kindness in your life. These are the first four fruits that should be evident in your life when you are following Jesus and are filled with His Holy Spirit.

Thank you for continuing on this journey of looking at the fruit of the Spirit. Next week I will continue on with looking at goodness.

Fruit Of The Spirit: Forbearance/Patience

Patience on blackboard

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

Over the last few weeks I have looked at the fruits of the Spirit–love, joy and peace. Now I will be looking at forbearance or patience. The NIV translates the word as forbearance, while many other translations translate it as patience. Both carry the meaning of holding up under pressure or during trouble without anger, anxiety, or frustration.

Patience is something that is not often seen in this fallen world. Things cannot happen fast enough. No matter how fast something is, in a short time people want it to be faster.

Take a look at computers and how fast they are today compared to forty years ago and yet, people complain that they are not fast enough. Or look at the speed of driving down the road. Regardless of how high the speed limit is, there are some who will drive faster.
Frustrated with computer

The patience in these situations are just with things. People are also lacking in patience when it comes to life situations. Promotions do not come fast enough, someone does not return a text or phone call fast enough, a person is not checking out fast enough, and the list goes on indefinitely.

Others are also not patient with themselves. They did not learn fast enough, they did not change fast enough. They were not successful enough or some other fault that they see in themselves.

For many believers a lack of patience is found in waiting for a person to change a habit or for God to answer a prayer.

In all of these ways and many more people are not patient.

The bible is filled with examples of people who were patient and those who were not patient. Joseph was given a vision of him being a ruler. Before that came about he was thrown into slavery and into prison. But after many years of patience, he became the second in power over Egypt, only under Pharaoh.

Empty prison cells

David was anointed to be the next king of Israel. He had to run for his life for many years before he became king. He had multiple opportunities to seize the throne, but he would not take it by force. David waited for God to hand it to him. He waited in patience for God to move.

Job went through may trials and a lot of loss in his life. Yet, he waited patiently for God to restore him and stop the trials. He refused to curse God in his struggles, even when he did not understand what was going on or why it was happening.

The ultimate example of patience is Jesus:

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2b-3

The ‘enduring’ in these verses is patience. It is putting up with trouble and keep going forward without anger or frustration.

Snowy mountain

Jesus had taken on the all the sin of every person for all time and the anger of God the Father’s wrath against that sin so that you and I could have forgiveness and life. As He did that, He did not complain or murmur. He took with patience and love.

Now with describing patience from the bible and examples of how patience was displayed, what does that mean for you and I?

Good thing you asked! We are to live our lives just as Jesus lived His…with patience. So what does that look like?

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

If one is patient, he will not be quickly provoked to anger. In other words he will not get angry when someone does something wrong or does not change like he thinks they should.

Roaring bear

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

It takes a lot of patience to keep doing what is good and right. This is especially true if the person who you are doing good to is not grateful or despises you. Be patient because there is a reward for you from God if you do not give up.

Wrong way sign

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

God is love and we are to be like God—love. Everything that we say and do or do not say or do not do must be done out of love for God and for others. When we have the enduring perfect love of God in our hearts, we WILL be patient with ourselves and with others.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

When you are anxious about anything, you are not at peace. Something is wrong and you are worried about it and striving to change it. Instead of being anxious bring it to God with thanksgiving and allow Him to deal with it and guide you through the situation. Relax and be at peace about it, rather than uptight and anxious. God is in control, let Him be.

Anxious lady

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 

You will have afflictions, sicknesses and problems, Jesus promised that you will have trouble. Be patient. It will not last forever, though it may feel like it at the moment. Hold on and be patient because God is in control and is bringing you through the situation.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7

People will do wicked things. Good people in the church will do mean things or wrong things. Be patient and wait for God to move. Don’t forget God is in control of every situation. He sees what is going on. Be patient as you wait for Him to take care of the situation.

Control room

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

You do have faults, but God is working on you to fix them. He is building you into the image of Jesus. Do not be so harsh and impatient with yourself, but keep moving forward in Jesus with His Holy Spirit growing and changing daily. God will finish the work in you He set out to do. Be patient with yourself.

There are many other verses throughout the bible that talk about patience. Take the time to look them all up.

Seek God in learning to have the patience that the Holy Spirit can bring into your life. In order to get it, remember that you will have to go through some tough struggles challenging your patience. You cannot learn patience without a struggle against it. People and situations will challenge you.

Satan does not want you to be patient, but to blow your top and get angry, causing you to say and do things that are sinful. He wants you to fail and he will do what he can to bring that about.

Hold onto God and be led by His Holy Spirit and you will have patience.

Holding bars

When you are bearing His fruit of love, you will have joy. When you are bearing the fruit of joy, you will have peace. When you are bearing the fruit of peace, you will have patience or forbearance. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and bear His fruit. It is worth.

Thank you for continuing with me on this journey of looking at the fruit of the Spirit. Please feel free to share this with someone who can use it. Any comments or thoughts will be appreciated.

Next week I will be looking at kindness. I hope to see you then.

Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

Peace word

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

Over the last two weeks I have looked at the fruit of love and joy. Now I will look at peace. Peace is something that most people want. They desire that the world would be at peace. Most do not like to have any turmoil or troubles in their life.

Nearly everywhere one goes, there is always someone who is seeking peace. People all over the world have days that are filled with stress. Some are wondering if they will still have a job soon, some worry about their health or the health of a loved one, some are stressed about politics or wars, stressed about the economy, and stressed about many other things. They want to slow down in life and be able to relax with no worries or concerns.

Relax by water

The common belief is that if there is peace, there is no battles, wars or troubles of any sort. There is only tranquility and calmness. Everything looks picture perfect where there is peace.

However. that is not the picture that the bible presents with peace. The peace that God gives is much deeper than simple tranquility and no wars or trouble.

Jesus said:

John 14+27

Jesus said He was giving us His peace. It was a different peace than that which the world gives. This peace is tranquility, but not in the same way that the world views tranquility. It is peace in spite of trouble. It is a peace that surpasses the troubles of this world.

Later Jesus said:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 

There will be trouble in this world. The reason there is trouble is because of sin. Ever since Adam and Eve had sinned and were cast out of the Garden of Eden, there has been trouble and sin.

Looking at the this world, it may appear as if sin and the devil are winning the battle. Sin appears to increase more and more. Nations that once were founded on Christian principles are no longer holding to those principles and are actually making rules against those principles.

Busy people

This can be stressful for the believer if he does not have the proper perspective of what is really going on. If you do not have the Holy Spirit in you opening your spiritual eyes to see what God is doing, you will be stressed out and without peace.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit and following Jesus with all of your heart will give you a peace that the world cannot understand nor have. You first of all have peace between you and God.

When a person does not follow Jesus, he is an enemy of God. There are some people who claim that they are not against Jesus, but just don’t want to follow Him. To not follow Jesus is to be His enemy. You are not doing what He wants you to do, doing what is best for your life.

Soldier with weapon

The other peace you have in being filled with His Holy Spirit and bearing His fruit is peace in knowing that God is in control. Regardless of how ugly this world gets, regardless of the persecution one may go through, God is still in control.

As you are struggling with the troubles of this world, breakdowns, debt, death, sickness and more, you can be at peace knowing God has your best interests in mind. He is allowing what is best for you as long as you follow Him.

The peace, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, will show up in your calmness during times of tragedy and troubles. When people hurt you or cut you down, you will be able to respond in love because you are at peace.

Calm mountain lake

God’s peace is an internal peace that comes from the heart, not outward circumstances going a certain way.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 

Your life needs to be one of peace. An inner peace that comes from God’s Holy Spirit. Peace that the world does not understand or have.

As you know and have the love of God and His joy, your life will be characterized by His peace. Love for others will cause you to strive to have peace with others. Love for God will cause you to obey Him and keep peace with Him. Joy will take away all anger and anxiety and replace it with peace.

Woman at peace

I trust that you will allow the fruit of the Spirit–peace to shine in your life, evident in every area of your life for God’s glory and praise.

Thank you for continuing to go along with me on this study of the fruit of the Spirit. I hope you are being blessed by this study. Please feel free to share this with anyone you think may need it.

Next week I will be looking at the fruit of the Spirit–forbearance. I hope you will return to continue this study.

Fruit Of The Spirit: Joy

Joy sign

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

After setting the base of love, Paul mentions joy as the second fruit of the Spirit. Joyo is something that people sing about during the Christmas season–Joy to the World. Yet, joy is something that appears to escape or evade many people.

Walking around and looking at the faces of people, very few show any signs of any type of joy in their lives. Often all that is seen is hurt, pain, suffering, and depression, anything but joy.

Suffering man

What is joy?

Often people will think of joy as happiness, but it is much more. Throughout the bible joy is often mentioned.

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing (joy) in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:7

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Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them! Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles, 16: 32-34 

Psalm 16_11

There are also many other verses that talk about joy. Joy is found in heaven and on this earth. We are to be filled with joy.

So what is joy? It is more than just happiness, it is extreme happiness. It is happiness in spite of what is going on around you. Being filled with God’s joy is being filled with His extreme happiness and pleasure.

You may now be asking how can I be filled with joy when this world is filled with such hate, destruction, pain and suffering. My life is full of hurt and pain. I am struggling to survive, so where can I find joy in all of this?

Elephan struggling

Joy can be found in the Lord and in the salvation that He provides. Take a moment to look at and read 1 Peter 1. After talking about salvation, Peter says that in all this you greatly rejoice, even though you may be going through many trials.

Think about how exciting salvation is. All of your sins have been removed forever! You get to live forever! You have a day that is coming in which there will never be any more sorrow, pain, suffering, sickness or death! Jesus is preparing a place for you in heaven so that you may be with Him and the Father for all eternity!

Man with joy

All of these things are wrapped up in salvation, what Jesus did for you on the cross. And one of the greatest things is that this salvation is free. All you have to do is accept it, deny self and follow Jesus. What better news could you ever receive than this?

While the world has no hope and is seeing only death and destruction, you can see life beginning and spreading around the world. God is a God who brings life to people, not death. He wants all to be successful in Jesus and building His kingdom. This is a great joy to have.

Along with what God is providing for you, you can also see when God moves in the hearts of other people and they begin to follow Jesus. All of heaven is rejoicing over the new salvation. You can also rejoice with great joy.

Now as a believer and follower of Jesus, you are filled with God’s Holy Spirit. You have His Holy Spirit living in you and guiding you. If you have His Holy spirit living in you, then there should be some sign of His presence in your life. This is where the fruit of the Spirit comes in.

Cluster of grapes

You should be bearing fruit as to what is inside of you. Your life should be one that is bearing and showing love (self-sacrificing love) and joy. Do not be like many in the church walking around with a serious frown on their face and no joy in life at all.

Allow joy to overflow in your life so much that those around you cannot help but see it and get a taste of it in their own lives. Live in the positive mindset that God has saved you, given you a new life and He is in control. This will show joy to this world.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this. Next week I will be looking at the fruit of the Spirit–peace. Until then, may your life be filled with God’s love and joy.

Fruit Of The Spirit: Love

Love on a fence

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

In the book of Galatians, Paul is talking to the church in Corinth. He is looking at a church that is being divided in what it means to be a believer in Christ. Some were stuck on the old way of doing things, such as circumcision and what is ate. Others were saying that there was freedom in Christ.

Paul points out that there are two ways to walk in this life. One is in the flesh, which is living in sin and sinful ways. The other is living by the Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, which is living in righteousness and holiness.

Man at two paths

The challenge now comes in as to what does it look like to be holy before God. What does it look like to live a holy life or to walk by the Spirit?

Actions that occur in life have results. These results show the true nature of the action. Driving too fast around a corner will result in a crash. Telling lies will result in being untrustworthy.

Plants grow up and bear some type of fruit. It is a result of the plant growing and maturing and doing what it is supposed to do. Each plant bears fruit in accordance to what type of plant it is. An apple tree cannot bear oranges, but only apples. A pear tree cannot bear apples, but only pears. It has to keep within its own nature and what it is supposed to do.

Apple tree

Just as there a signs of what something is by its fruit or results, there are signs and results in those who are believers in Jesus Christ. Every believer will want (or should want) to live and walk as Jesus did. He was always led by the Holy Spirit in everything that He did.

Believers who are walking as Jesus did by the Holy Spirit will bear the fruit of the Spirit. There are results that will show when one is walking with God.

The first fruit that I will be looking at is love.

Couple on a bench

Love is something that people talk about a lot. They fall in love, they fall out of love. They love something. They love someone. They love to do certain things. And the list goes on. Yet, what is love? Is this the love Paul was talking about as a fruit of the Spirit.

To find out what love is we must look to the bible and see what its definition is. The greatest short definition of love is found in 1 John:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:8-10 

God is love and Jesus is the exact representation of God–love. God does not just tell us that He loves us, but He shows His love for us.

It is easy to say that you love someone or something, but it is harder to prove it. It takes effort on your part to show it.

Showing effort is easy sometimes. When things that are going well for you or people are treating you well, it is easy to say that you love that something or someone.

Running stairs

The real test of your love comes when things are not going well and others are not treating you correctly. You may love your car when it is running correctly, but it is easy to begin to hate and despise it when it keeps breaking down or has faults in it. How you react to the situation or person determines if you are showing love, if you really love the person.

Most often when someone treats a person badly, the reaction is anger and striking back, retaliation. People want to get back at the person or get even with him. Does this show love?

No, it shows selfishness and hatred.

Selfish me

Selfishness is the exact opposite of love. Love is all about the other person, whereas selfishness is all about self.

Look back at the verse John wrote. God showed His love by sending His Son as a sacrifice for your sins. Love is action, not just words. It is self-sacrificing action for others. Love is putting others above yourself, your needs, wants and desires.

This is the very opposite of what the world wants and displays. The majority of the world is all about self. This even occurs when large donations are given. The donations are given for a tax break or to look good to others, not out of true love. Often the donations are given out of the abundance, not out of the limited and need, or sacrificially.

Giving blood

Sadly many in the church have fallen into the same way of thinking as the world. People do various ministries in order to look good to God or to other people. They want to be seen as holy and righteous, when in reality they are very selfish.

Showing the love God shows will often be difficult and painful. The one who shows true love will often get hurt by the ones they are showing love to. Yet, this is what God wants of the believer.

We, as believers and followers of Jesus, are to be just like God–love. We should be the embodiment of love, love incarnate.

As you are led and walking by the Holy Spirit, you will begin to show that perfect love. It may not be perfect, but it is striving towards the perfect love of God each and every day. Love will govern every thought, action and word each and every moment of every day. It will never take a day off from loving. It will never set love aside for selfish reasons or to get out of the struggle to love.

Love tiles on bible

The other benefit of showing true love is that you will not sin when showing that love. You will love God, so you will not do anything against God. You will love people, so you will never try to hurt them in any way on purpose. You will make the right choices every time, because they are motivated by love and by God’s love for you.

Seek God to reveal to you how your love life is. Is it an example of the temporary, selfish love that the world shows? Or is it the love that God has for you and this world, perfect, unselfish and self-sacrificing?

Allow God’s Holy Spirit to fill you up with His love. Allow His love to govern your every thought, action and word. Let the fruit of love be evident to every person who sees you.

Thank you for stopping by and reading. Next week I will be looking at the next fruit–joy.

A New Study

Bible study

It has been a while since I have done a topic study of something in the Bible. With a lot of prayer and consideration I am being led to do a new one looking at the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23.

I want to look at each part of the fruit of the Spirit and what it means and looks like in the life of a believer. I desire to look at what other verses say about each of the parts and how it applies to the life of a believer.

This will begin next Monday and will continue one part of the fruit of the Spirit each week for nine weeks. In order to be ready for this study, I encourage you to read the entire book of Galatians. It is only six chapters long and should not take more than about 30 minutes to read through. This will give you an overall pictures of what Paul is talking about and what leads him to talk about the fruit of the Spirit. If you cannot read the entire book, please, at least read chapter five.

Be willing to let others know about this study coming up. Between now the time the study begins, pray that God will open our eyes to what He has to say and how to apply these things to our lives. Pray that God will change us to be more like Jesus being filled with His Holy Spirit that demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit.

See you next week!