John 21:4 Not Recognizing Jesus

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. John 21:4

When a person is very close to another person, he will be able to easily recognize him. However, when a person is farther away, it is more difficult to recognize the other one.

The more one spends time together with a person, the more he will recognize him at a distance or in a crowd. Every person has certain characteristics that stand out, that make him different from every one else. Only by close association can a person really know those differences.

After Jesus had died, the disciples had went back to fishing, their old trade. As they were out trying to fish, Jesus stood on the shore, but they did not recognize Him, even when He spoke to them.

The world does not recognize God or His voice. They are focused on themselves and the temporary things of this world. God could be right in front of them doing works, but they would not see Him, calling the events coincidence. Often many believers are living in the same way as the world is living.

They are so busy focusing on living in this world or in doing ministry, that they do not recognize when God is standing right in front of them doing something. They are not taking the time to grow closer to God, but to work on the things of this world.

The best way for a believer to be able to recognize God is to spend time with Him. This is taking time to know who He is and what He is doing by taking time to pray and study His word. People often choose to not take the time to spend with God in both prayer and His word.

God is always working in your life. Take a moment to look at your life. Do you see Jesus? Can you recognize His hand at work in your life?

If you cannot recognize Him working, you must shift your focus back to Him. Instead of going back to your old ways of doing things or focusing on just the temporary things, focus on God.

Spend time daily with God in both His word and in prayer. Begin to recognize God and His hand at work in your life. Realize that God is always with you at work.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will spend time in prayer and God’s word; that you will recognize God working in your life and this world; and that you will point people to Jesus.

Fruit Of The Spirit: Self-Control

Self control 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 

Today I will be looking at the last fruit of the Spirit–self-control. Thank you, if you have been following this little bible study on the fruit of the Spirit. If you have not been following and just joined, you can find the other studies here: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness.

This final fruit of the Spirit is the culmination of all of the rest. Without the rest of the fruits, one cannot have this last one. It is one that many people do not really want to talk about or think that they already have it, though most people struggle in this area. Self-control is being able to control one’s own thoughts and actions. It is taking responsibility for yourself.

Self-control is often looked at in the areas of exercising and dieting. Very few people exercise good self-control in these areas and will admit it. However, self-control needs to be exercised in many other areas of life.

Hole in wall

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28

Solomon points out the value of self-control, or rather the destruction of the lack of self-control. In his time cities had a wall surrounding the city to protect it from the enemy. If there was a hole in the wall, their protection was gone. The wall was then worthless and the city could be overrun.

In the same way, a person who does not have self-control in his life has a hole broken through. Not having self-control allows the enemy to enter into your life. It gives the devil a foothold into your life, causing you to breakdown and choose to sin, rather than flee the sin.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19

One are that many people lack self-control in is with their speaking and listening. Many are slow to listen and very quick to get angry. They are quick to strike back with words, cursing someone, when something does not go their way, rather than trying to understand and listen.

Angry person

In order to follow what James is telling us to do, we must have self-control. You have to make a choice to listen. You have to make a choice to be slow to speak and not become angry so quickly. This takes practice over time, because it goes against the human nature.

Immediately many people will rise up now and say that they cannot do this. It is in their nature to sin, that they have no self-control. This is true, if they are relying upon their own strength and abilities. Man does not have any self-control in himself. However, it does not have to stay that way.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, Titus 2:11-12

Titus tells us that God’s grace teaches us to say ‘No’ to sin and to live a godly, upright life that is self-controlled. We have the perfect teacher–God’s Holy Spirit.

Blocking hand

However, just like children in school, we often do not want to learn. Some will say that they cannot do it, it is not in their nature or some other excuse. This is true if you say that, but it does not have to remain true. You can change.

Remember that in Christ you are a new creation, a new person. You have the ability to say ‘No’ to sin and run away from all temptation. However, to do this, you must be in control of yourself. You have to conscientiously choose to not sin or walk into sin.

In your own strength and power this is difficult, even impossible to do. You cannot live a self-controlled, sinless life without God’s help and power.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Another version says that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. God is there to give you all the strength you need to do what needs to be done. This is not just physically doing things, but also strength to do the not doing things, to turn away from sin.

Pushing a bolder

In yourself, you cannot stay away from sin, but in Christ you have that ability. There is no reason for you to continue in sin. Christ has made you a new creation. All you have to do is live as the new creation, live as Jesus lived. Every time temptation pops its head up to cause you to sin, turn to God for strength and a way out of that temptation. Refuse to sin. Allow His Holy Spirit to guide you in the right path.

But all of this is a choice you have to make. It does not come automatically. It is not built into you. You have to be self-controlled. The great news is that with God’s Holy Spirit you can have that self-control to make the right choices every time.

Two choices

Give your life over to God and allow Him to be in control. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you live a godly life here on this earth. As you are filled with His Holy Spirit, you will have to bear some fruit.

God does not want you to fail, so He has given you everything you need to be successful in walking a holy, righteous, sinless life. You must now make the choice to accept it and live in it.

As you are filled with His Holy Spirit, you will show His love, which will lead to joy bringing about peace, which leads to forbearance/patience, bringing on kindness and goodness, which will make you faithful and gentle. Once all of these fruits are in place, you will have self-control to keep in them and in God’s will.

Be the man or woman God has called you to be in Christ Jesus. Do not conform to the ways of this world any longer and remain in sin.

This finishes looking at the fruit of the Spirit. Next week I will bring this study to a finish with an overview of all that we have studied and what it means to you as a believer. Please feel free to comment and/or share this post with anyone you think that could use it.

Fruit Of The Spirit: Gentleness

Gentleness 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 

Thank you for continuing with me in this study at looking at the fruit of the Spirit. If you just joined in this study and have not seen the previous posts you can find theme here: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.

Today I will be looking at the fruit of gentleness, what it is and what it looks like in the life of a believer.

The word ‘gentleness’ was originally translated as meekness in the KJV bible. It is a word that is talking about being mild, not harsh.

Puppy walking

Many in the world see gentleness as a type of weakness. It is often accepted that a woman may be gentle, but it is often discouraged in men. Some women, with the feminist movement, will also look down upon being gentle. With that in mind, very few people are actually gentle.

Throughout the bible there are various verses that give good guidelines as to what gentleness looks like in a person. I will be looking at some of these verses.

The best spot to begin is with God and seeing how He is gentle.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

The world loves to drive and push people. They want to show that they have absolute control. Some believers lead in a harsh demanding sort of way, just as the world tends to lead. They are demanding and forceful, rather than gentle and kind as God is.

God does not have to prove He has control, He just has it. He uses His immense power under control and with gentleness.

Holding sheep

People are just like sheep. They need to be treated gently. Leading is to be done with control, but in gentleness, carefully guiding people or others. This type of leading can only be done when done out of love and care for others, being filled and led by His Holy Spirit.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Harsh words are heard all the time. Watch any political campaign and all you will often hear is slamming other people with harsh words. Crushing the opponent is the goal of many candidates.

Sadly this can also be seen in the church. One believer crushes another with harsh words or they crush non-believers with hateful harsh words. They will often not speak the whole truth that God has given them, but only a portion of what God says.

Choose your words

There will be times when someone is harsh with you. One will say things or doing things that are harsh. Do not respond in the same way. Instead of using harsh words, you  must be gentle towards others. Being gentle will cause another person to calm down faster. Harsh words only stirs up anger and a fighting spirit.

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit and are being led by Him, you will be gentle in what you have to say towards others. Your words will not be harsh and condemning, but full of love and grace, building others up. These words will be gentle.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

People will want to know why you believe what you do. Why do you believe in a person who lived centuries ago? Why do you not do certain things and do other things? Why do you act the way you act?

Better than you

Answering these can be easy, but they can be done in a harsh way. Some will answer it in a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude, looking down upon the person asking the question. Others will answer in a way that is looking at the person as though it was a stupid question to ask.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit will cause you to answer with gentleness. You will not be rude and condescending about it.

Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,2 Timothy 2:25 

As a believer you will have some who oppose you. Watch the news, movies, tv shows, listen the radio, it is everywhere, believers have opponents. There are people who do not believe in God or believe in Jesus. They may not believe in any god or they may believe in a false god.

Some of these may oppose violently, while others may be calm and mild about their opposition, they just don’t agree.

Opposing teams

Many believers have harshly went up against unbelievers. They will quickly condemn them and show no compassion or love towards those who oppose. They want judgement.

However, as a believer, you are to be like God, gently speaking to them with the goal that they will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and repentance. You need to remember that at some point you were just like them without a saving knowledge of Jesus. You did not know the truth.

Fill your heart with God’s love and gentleness towards them. Seek to show them who God is and His great love for them. Hope for a change of heart and that they will follow Jesus.

Being filled with God’s Holy Spirit will change you. He will make you more like Jesus every day. The signs of those changes can be seen in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is a character change. Allow God to change you into the image of Jesus everyday.

Black and white butterfly

Change in the Holy Spirit begins with love, leading to joy, leading to peace, leading to forbearance, leading to kindness, leading to goodness, leading to faithfulness, which in turn leads to gentleness. Allow these changes to occur and be evident in your life. Allow the world to see all these fruits of the Spirit.

Again, thank you for continuing with me on this journey of looking in depth the fruit of the Spirit. Next week I will look at the last fruit, the fruit of self-control. Please be sure to return for this last fruit. Feel free to share this post with any of your friends who may need to see it.

The Fruit Of The Spirit: Faithfulness

Faithfulness 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 

Thank you for returning with me to this study on the fruit of the Spirit. I am sorry I had to miss a study last week due to busyness of things in life with my family.

We have already looked at the fruit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness and goodness. Today I want to look at faithfulness and what that looks like in the life of a believer.

Faithfulness is being true to one’s word in both word and action. It is being able to be trusted in every way.

In this fallen world, faithfulness is very difficult to find. People are faithful only as long as it is beneficial to them and they can see the benefits. As soon as the benefits can no longer be seen, people quit and change their mind, words and actions to go against what they were originally saying and doing.

Woman searching

Employers are no longer strongly faithful to their workers. It is only about making the business look good. Workers do not remain faithful to the employer. They only want to make the most money for the least mount of work.

Proverbs 20:6 Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? 

Solomon brings up a very good point. People all over the world claim to have unfailing love, yet, that love often fails. The person is not faithful to their word. If you don’t believe it, look at marriages. How many people claim undying love at the wedding, in and out of the church, only to end in divorce and hate a few years later?

People are quick to change their minds and hearts towards someone or some task. They choose to step away, rather than stick it out and being faithful. Every excuse under the sun is given to be able to cancel former promises and vows. It is difficult to find a person who is truly faithful.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Hebrews 10-23

The beginning example of faithfulness is found in God. From the first day of creation until this day God has proven Himself faithful. God has always done what He said He would do. God promised salvation to Adam when he was kicked out of the garden. Several thousand years later, God fulfilled that promise in Jesus.

Jesus was faithful to God and to His mission of saving people as He walked on this earth. He did not allow Himself to be deterred from the mission to die upon the cross to save all people.

As a believer and follow of Jesus, we are to be just like Him. This means we should be faithful in everything. God and others can trust that what we say we will do, we will do it. We will always act in love and care for others and God.

“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. Hebrews 3:5

Moses was one who is seen as being faithful to God. Even though he did slip up at times and make bad choices, he, as a whole, remained faithful to God. He led and taught the Israelites as God wanted them to be led.

Sharing the gospel

Our lives should have the same epithet that Moses had–that we are faithful to God. This means we are being His true witness of who Jesus is and what He has done and will do for every person. We are to do the work God has called us to do–be His witness.

Being faithful in being His witness means that we will be that witness every time we can in every situation. We will not back down from being His witness because we are faithful.

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2

As soon as you began to believe in and trust in Jesus for your salvation, you were given a trust. It was an investment in you that was to be built up and increased. You have a work to do.

It is easy to just hold on to salvation and not do anything with it, just as it can be easy to hoard money in order to count it as wealth. However, salvation is given to be also passed on.

Passing on something

Being faithful is not an option. We do not get to choose whether we are faithful or not, we must be faithful just as Jesus was faithful.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23

Jesus gave a parable about faithfulness. Those who are faithful with what God has given them will be rewarded. Those who are not faithful with what God has given them will lose everything.

We have been given salvation and the gospel message. We have been given the duty to be His witness to everyone. Being faithful means that we will pass that message on to others and we will live as though we are saved.

Old faithful geyser

You can ask yourself if God would be able to say that you are a good a faithful servant. Being filled with His Holy Spirit, you will be able to answer yes to that question.

In our own strength, we will fail in being faithful. It is easy to be led astray and change who or what we are following or doing. The world is following their own desires at the moment, changing all the time, unfaithful to anything.

As a believer, you are to be faithful. Jesus has given you His Holy Spirit to give you what you need. As you walk by His Holy Spirit, being led by Him, you will be faithful to God and to others. You will always think, say and do the right thing. God and others will be able to trust that you will always do the right thing every time because you are faithful.

Going back to Galatians you can see how the fruit of the Spirit works in your life. It begins with love that brings about joy, leading to peace, leading to forbearance, which then causes you to be kind and full of goodness. With all of these things you will then be faithful to keep doing them and walking in those fruits of the Spirit.

Again thank you for continuing with me on this little look at the fruit of the Spirit. Next week I plan to look at the next fruit: gentleness. I hope to see you then.

The Fruit Of The Spirit: Goodness

Goodness fruit

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 

Thank you for continuing with me on this journey of looking at the fruit of the Spirit and how it applies to our lives. If you have missed any of the previous studies you may find them here: love, joy, peace, forbearance, and kindness.

Today I will be looking at the fruit of goodness. This is something that a lot of people may ask about…what is good? You may have asked yourself that at times. You may look at yourself and say you are not good and that there is nothing good in you. Yet, Paul tells us that one of the fruits of the Spirit is goodness.

So now the question is what is this ‘goodness’? The interesting thing about this term is that in the Greek the word here used is only used in the Bible. It cannot be found in any other Greek manuscript at all.

Strong’s concordance makes its usage as: intrinsic goodness, especially as a personal quality, with the stress on the kindly (rather than the righteous) side of goodness.

Goodness, then is doing the right thing towards other people at all times. It is how one is towards others, regardless of how the other person acts or reacts. It is the actions and words that one does and says to another person.

Psalm 100-5

The greatest example of goodness is found in God Himself. How is God good? Take a look at what He has done for you. You have sinned against Him, deserving only death and punishment. Yet, God does not strike you, but offers you forgiveness and life. He gives you good things, rather than bad.

As a believer you are to be like God–good. Your words and actions should show the goodness of God, rather than the hate and harshness of this fallen world.

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Psalm 37:3 

David tells us that we are to trust God and do good. This shows that good is an action. In order to be able to really do good, you must trust God. Trust that He knows what is best. Trust that He is in control. Trust that as you do good, He will take care of you, regardless of what the other person is doing.

Hand with knife

There will come days when you have to treat a person with good, who is only giving you garbage and treating you badly. There will be some people who are difficult to love and be good to. This is where trusting God comes in.

When it is difficult to be good towards another person, take a moment to think about how God has been good towards you.

This leads to the next verse:

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

No one can deny that there is a lot of evil in this world. Even the world will admit to this. The world will even admit that there are some things that are evil and bad–murder, rape, destruction. Yet, the world lives in that evil and will even promote it as good in a twisted sort of way.

Overcome evil

Being an individual in this world surrounded by millions who are not living for God, it can be easy for you to give in to that evil or repay back evil for evil. Some day someone, somewhere will do wrong towards you. Someone will treat you badly. You now have a choice as to how you will respond–with goodness or with evil.

Too often, even as Christians, we are quick to call down judgment or run to a judge for a judgment against someone, rather than turning the other cheek and loving the person. Turning the cheek and accepting being wronged is a sign of the goodness of God’s Spirit in you.

The world is quick to talk about a person being ‘good’ but there is a difference in being good for appearance sake and being good from the heart. When God’s Holy Spirit is inside of you, you will be living to be good because of Him being inside of you. You will not be trying to impress anyone or even God, it becomes who you are. Just as God is good and does not have to try to be good, we are to be the same.

Turn in road

Remember that to be a disciple of Jesus is to become like Him in every way. Jesus was good and so we are to be good. This can only be done by His Holy Spirit living in and through us.

Allow God’s Holy Spirit to dwell within you and change you. Starting with His love, then His joy, leading to His peace, to His forbearance, then to His kindness and on to His goodness. These are all the work of God’s Holy Spirit inside of you. It is the process of making you more into the image of Jesus everyday.

Please feel free to leave any comments, likes or to share this with anyone who can use it. Next week I will be continuing this study with looking at the fruit of the Spirit: faithfulness.