“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

– Galatians 5:22-23

FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT

A friend of mine asked me, “How do you know if a person is spirit-driven?” My response was “I look for nine things: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” My friend, amazed, replied, “Boy you are smart.” Not really, I read this in the book of Galatians and use it in my daily life to observe and act.

“In the book of Galatians, Paul contrasts worldly behavior to that of those who accept Jesus.”

Scholarship suggests that Galatians could be the first book in the New Testament. It was written fifteen to twenty years after the first Easter, earlier than the four Gospels, and was the apostle Paul’s first writing in a series of thirteen books either written by Paul or ascribed to him. In the book of Galatians, Paul begins the process of describing a Christian life. Central to this was the attitude of being Christian. In the book of Galatians, Paul contrasts worldly behavior to that of those who accept Jesus. For Paul these nine traits are exhibited by those living by the spirit.

The spirit is in each of us, but do we always act in the spirit? Do we hold doors for others? Are we kind in our comments? Do we avoid gossip at work? Do we patiently listen to our customers? Do we control our anger in the workplace? It is through outward expressions that we demonstrate the spirit. Doubtless, no one ever fully exhibits these traits on a full-time basis. But if we make the traits our goal in how we live our lives, they will emerge. Perhaps slowly at first, but over time we will notice an increase in repetition. An expansion of how we desire to be viewed and how we treat others. A general reconditioning in how we view the world, our business associates and ourselves. An expansion of who we are.

“What is in our hearts is exhibited in our actions. When we truly acknowledge Jesus and God, our lives become the light before people that brings glory to our father.”

In Matthew 7:16-20 God tells us “You will know them by their fruits.” We see this again in Luke 6:43-45, paraphrased teaching us that what is in our hearts is exhibited in our actions.  When we truly acknowledge Jesus and God, our lives become the light before people that brings glory to our father (Matthew 5:16).

I encourage you to read the book of James. In James chapter 2 God teaches us that true faith has a result. True faith bears fruit. We begin to avoid the salacious and negative influences. Our priorities change. Our hearts grow sensitive. Our awareness of our surroundings increases. We will find more people smiling when we enter a business meeting. It will be easier to stand in line. A gentleness will fill our soul. We change.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

 


PARTING THOUGHTS

What do we watch on television or YouTube, is it a reflection of who we are?

Is it a reflection of the spirit?

Do we index to doubt or optimism?

Can others trust us?