Saturday, October 4, 2014

Nine Fruits of the Spirit

9 Fruits Of The Spirit

Those who walk with God will seek to be under the control of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit is present in a person's life the result will be these nine fruits. This is the evidence of the filling of the Spirit of God. When we are self-centered, bitter, unforgiving, condemning, filled with self-pity, unsubmissive to authority, and acting in the flesh we can be sure that we are not being controlled by the Holy One of Israel.  This material is from The Foundations of Godly Living that I hope to have for our Berean family soon!
  • Love-This is agape love that is poured out within us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Agape love is a divine love that only believers can demonstrate. This is why those Christians who are filled with the Spirit should live head and shoulders above those who don’t know the Lord. Love is the distinguishing mark of a true believer. Agape love is describes by the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in there truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endure all things. Love never fail…” 
  • Joy- This is the second fruit that Paul mentions. A sad, depressed,  and discouraged Christian is not only a contradiction of what God’s purpose is for our lives, but it is also a very poor testimony to the world that is watching to see if our faith has indeed made any significant difference in our lives. The Christian life is filled with many trials and temptations. We understand that there is a real spiritual war that we face everyday. But in spite of this we should have an overflowing joy in our lives as a result of being filled with the Spirit of God. “The Joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10.
  • Peace- This is the peace of God that floods our souls and is displayed  in our lives even in moments of suffering, persecution, and trials.  God’s people should not only be peace makers, they should also be characterized by the Spirit of peace that fills their lives and controls their emotions. While those who are non-Christians may be tossed about with stress and confusion the one who is filled with the Holy Spirit should be able to handle any situation that confronts them. Over the years I have witnessed many of the Lord’s people in times of great stress and difficulty and I have been amazed at the peace the Lord has given them at those moments. 
  • Long-suffering- The Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit is characterized by patience. Patience is one of the marks and signs of the presence of God in our lives. Impatience is a sin. Those who get upset easily, who fret, worry, and respond in anger, yelling, or complaining are not filled with the Holy Spirit. God’s children should be the most patient in all situations in life for they know that God is sovereign and in control of every detail of their lives. The believer knows that “All things work together for  good to those that love God…” Rom. 8:28. A person who is long-suffering will be enabled by the Lord to show restraint in the tense situations in life. The Holy Spirit gives the believer the ability to refrain from retaliation and outburst of anger. This quality of being long-suffering is similar to the word forbearing. The believer is able to put up with those who are annoying, disturbing, and in return is able to show mercy, kindness and grace to those who don’t deserve it. A sign of a Spirit filled believer is one who does not surrender to difficult circumstances  or collapse under the pressure of trials. 
  • Kindness- This is a very important evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. How kind are you in the situations in life? If a person says they know the Lord they should have this distinguishing mark as evidence of their salvation. Every Christian should be kind and thoughtful to one another. Through many years of ministry I have witnessed many professing Christians display anything but kindness in their dealings with others. The church business meeting, family life, our behavior at work, school, and in public should be characterized by a spirit of kindness that sets us apart from those who do not know the Lord. When I see professing Christians acting rude, snobbish, unkind,  hateful and are mean-spirited I am shocked. This is not the example of Christ. This is not how a Spirit filled believer should live. When the flesh is dominant in a person’s life we have every right to question if that person really knows the Lord. 
  • Goodness- God’s people should be good. They should be known by the good things they do for and to other people. Whether we interact with believers or unbelievers we should be known as good people. Our testimony should be that when others are asked about us that they say of us, “They are good people and wonderful neighbors or friends.” Good deeds and good works should characterize all of our dealings with our fellow men. Someone defined goodness this way:

“Goodness is virtue and holiness in action. It results in a life characterized by deeds motivated by righteousness and a desire to be a blessing. It's a moral characteristic of a Spirit-filled person. The Greek word translated “goodness,” agathosune, is defined as "uprightness of heart and life." Agathosune is goodness for the benefit of others, not goodness simply for the sake of being virtuous.

  • Faithfulness- This is referring to our faithfulness to God, His Church,  and His calling in our lives. One of the evidences of the filling of the Holy Spirit in our lives is that we are faithful in all the things that the Lord commands us to do. Faithfulness makes us trustworthy, dependable, reliable and honorable. Can a person be a true Christian and not be faithful? Occasionally perhaps, but if a person is always unfaithful they have never been born again.
  • Gentleness- Of all the people on this earth God’s people should be the most gentle and gracious to be around. What a testimony the Christian is when his or her life is filled with the spirit of gentleness. Our Savior is gentle, meek and kind. As His children and as those who are molded in His likeness and in His image we too should be gentle and meek. Meekness refers to the believer’s attitude whereas gentleness refers to actions and outward behavior. A Spirit filled Christian is known for his gentle, kind, and Christ like behavior towards those that he interacts with on a daily basis. The greatest example of gentleness was the God of Israel who was described in scripture as One who tenderly cares for His sheep, gently leads them and provides for them. In another example in Scripture we are told that the Lord reveals Himself to us in a “gentle whisper” I Kings 19:11-13. And finally, the Lord Jesus Himself is the example of gentleness for His disciples to follow. The prophet Zechariah tells us the Messiah comes in humility and gentleness, Zechariah 9:9. Those who are filled with the Spirit are characterized by this godly 
  • Self-control- The spirit of self-control is the ability to control our fleshly passions and temptations. If we cannot control our lusts and the sinful passions of the flesh we must consider if we really know the Lord. No Christian is perfect. But there must be some measure of overcoming in our lives and there must be some measure of conviction when we sin that causes us to repent and to long for holiness.

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