23 May 2018
The Holy Spirit promises to grow the Fruit of His Spirit in our lives. But what does that actually mean and how do they manifest themselves on our daily walk, at work, with our families? Lets look at the list in Galatians 5:22-23:
Love: This fruit encompasses them all. When we love because God first loved us (see 1 John 4:19), it shows that we understand grace and have accepted God’s love for us.
Joy: When we know our names are written in the Book of Life, because of His grace, we will be joyful in the way we act and conduct ourselves around other inmates.
Peace: When we have “made peace with God,” we will cease to be anxious. Our fruit will be a calm, untroubled spirit.
Patience: “Passive” love shows itself in a spirit of tolerance and endurance around any type of personality we meet.
Kindness: “Active” love is the most convincing evidence of God’s love for us. When we are kind, people will be attracted to the Word and to us.
Goodness: Generous and good people do the right thing, even when it hurts or pricks our pride.
Faithfulness: Integrity—doing what we say we are going to do—means we walk the talk.
Gentleness: This fruit makes the weak strong and the strong gentle.
Self-control: When we show this fruit to others, they will respect us and be convinced that we have changed.
When we bear this kind of fruit, we will live the abundant, fruitful life and lead others to it, as well!
In Part 1, we discussed crating the right Climate for the Fruit of the Spirit to take root and grow successfully. We talked about how we must avoid the super-storms of pornography, greed, anger, lust and other besetting sins from sending a “killer frost” over our tender Fruit of the Spirit vines and killing them. Today we discuss the long term care of the Fruit of the Spirit, once our Climate issues have been settled.
Cultivation: Gardeners among us know that they take a lot of tending and that weeds grow up faster than the plants we are nurturing. These weeds are a distraction and suck the nutrients from the ground that we intend to go into our plants and vegetables. So, too, it is with the gardens of our hearts that are growing the Fruit of the Spirit.
In every heart-garden where the Fruit of the Spirit is thriving, the weeds of complacency, laziness, self-righteousness and over concern for the cares of this world, thrive. We need to be diligent in the cultivation of our hearts-garden to promote the growth. This spiritual heart cultivation takes the form of personal devotions with God every day. Morning for some is best. Others find time in the evening. But, the discipline required is to spend time with God in prayer, Bible reading and study of the things that nurture our souls.
Cultivating our heart-gardens means getting and staying close to God so that our heart-gardens are being watered consistently. By reading and meditating on His Word, we weed the garden of the smaller thistles, which if let untouched will choke out the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Prayer turns over the soil of our hearts so that new plants can be sown. Soon the Fruit begins to appear.
And, as all gardeners know, this must be done on a daily basis. Doing our cultivating cannot be a “hit-or-miss” kind of affair. The persistent, steady, walk with God is the only way to insure that the killer frosts stay away and the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives produces a bountiful harvest.
12 Oct 2015
The Fruit of the Spirit, i.e., Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness (Generosity), Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control are things we all hope, trust and pray become apart of our everyday lives. Yet, so many of us are at a loss to figure out how to get the Fruit of the Spirit to grow in our lives.
Let’s look at two things that I read about long ago when listening to a sermon by Dr. D. Stuart Briscoe, formerly the Senior Pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Dr. Briscoe mentioned two words in connection with growing the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. I do not recall exactly what he said about the two concepts but here are the words: Climate and Cultivate. The ensuing commentary is from yours truly…
Climate: We need to create and maintain the right environment and climate for the Fruit of the Spirit to grow in our hearts. Consider this: Palm trees do not grow in Minnesota! Why, because every November (or earlier) a cold, northern blast of arctic air passes over the state and kills most vegetation for the winter months. This is necessary disastrous for palm trees. A killer frost and below zero winter cold kills them even if they got a good start of growth during the summer months.
We are all sinful and will fall from grace every day. When that happens, we fall to our knees. Confess our sin and receive forgiveness. But, if we allow and indulge a cold arctic storm of anger, pornography, adultery, drunkenness, greed or other sinful behavior to overtake our hearts and take up residence in our souls, the fledgling Fruit of the Spirit will die. For it to grow, we must have a climate that withstands the normal storms of our fallen characters, but if safe from the overwhelming, destructive sin of habitual killer frosts. We cannot expect to enjoy healthy growth of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit is we are drunk, sleeping around, watching porn, or the like, on a regular basis.
Once we stabilize our Christian walk, and refrain from egregious tsunamis of sinful behavior, the Fruit will prosper. But that is not enough…In the next installment, Part 2, we will discuss how to make sure the crop grows to harvest and completes its good work in our lives…