Tag Archives: Galatians

No Law Against

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

I hate to admit this. There are just some things, some parts of verses, that I just kind of skip over every time I get to them. They just seem to be hanging around, not much use to me. I do realize that God says the entire Bible is inspired and is profitable for me, but I still roll past some words like they have no bearing on my life.

These words have always been in that category until I did this study. In fact, I was not going to write anything about this last portion of scripture. I was going to go on to the rest of Galatians and leave this be. The Fruit of the Spirit is enough meat out of these two verses

Then God corrected me.

He spoke to me spirit and said write about the significance of what the end of verse 23 really says. I told Him I wasn’t sure, but He assured me once I started writing He would help me see why these 6 words are so of. Ok, Lord, Here I am!

Against such there is no law. No law has ever outlawed these things, and let’s hope that no law ever will. After all, how can someone outlaw love, or joy or faith? Let’s take a close look at just how true and how wonderful this fact is.

There is no law against love. This basic need of human existence cannot be outlawed. It pools deep within us like an ocean just waiting to engulf those around us. But bigger than that is our need for love. We are no talking here love, which is corrupt and full of lust. That is so readily available we can never miss out on it. But it is no substitute for this Fruit of the Spirit love. This love is a true giving love that puts others first and treats all others with respect and dignity.
There might be some out there who would say that we are making laws that restrict love. The current culture wants marriage to be a word that describes any kind of relationship that is loving and caring in this world. There are those that feel we make a law against love when we say that marriage is between a man and a woman, and needs to be defined that way, the way the bible defines it from the beginning. But even if we do make a law against this form of love, this is not the godly Fruit of the Spirit love that Paul discusses here. So there is still not a way against love and there never can be. Those of us who care Christians will always have this love inside us and we will always do what we can to spread it to others. It is planted within us, yearning to get out and spread its seeds to those around us.

There is no law against joy. We are talking about joy here, not just happiness. This joy is sop much more than happiness. This joy is like a fountain to those who walk in the spirit. It bubbles up inside us and cannot be contained by any effort of man. No matter what comes our way we are filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. When we are tempted and tried we face it with joy. When life seems dark and gloomy, this joy comes in the morning.
There are some that say we make laws against their joy when we outlaw things that make them feel better, or make laws against things that they enjoy doing. The current culture looks to ease laws on some drugs that many feel should be available because, like alcohol, these drugs make them feel good. They make them feel happy. But do not confuse this happiness with joy. Laws that are made affecting our happiness have no bearing whatsoever on our joy. The Fruit of Joy is much deeper and more significant than mere happiness. It is planted within us, yearning to get out and spread its seeds to those around us.

There is no law against peace. Quite the contrary, we make laws all the time hoping to attain peace. Peace is something the world longs for and cannot attain. Nation rises against nation because of differences in idealism, border disputes or long-standing feuds. Our inner-streets are run by gangs who see violence as a way of life. People have disputes with others because of differences in religion, life philosophy or the color of their skin. Peace in this world is a long way off.
But the peace that is the Fruit of Peace is always prevalent. It is not subject to human passions or disagreements. It is deep within us to keep us calm when the storms of life rise up against us. This peace flows through us like a river that never stops, that has no ending or beginning. Our task is to call on is when we have need of it and spread it to others, sowing the seeds of peace to all around us, despite the world’s seeming lack of peace.

There is no law against longsuffering (patience). If there is one thing this world needs more of it is patience. We see everyone wanting their own way now, not later. The haste with which we often treat each other is not God’s way. God would have us bear with one another and hold our opinion when it could cause problems. Nations make laws that say they will be more patient and bring sanctions against those who do not want to play by the rules.
There are no laws made that say patience cannot be exhibited. I have never seen anyone who would even suggest we put some law in the books that would stop people from being more patient. The Fruit of patience is always there for us if we call upon it. We need to be the ones who show patience with others and spread it to the rest around us.

There is no law against gentleness. Can you even begin to imagine someone making a law that says you must be loud and vulgar? Or a law that dictates we all should fly off the handle at the drop of a hat and treat each other with disrespect all the time? Of course not! Even though so many in our society act like this on a regular basis doesn’t mean we will ever make a law condoning this behavior. Quite the opposite in fact. We are always trying to get people to be more civil, and making laws that tell people to be more gentle and kind – I think of anti-bullying laws right away.
Our world needs more humility as well There will never be a law that says you must be proud and exalt yourself above others. There will never be a law that tells us we must boast and brag about our accomplishments. There will never be a law that dictates we must not be humble and nice to each other. The world needs more of all of these traits, not less. We must display this fruit at all times in hopes that some seed will fall on fertile ground and grow in the hearts and minds of those around us.

There is no law against goodness. If there are laws against any of the fruit of the spirit, this one might come the closest to having a law against it. Goodness speaks of moral character and conduct. It embodies doing the right thing, or being righteous, in all situations. This moral character and conduct is that which God condones, not our human tendencies. Our morals can be changed and can corrode with the culture we are in. The fruit of the spirit goodness will not decay or corrode. This moral character stays true to the intent God had for it all the time.
Many nations, including our own, are no enacting laws that give place to questionable moral behavior. These laws dictate that we must accept things as normal that God calls abomination. These laws dictate that wed must lower our moral standards and go against our own moral code of biblical truth when servicing our customers. That is why I say this could be seen as a law against goodness. But in reality, it is not. Because this fruit within us cannot be touched by human laws. It is given by God, and only He can remove it from us. Even though this world might try to destroy this fruit, it will remain for all to see. And the seed that comes form that will continue to be fruitful.

There is no law against faith. No one can ever tell us we cannot believe. It would be impossible for a law to be made against this basic tenant of our human existence. God says He has given to every man “the measure of faith” (Rom 12:3). It is rooted deep within us from our birth, and goes with us all the days of our life. No government can ever say that it is forbidden to believe in things, no matter what those things are. Even in Hitler’s Germany, the Nazi’s believed in something – in their superiority. It may have been a messed up belief, but it still took faith!
Making laws against certain faith systems and beliefs is not making a law against this fruit of the spirit. In countries where Christianity is outlawed, people are still allowed to believe and have faith in God, or Allah of whatever other religious system they are a part of. People cannot be told they must abandon their faith all together! Having faith is a fundamental right of all. Sharing that faith will produce a harvest of both faith and souls.

There is no law against meekness. Today we see people boasting all the time in their accomplishments. Sports stars exalt themselves for the way they played that last game. Movie and TV stars have endless awards shows that lift them up and make them feel like they are the best. Politicians do everything they can to put their best face on degrade their opponent. There is no quiet strength – only boasted strength.
There is also a prevalent air of offense. It seems people take offense at the slightest thing anymore. People’s feelings are hurt by a passing comment. Things are taken out of context all the time. Then these injuries are gossiped about and bickering ensues. There is an endless stream of bad feeling and discord because everyone takes offense so easily.
No one would ever consider a law against meekness. It is lost in our society. We need to display this fruit all we can so that others will see it is possible to live above the offenses of others. As we, the body of Christ, do everything we can to show others this meekness that inherits the earth, they will see how to overcome the injuries and offenses that this world will bring.

There is no law against temperance. Let’s make a law that says people must drink all the alcohol they can on a daily basis. Or maybe a law that they must eat all the food in their cupboard every day. Or perhaps a law that says they must always shout as loud as they can, no matter where they are. Absurd, isn’t it? Why would we make such laws? These would be laws against our natural instinct to do things in moderation, or with temperance.
We would not dare make such laws. Mankind has a need for temperance in all things. This fruit of the spirit helps us as Christians be more approachable to those who are seeking, or even those who are lost. It makes us hold back on being overbearing in our witness to the point of driving people away. We need this fruit so badly in our society today. But most of all, we need this fruit in our witness.

As you can see, the Fruit of the Spirit are essential not only to the body of Christ, but to the whole world. They need us to be examples of what life could be like if only they would taste the Spirit for themselves. There will never be any law made that can make these things of lesser value in our world. They are invaluable!

Be Blessed

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Fruit of Temperance

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Last, we come to temperance – something that our society in the United States are not very good at. Oh, how we need this fruit of the spirit more in all areas of life these days. This particular fruit is probably the most ignored of all of them in so many ways. It’s time we all open our eyes to what temperance really means here and all start to practice it, including the one writing is post.

This is a pretty simple word to understand. It literally means mastery or dominion from within. We call it self-control. It is taking control of all the areas of our life with the help of God through the Holy Spirit. Without their help, we would be lost in taking the kind of control God wants us to have.

Some of the areas in life where we must exhibit self-control are more obvious than others, they include the everything we take into our bodies for one. The fact that our nation becomes more obese all the time shows that we don’t put temperance into practice like we should. I am guilty of this often – eating too much or too fast and becoming useless for a while because I feel like a stuffed turkey. I do not drink, so alcohol is not a problem, but we will know what kind of a problem it is through our nation. Drug abuse is an epidemic in more ways than one and is destroying a lot of people. It’s time every Christina, including myself, got mastery of what they put into their bodies.

Self-control also exhibits itself in some kind of an exercise program that enables us to live to our full capacity. Isn’t that hat God would want for us? He gave us a beautiful muscular-skeletal system to live in and we are supposed to take care of our bodies. Another area where I am not as good as I could be. Exercise, good sleep and diet all feed into temperance in this area.

The next area we think about is having temperance in our anger. Control your temper they say and that is very good advice. But it goes much farther than anger. We must have temperance when it comes to the words we say, how we say them, the attitude behind them and the body language we use. All of these things need to be under the self-control of temperance.
I remember when I was raising my three daughters. They would always tell me wife I was yelling at them and I didn’t even raise my voice. The problem was my tone. I had a very stern tone, and my facial features were naturally intense. It looked like I was yelling, and the roughness of my voice made it seem like I was yelling even though I never raised my voice. I did not have any self-control over those areas of my life. Believe me, I have learned it now, but it took a long time. Temperance in our verbal and bodily communication is a must if we want to be properly understood.

Then there is temperance in our thought life. How well do you control the thoughts you allow into your mind? Thoughts that feed the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life? These things are always creeping up on me! I want more in the way of possessions, or I am envious of someone’s else’s gift, or I feel that little burst of pride rising up inside me again. All of these things that can strangle our Godly thought life must be kept in control under the fruit of temperance.

Temperance is in all areas of our lives yet we seem to focus on those areas that are the most noticeable and dangerous. But I say anything that is not handled with temperance can become dangerous if it is not a Godly trait. In fact, even Godly traits, if not handled with temperance, can have a negative effect. Mercy without truth, grace without judgment and trust without assurance can all lead to a very soft Christian. We must put temperance on a higher plateau in our lives – it is what will speak to the world about our integrity more than any of the other fruit. That is a big part of why the world is turning away from the church. Hypocrisy is a bi-product of no temperance, no self-control. Let us all walk in this fruit more carefully.

Romans 13:14 (KJV)

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Here is a perfect picture of temperance. Do not make provision to fulfill the lust of the flesh. If we put on Christ – walk as closely to Him every moment of every day that we can – then we can better control what our flesh will and will not do. This self-control does not mean that we deny the flesh completely. If we did that, we would die! What Paul is talking about is doing more than what is needed to survive. Putting the flesh first and Christ second. We must have this in proper order to walk in the fruit of temperance.

We all know what happens if we start making provision for the flesh. Once we give in to some little lustful thing, whether it’s food or gossip or soft porn, our mind will travel back to that place more often. Our flesh will crave to see or do that again. Our mind will try to listen to our flesh and succumb when we allow it to. Then we go into a spiral until the fruit of temperance is called upon to bring in self-control once again. It’s a vicious circle that never ends until we decide to set out hearts and minds on Jesus continually. Maybe some of you are there! I have a long way to go.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (KJV)

25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

When we work hard at mastering our own bodies and minds, we become temperate in all things. This brings us to a place where we can be among our friends or our enemies and keep our heads above water all the time. After all, we are heading toward a crown that will never fade away. We are running a race that has a certain ending and are not just beating the air trying to win something we know not what!

Paul says he keeps himself in subjection, self-control, temperate all the time. Why? Because even Pal knows that if he does not, he could lose that salvation even though he has preached to others. Temperance keeps us running the true race and running it the right way.
Titus 2:11-12 (KJV)

11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

It is God’s grace that slowly teaches us how to deny ungodliness ands worldly lusts. This world will not teach us that. This world says to be someone great, strive for mastery in all sorts of arenas as we grow up. This world will turn us away from God in a heartbeat if we do not gain the temperance to deny it.

Live soberly, righteously and godly instead. Now there is a beautiful picture of temperance. Soberly means with moderation or self-restraint. Righteously means characterized by uprightness and morality. Godly means believing in God and the importance of living a moral life.

1 Corinthians 14:32 (KJV)

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

Self-control even extends to our spiritual lives. We have an obligation to make sure that we are speaking what God desires us to speak, in the timely fashion He asks us to speak it. A prophet is simply a spokesperson for God. In a sense, we all can speak words of prophecy and often we are asked to. There are very few of us who hold the biblical office of a prophet, but our words can still have a profound effect on someone’s life.

Do you ever have that stirring in your heart that you really should say something to someone that you feel God is asking you to say? I know I do. I am not always obedient to that voice, though. That spirit of prophecy is subject to me. One of the many things I must learn is to discern if it is God that is asking me to speak a thing, or if it is my own desire to teach that person that is prodding me to speak. This is a key point. If it is me, I am usually better to hold my tongue. If it is God, I should never hold my tongue. But that word God has given me is subject to my willingness to share it.

Self-control goes both ways, you see. There is the side that holds back in an area of life, like appetite or desire, in order to keep your life in the right harmony with God and man. Then there is the side that must expand and grow, like our spiritual walk with God and our ability to do as He asks. Both of these things fall under the fruit of temperance. Both are issues of controlling our own lives and flesh in the fashion God desires of us. Both are essential.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Here is temperance at it’s best. First, we get rid of those things that would become idols in our lives because they distract us from being obedient to God. I’m not sure how your thought processes work, but I know mine are often interrupted by thoughts that draw me away from my closeness with God. They turn my attention to things that would try and dominate my life again, things from the past that the enemy wants me to step back into. With all my heart, my desire is to serve God. But these thoughts have a way of creeping in and planting a wedge in my heart. This wedge grows deeper and deeper until I can cast down that imagination. I must cast it down or I will find myself drifting farther and farther away from the only one who can help me do that. If I do not cast it down, I may find myself too far away to consider calling for His help. I may find that I justify the thoughts and entrapment they are bringing me into. My self-control will wax fainter and fainter if I do not get these things taken care of. Believe me when I say this happens more than I would like to admit.

But God gives us the fruit of temperance so we can escape the evil thoughts of our minds. We can run away from the imaginations that the enemy instills in us and capture those thoughts before we get too far away. He then shows us how to turn back to Him through the word and bring our thoughts once again under the obedience of Christ. We repent, turning from those evil imaginations and instilling the word of God back into the heart and mind that had left them behind. Those thoughts we had been having are taken into captivity – shut up in prison – not to emerge victorious in our lives. Our obedience to Christ one again takes center stage and we thrive in His presence, wondering how we ever got going down that other road.

I am so thankful for the fruit of temperance in my life. I need to learn self-control in so many areas. As I allow this fruit to grow by practicing it, I can become stronger and stronger in my obedience to the Lord. That obedience is, after all, subject to my self-control. It is subject to the whims and wishes of my life and my flesh. If I can become fully sold-out to Jesus, fully perfected in His will, then I don’t have to worry about this. But how many of us reach that plateau? I have a long way to go, and I plan on running the race with all endurance to try and reach that mark of the high calling of the Lord Jesus Christ. Is your self-control, that fruit of temperance within you, striving for the same?

Be blessed!

Fruit of Meekness

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

I believe meek is one of the most misunderstood words in the bible.  Most people think it means weak, quiet, lowly, shy, and other things that depict someone who won’t speak up and lacks any authority.  According to the world, a meek person is easy to manipulate because they are submissive.  In fact, Webster’s defines meek as deficient in spirit and courage, submissive.  But another definition in Webster’s says meek is enduring injury with patience and without resentment and mild. While I would say the first definition by Webster is not even close, the second is right on target.

The Greek word translated meekness is prautés.  This word means gentle strength, or power with reserve and gentleness.  A definition I came across years ago is this:  meekness is that temper of spirit in which we accept all of God’s dealings with us as good without disputing or resisting.  This fruit is displayed as a complete trust in God when the world turns their back on us.  Meekness understands that the injuries and insults that man inflicts are methods that are employed by for our chastening and purifying, and we stay above offense when these things come.

As believers, this word begins with God and ends with Him empowering us and giving us direction.  This fruit is the one that enables us to submit to God’s authority, move by His direction and act within the power that He gives us.  This fruit enables us to stay calm in the storms, to act with wisdom in moments of trouble and to take action when everyone else seems to be at a standstill.  We are always ready to serve others but have a voice of authority to lead many.  A person with meekness knows that any power or authority he has comes from God.  And even with this power and authority, he remains gentle and humble, submitting to God at every turn.  To me, this fruit is one of the more powerful ones because it entails submission to God and the direction He gives us.

Throughout the bible there are many people who displayed this quality of meekness.  We will look at some scripture later, but first I want you to see these pictures of meekness as I see them.

Enoch was a meek man.  Not much is written of him – just 4 verses.  They say he was born of the second oldest man in the bible, gave birth to the oldest man in the bible, and lived the shortest life of all those before the flood because God took Him home.  The whole commentary of his life was that “Enoch walked with God.”  Wouldn’t you just love to have that as your epitaph.  It takes an extreme humility and meekness to be said you walked with God.  I can only pray that people will say that of me someday!

Noah is then comes to my mind.  I can’t imagine the ridicule he went through while he was building that ark.  It took him 100 years to complete it, all the while telling people a flood was coming.  100 years of put downs, questions, screaming names at him, not believing a word he says, calling him moron, idiot, stupid, fanatic and who knows what else.  Yet he kept building.  He kept believing God, following His direction and counting on His power to keep anyone from ruining His project.  He spoke with authority throughout those 100 years and trusted God to have his back.  He never doubted God would bring Him through.  Noah was a meek man.

Moses was called the meekest man in the bible (Numbers 12:3).  Many translations use the word humble, but I believe meek describes him better.  He knew where his authority rested and was never afraid to call on that authority, but always remained a servant and intercessor for the people.  He was humble enough to serve, yet bold enough to rebuke God at times!  This is a perfect picture of meek – knowing where the power comes from and always resting in that knowledge and trusting it will bring the answer when the time is right.

Job was a meek man.  He accepted what came upon him yet always remained faithful to his God.  When his friends confronted him and ridiculed his faith, job stood steadfast in his faith.  He realized God was in control of the situation and would not bow to their pressure to admit something he did not do or deny his God.  Instead, he came to God with his questions, and God answered in His time.  And God’s answer was the type of answer a meek man gets – a double portion.

I could talk about Elisha, David, Daniel, Hosea, Jesus, Paul and so many more who were meek in their walk with God.  They are all examples of this exemplary fruit that we tend to pay so little attention to.  But I want to get to some scripture so you can see what this meekness is all about.

Titus 3:2
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

Titus roles into one sentence three attributes of meekness that we would all do good to follow.  Speak no evil – meaning by implication say only things that are good.  A meek person has his mind set on Phil 4:8 and Eph 4:29. We’ve discussed these scriptures before so I am not going to get into detail.  Our hearts need to be right to walk in the fruit of meekness and hat takes our minds going in the right direction at all times.  If you are not familiar with these two scriptures, I adjure you to dig in and get acquainted.  The Phil 4:8 study has been posted as a page on this site.

Be no brawlers.  When I see the word brawlers, I automatically think of punching some in a street fight.  This is only a small apart of the meaning.  This word means a contentious person, one who fights with words, not just actions.  This person does not bring peace into a situation, but trouble.  They complain, backbite, grumble, murmur, gossip and cause all manner of strife and havoc.  Even if you are an occasional small-time brawler, you are not walking in the fruit of meekness.  Stay away from this trait in your life completely.

But gentle – fair and equitable in all things.  Not judgmental to the letter of the law, but looking for the intent of the heart.  I was always amazed at how Jesus would answer a question with a question when the leaders of the day confronted Him.  This was masterful because it kept Him away from being contentious.  He did not answer by saying it was a dumb question, or by putting down their beliefs. He caused them to think about their question in a different light. Then he took that light that had been shined on their them and explained what it meant.  Oh, how I would love to have that manifestation of the fruit of meekness more often.

These three examples teach us how we can show meekness to all men.  How we can practice the fruit of the spirit.  Like all other fruit, as we walk in meekness we plant seeds of meekness in others.  Hopefully those seeds will sprout and we will all become more considerate, kind, gentle and considerate of one another.  That is the way Christ intended us to be.

Colossians 3:12-13 KJV

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

 I believe these are listed in the order Paul sees as a priority.  Mercy first – where would the others be without mercy!  Kindness second, as kindness is an extension of mercy.  Humility, as our lives in serving God are nothing without humility and lowliness.  Then meekness before longsuffering, or patience. To me, that shows the high priority we should place on learning how to be meek.  Although it is listed near the end of the fruit of the spirit, and that sometimes causes us to think it is not as important, Paul places it of greater importance here than a fruit that was listed before it – longsuffering.  Why?

Without meekness, we would not be able to have the patience we need with others to carry out the verse 13.  Forbearing and forgiving others is an essential step in making heaven our home.  Remember, Jesus said if we do not forgive others, our Heavenly Father will not forgive us! (Matt 6:15).  Forgiveness comes out of a heart that is meek and mild, patient with others and humble.  We will have aa hard time forgiving if we are being brawlers and speaking bad things about others.  Let us remember to have this fruit of meekness active at all times.

Galatians 6:1 KJV

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

We will be looking at this verse in more depth soon, so I don’t want to give too much away.  I just want to point out that when a brother or sister is sliding away from the truth and God has placed that person on our heart, our obligation is to utilize the spirit of meekness, or the fruit of meekness, to do all we can to love them back to God. It is meekness that will be attractive to them as they struggle in their faith.  It is meekness that will be understanding and kind, not bringing blame, but mercy and love.

James 1:21 KJV

 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Receive the word of God with meekness.  Don’t be contentious with the word of God.  Don’t use it as a sledgehammer with your wife or children.  It is the most powerful weapon we have against the enemy when we learn to receive it with the humility, gentleness, understanding and non-contention that meekness brings to the table.  When we allow our meekness to go before our Bible reading, we open ourselves up and allow that word to graft into our spirit, becoming one with us.  This is where we really grow in wisdom.

Why?  Because one definition of meekness is knowing that all the power and authority come from God and He allows me to walk in those things.  This power and authority is embodied in the word of God and in the person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus even said He came in the Fathers name, implying He came in the Fathers authority (John 5:43).  When we understand this concept, we can walk successfully in this fruit of meekness and the Word can truly come alive in our lives and in our teaching and sharing with others.  Never contentious, always gentle.

Matthew 5:5 KJV

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Meekness has a reward along with it.  It brings us the earth.  It brings us the blessings of success and prosperity.  Inheriting the earth means to be at peace with all around us as we wait on the Lord.  This beatitude comes out of Psalm 37 verse 11.  As you look at this Psalm, there is a wonderful description of what meekness entails in verses 3-8, which read like this:

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

When we walk as the psalmist asks us to walk, we are walking in meekness.  The fruit of meekness will be ever-present in our lives, and we will go on, as the psalm does, to defeat the enemies around us and be at peace.  This is how I want to live.  How about you?

Fruit of Faith

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

When I first saw that faith was list as a fruit of the spirit, I thought that this was some other form of faith than the one I practice every day. After all, there is a gift of faith, and that is a gift is a faith that surpasses a normal every day faith in God, right?

The gift of faith is an actual infusion of the faith of the Holy Spirit into our souls to believe God for what our human mind would have a very hard time believing God for. Then that gift if Faith, since it has no doubt and does not waver, accomplishes what the bearer of the gift asks. This divine infusion may then stay until the prayer line is done, or it may leave after that particular person – it does not stay with the believer at all times. At least that is how I perceive the gift of faith.

But the fruit of faith – is that something different than our own faith? The faith we used to accept Christ, the faith we used to believe God for things during our walk with Him, the faith we practiced when believing God for healing? The answer is no! The fruit of faith has been with us since even before we were saved, because it is the faith that was given to us by measure from the time we were born (Rom 12:3). If not for this seed of faith, no one would come to the Lord! No one would have that faith it takes to accept His grace. It is a gift, a seed planted at the time we were conceived. It has operated in us while we were children believing for the tooth fairy to come at night. This faith is what we have relied on all our lives.

The fruit of faith may have grown in us before we accepted Christ. Some have more faith when they are children and can pray with the sincerest elder saint in the world. Then, as they grow older, they neglect this fruit and wander away from faith, and the fruit starts to whither on the vine. This would describe my walk. My faith withered, but a friend started to water that seed, and nurture it, and the fruit of faith once again started to grown within me. I finally accepted Christ at 24 years old. I thank God my faith did not fully wither away.

For others, their faith just grows on a steady curve because they stay in the word and practice their faith. They keep it active and alive through worship, prayer and the word. They understand that their faith grows and is tested when trials come. They know that the greatest victories come out of the worst trials – their faith tells them this. The fruit of faith just keeps growing, and as a result, we plant seeds of faith in others and cultivate and water those seeds. Their fruit produces more fruit and becomes fruitful. This is a glorious fruit indeed!

The most wonderful thing about this is that if you don’t have the faith you would like to have, you can rest assured faith can grown in you because that is the nature of fruit! Fruit grows and multiplies. As you take little steps of faith and believe for the smallest of things, your faith can grow (Matt 17:20 says all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed). As you recognize God is delivering you from one thing after another instead of giving credit to luck or circumstance than your faith can grow (Proverbs 3:6 says acknowledge Him in all your ways). Then there is this:

Romans 10:17
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

As you read the word, take note of all the acts of faith that are recorded there. Take note of all the miracles, all the healings, all the times of deliverance, all the obstacles overcome, all the divine prophecies that come true. All of these things happened by faith. Read Hebrews 11 – the faith chapter – and see all the works of faith. All these things are in His word to help build your faith! Spend time in the word of God and you can’t help but have your faith built up.

We all have gone through times when our faith is stronger, and when it is weaker. It is in these times that God will direct us to His word or will bring about situations in our life where we have to extend our faith. He will put us together with people who have less faith so we can see our faith working. These are the times we must take note of because these are the times our faith will grow and be fruitful. Never doubt for a minute that God wants this fruit to grow in you.

Romans 5:1 King James Version (KJV)
5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Justified by faith. I have heard that word justified described as meaning “just as if I’d never sinned”. I like that! It is by faith we accept the sacrifice of Jesus as a replacement for us. We are the ones who sinned and deserved death, yet by faith we acknowledge He is our substitute. It is only by faith we can take that step. Our logical mind will never comprehend it. Faith is what brings that truth inside us.

In fact, our whole salvation experience is by faith. Yes, we can explain what happened to us, and all that Jesus has changed in our life, but in the end, it is faith that attributes all those things to Jesus being alive in our life. That is why the secular world just doesn’t get it. They want physical proof – science – to explain everything. If science can’t explain it, it can’t be true. It may indeed be true to us, but not to them and their logical mind. Creation, original sin, virgin birth, Red Sea parting, Jordan river parting, Holy Spirit infilling – all of these and many more are by faith. Your and my salvation is at the top of that list.

James 1:5-7
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

Whether it is wisdom or healing or deliverance or any other thing, we must ask in faith. It is our faith that makes these things become a reality to us. Remember, God always knows what we need. But He wants us to verbalize it so He knows that we know what we need. The story of blind Bartimaeus is a perfect example. It was obvious to everyone the Bartimaeus was blind, yet Jesus asked Him what He desired. God wants us to recognize the needs in our lives, and then come to Him with those needs. This fruit of faith then does its work.

However, if we truly expect a response, our faith must not waver. It must not stop at the request. It must not give up if the answer does not come right away. Our faith must be steadfast, immoveable and resolute. The fruit of faith must remain through every test and trial it faces, through every prayer that does not get answered immediately, through every persecution the world would bring when prayer is not effective for them. This fruit continues to bloom as we acknowledge God in the littler mercies He gives us amidst the bigger prayers and requests. We keep it growing by knowing He is at work at all times. Make sure your faith is always working, always growing!

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

When our faith is truly engaged, we can see the answer before it comes. We can know beyond a shadow of a doubt our request will be answered. Why? Because our faith makes it a reality in our life. Faith extends beyond the circumstances and brings the result into our mind, and we walk toward that result by faith. Our prayers are given substance by our faith, and our mind realizes then evidence.

My cancer is a prefect example. When I was diagnosed, I prayed a simple prayer – that God would use it for His glory. I asked God for complete healing, to be stronger when I finished than when I began. I knew He would grant that request. I could feel it and see it in my spirit. I could sense the testimony of healing that would come out of this disease. I just trusted Him all the way through, because my faith had been extended, and the substance of that prayer of faith was and still is a reality to me. I am close to normal again. The neuropathy in my hands legs and feet is about all that remains of the cancer (from treatment). I know that will be gone as well – by faith.

1 John 5:4
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith

Our faith enables us to overcome this world. We can try to hide from it, to fight against it with words or actions, or to do it in our own strength. But in the end, it will be our faith that will bring us victory. It is faith that gives substance to our prayers of deliverance out of any bondage that would still remain within us. It is faith that allows us to rest comfortably when others would panic. It is faith that brings us joy when our world is crumbling apart. You cannot just summon these things up. It is faith that they are there that will bring them to the forefront.

Overcoming the world is serious business. There are so many attractions, so many things to lure us away from Christ, so many thigs that can capture us and our imaginations. But through faith, all of these allurements can be overcome. All of them can be put behind us. We just have to believe that and then act upon it. It takes a faith that will reach out every day, every moment of every day. A faith that will listen to the voice of truth and not the leis of the world. A faith that never wavers and never ceases. This fruit of faith brings us the victory – and we overcome!

Romans 4:21
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

I put this verse in last because even though it does not mention the word faith, it is all about faith. Being fully persuaded means that we have been brought to a place where we are convinced of something. There is no doubt in our mind. This takes faith! His word will fully persuade us if we spend the time in that word to search out the truth. We must take the time to learn about this faith, this marvelous fruit, that He has given us. When we understand the depth of faith he wants us to display, then we can work toward cultivating this fruit to that place.

Once our faith has come to it’s full state, we then are persuaded that He will do what He says He will do. That means every promise in the book is mine! Do you know what he has promised you? He has promised healing, deliverance, wisdom, blessing on your family, flocks, career, home, land, etc., and so many more things. They are all yours when you become fully persuaded – when your faith is engaged.

This is probably one of the easiest fruit to grow within ourselves. I could cite many more scriptures, but I want to wrap this up with a quick reference on how to make your faith more fruitful. It’s not hard at all!
1) Read the word of God and recognize all those things that faith accomplishes.
2) Acknowledge the hand of God in everything that transpires in your life
3) Realize that prayers are answered all the time, and give thank for those answers
4) When answers are taking longer, recognize the little mercies along the way
5) Don’t allow anything to minimize your faith – let it be unstoppable.
6) Trust God in everything and give Him praise for everything that enters your life

If you follow these simple steps, you will see your faith growing steadily. The results will amazed you!

Fruit of Goodness

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

After studying gentleness in the last post, you might wonder what is different between that and goodness, and it would be a good question. After all, gentleness embodied doing good things for others and being humble and considerate. What can possibly be added when discussing goodness? Why this seeming duplication of fruit?

The Greek word used for goodness is not even closely related to gentleness. It is agathósuné. It is used only 4 times in the New Testament and is always translated goodness. This goodness is a natural goodness and in the Greek is only used in terms of spiritual goodness, not secular goodness. It is a goodness that comes from God alone and shows itself as spiritual and moral goodness. This does not have anything to do with what we do for others, but what we are on the inside. It encompasses integrity and virtue. A definition that I like is this: The state of being good, kind, virtuous, benevolent, generous and Godlike in conduct and character.

Guaranteed good works will come out of a person filled with this fruit but there is so much more here. The person who is full of this fruit flows in good character, so anything that comes from him is good. This person is always thinking on the right things, always says the right things and always does the right things. He does not have to change his mind on things or think about the reactions he will have to life situations because the goodness inside him always reacts correctly. This goodness is very Godlike in its conduct, word, thoughts and actions. This fruit is one we should absolutely strive for, and overflow with. Imagine a world filled with people basking in this fruit!!!

Exodus 34:6
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

The word goodness here is the Hebrew word chesed and is most often translated lovingkindness. Take a hard look at those two words linked together. Loving and kindness – what a powerful combination. This is what God’s goodness means to us. It means He will be loving to us and show us kindness every day. No matter what we may do or say, not matter how far we might drift, no matter what obstacle seems to be in our way, He will show us lovingkindness – goodness. Romans 8:38-39 tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. That is His goodness working – His lovingkindness.

The person filled with this fruit does not allow petty offenses, whether in word or deed, to stop their lovingkindness/goodness from being displayed toward the believer or the unbeliever. Especially the unbeliever! Their goodness overrides any hurt and continues to show love to those that might do them wrong. Can you begin to see why this fruit is so important? It is the one that brings us to a place of loving our enemies and reaching out to them to show them the love of Christ. It is vital to us all!

Psalm 23:6
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Of all the things that we would want to follow us all the days of our lives, the Psalmist narrows it down to two things – goodness and mercy. This 23rd Psalm is beloved by all and is a go to verse in times of trouble of fatigue. David captures the heart of every believer here and many of us can recite it anytime we come to a place of trouble. It calms and soothes us with its masterful words. When it all comes to an end, goodness and mercy are what the Psalmist wants following him. Why these two things? Why not grace, or love, or peace, or joy, or hope, or any other thing that God supplies?

Mercy is a natural here. We would be completely lost without God’s mercy. Christ is God’s mercy displayed, His salvation completed and provided for us on the cross. He had mercy on us all the days we were not saved, and He still extends His mercy once we are saved. Without mercy, we would all perish tomorrow! Mercy must be with us all our days, so the psalmist hits a home run with that attribute of God.

Goodness is something we overlook, mostly because we do not understand it I think. But His goodness must follow us or the troubles of this world will cause us to remove ourselves from the love He says we must display. His goodness is what keeps us walking in that God-like love that brings us peace and joy in the midst of troubles. It brings us hope to restore our relationships in the midst of offenses. This goodness is what gives us strength to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. It keeps us praying for those who despitefully use us. Without this fruit of goodness following us, all these things would fade. How essential is it? Extremely essential!

Psalm 31:19-20
19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!
20 Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

Notice what God’s goodness does for us, as described by the psalmist. First, it was laid up, or set aside, for all who fear Him, for all who hold Him in high esteem. It is something He has saved for us! It is an attribute He has worked in us when we trust in Him. Goodness becomes stronger in us when we trust Him in the difficult times. This trust allows us to overlook the faults of others and spend our times thinking on His goodness instead. What a treat this is for us!

His goodness hides us in His presence! What a wonderful place this is. I want to dwell in His presence, feast at His table and bask in His glory. When I do, the pride of man cannot affect me. It cannot hurt me. Their words will bounce away, their actions will be cast aside, and only goodness will be on my mind. His goodness. He will also keep me in a pavilion, a fortress, a refuge. This place will guard me from the evil tongue pf my enemy. Their words will not overcome my faith and hope. They will not be able to turn me against them, no matter what they say. The will not be able to offend me with any words that might come out because I am hid in Christ. They will not cause me any strife whatsoever. I will rest in my God and in His goodness!

Psalm 107:8-9
8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

Are you hungry for more of God? Are you hungry for whatever He has for you? If you are, He will fill you with goodness! Goodness that contains all the other attributes we need to be Godlike in this world of hurt and strife. He will satisfy us with the goodness He has. This goodness will bring us peace, joy, hope, love, patience – all the things that define who God is. It will bring us to move in mercy and grace to those who might try to bring out the worst in us.

And those people are out there. There are people who will do anything they can to try and show we are not really Christians. They goad us, tease us, offend us, do harm to us, lie to us, cheat us and do all manner of evil against us. Their desire is to see us react with a worldly reaction. But we have been filled with goodness! When we are filled with goodness, that is what will be visible to those who try and turn us away from Godlike character. Be hungry – and be filled!

I think I will leave off there. You can see how essential this fruit of goodness is to us. I bet you always thought this was about being good! Right? Goodness is so much more than that. It runs much deeper than that. It is our very conduct and character. Our very existence! If you find yourself lacking with this assurance, this goodness, ask the Lord and be hungry. As we have seen – He will fill you with goodness!

Fruit of Gentleness

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

When you think of someone who is gentle, what comes to mind. The first thing that comes to my mind is a gentleman. My recollection of what a gentleman should be includes opening doors for people, being kind and courteous at all times, soft-spoken and looking after the cares of others before himself. He would be humble and not boast of his accomplishments. He would consider helping anyone who has a need. He would take care of his family and their needs, finding ways to discipline that were not demeaning or hard to follow. He would be a friend to all and would have few enemies. He would always take the high road and stay away from disputes or arguments unless he felt he could bring peace into the situation. Just an all-around nice guy!

The man described above seems to be lost in our world today. Now we see everyone out for their own gain, arguments and harsh words abounding, and no one able to make peace. People are looking to improve themselves first and will roll over anything in their way. They boast of what they have done, even if it has hurt others. Their families are torn apart or are ruled with an iron fist. The gentleman is lost – so is the fruit of gentleness.

I came across the following definition of gentleness back when I did this original study in 1990 and would like to share it with you. Gentleness is a disposition to be gentle, soft-spoken, kind, even-tempered, cultured and refined in character and conduct. Gentleness has humility as a trademark (I bet you knew humility had to come in as a part of the Spirit’s fruit somewhere!). Isn’t that a beautiful definition?

The person who is full of this fruit is living in Philippians 4:8, always thinking on those things that are lovely, pure, honest, true, just, virtuous, praiseworthy and of good report. As a result, those are the things that come out of him. I did an extensive study on this particular verse. You can find that study HERE if you’d like. This verse is perfect to describe the thought process of the one who is gentle.

The Greek word used here is chréstotés. It is translated goodness, good, kindness or gentleness. This word is derived from a word that means useful or profitable. It speaks of someone who is fit for the Masters use, profitable to God. This is someone who meets real needs without being harsh. Isn’t it beautiful how we can pull so much meaning out of the Greek when we take the time. Now let’s take a look at some of the scriptures when this particular Greek word is used to pull get a better picture on what this fruit of the spirit provides for us.

Romans 2:4
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

“The riches of His goodness.” That goodness is what led you to repent of your sins and be saved! God’s goodness is the opposite of our wickedness. Remember what Isaiah said? My righteousness is as filthy rags (Is 64:6). I was not good – God’s goodness is what drew me to want to be good. His goodness showed me there was another way to live – a good way. His goodness attracted me until I decided to get rid of my sin – my filthy rags – and take on His goodness, His righteousness.

The fruit of goodness is what people see in us that makes them wonder why we are different. When we display this fruit, the unsaved see something different, something good in us. They see humility instead of pride, politeness instead of rude, even-tempered instead of a hothead. They compare that to the rest of the world, and they want that goodness for themselves. The Holy Spirit draws them and they come to repentance. Do you now see how valuable this fruit of the spirit is?

Romans 11:22
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

Remember, this word gentleness is translated goodness most of the time. We look at passages with goodness in them to get a picture of what this gentleness entails. This verse tells us that goodness is the opposite of severity. God’s severity is what cuts off those who fall away from God. His goodness is what keeps us! But Paul says here that we must remain in His goodness or His severity will cut us off as well.

For those of you who may believe in eternal security, here is a verse that you must come to terms with. There is no second guessing what Paul is saying here. We must continue in His goodness! What does that mean? To me, it means we must continue to do the good things that God has asked us to do. In another place, Jesus says only those who do His commands, or the will of the Father, will see the kingdom of God. We all have to make sure that we continue to do those things God asks us to do until the day He comes to take us home. There is no retiring from God’s workforce!

2 Timothy 2:24-26
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

We must not strive but be gentle. Strive means to devote serious effort or energy, or to struggle in opposition. Both of these definitions oppose gentleness. The gentle person will give serious energy to something, but it will be done behind the scenes so as not to attract attention. The gentle person will not struggle if they are opposed to something. They will do everything they can to maintain peace while looking for a compromise or an alternative.

Notice once again that gentleness is tied to repentance. This can be no coincidence.
God’s gentleness, as we have seen, is a key to our repentance. He is kind, good and
gentle with us until we come to the decision to confess our sins and turn away from
them. Our gentleness with those who are not saved will be a beacon of light to them. It
will show them that we are not judgmental. We will be kind to them and draw them
with love. The fruit of gentleness once again will lead a soul to Christ.

James 3:17
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

God’s wisdom is gentle. He imparts wisdom to us, and that wisdom should always be
gentle to others. We should never allow the wisdom from above to give us a superior
feeling, or a feeling that we can do anything but good with it. This wisdom is given to
edify and exhort fellow believers. We should always do this with the gentleness of God.
He does not come down with an iron fist or withhold His tender mercy from us! Why
should we ever do anything out of strife or contempt? All that we do should be with this
fruit of gentleness, doing what is right and just to all, with a spirit of humility.

Exodus 23:5
5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.

Proverbs 25:21
21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
Matthew 5:40-45
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

These last three portions of scripture show us what gentleness looks like in real life. It
helps the person who hates us, it feeds our enemy and it loves and blesses those that
curse and persecute you. When we look at these scriptures, we can see God’s
gentleness toward us displayed. He helped us when we were His enemy, when we ran
from Him, when we were saying all kinds of things against Him. He provided us food
and drink when we hated Him, when we were determined to live our own way and do
our own thing. He was always there, providing for our daily needs. He never said
anything harmful to us, but only did good.

God loves us despite how we feel toward Him. He is gentle with us whether we love Him
or not. That is because it is this very gentleness that will draw people in. It is the good
that is done that will show others that God is for the, not against them. He draws them
by sending blessings on them even though they have not come to Him. He sent His
Son, Jesus, to die for our sins while we were yet sinners. Jesus was gentle and mild, as
a lamb gone to slaughter. He gave His life in gentleness so we could be saved.

Have you responded the gentleness of God? Have you given Him your all and taken on
this fruit of Gentleness? Are you displaying this fruit for all the world to see so that God
can use it to draw men to repentance? It’s time to rise up as the church and show the
world the gentle nature of God. It is this very gentleness that will win the lost! Isn’t
that our mission?

Be blessed!

Fruit of Long-suffering (or Patience)

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

When I look up longsuffering in Strong’s Concordance and study it out just a little bit I find something very interesting. Have you ever seen somebody whose nostrils flare up when they get angry? Or they start breathing hard just before they blow-up?? This identifying trademark of anger is used as a part of longsuffering. The other part is to wait a long time before it happens. So basically, Strong’s says that longsuffering means holding off on being angry, or to suffer long with someone when they make us angry. This word is often translated patience in other translations.

I found the following definition for long suffering a long time ago and I think it’s one of the best I’ve ever heard.

Longsuffering means to bear long with the frailties, offenses, injuries and provocations of others without murmuring, repining or resentment. Another shorter definition is patient endurance.

When you look at the definitions above how much longsuffering is alive in your life? I think longsuffering is a very good word to be used here rather than patients. When we talk about patience we often think I’m just standing by and waiting for something. Or being slow to criticize someone for something they have done or said. But longsuffering brings a lot more into the picture in my opinion.

Long suffering hold us off from taking offense from other people. It keeps us from judging them when we don’t have all the facts. It keeps us from gossiping or murmuring or complaining about what they’ve done. It actually almost puts us at peace in the midst of a storm of things that have happened because of somebody else. We bare long with these things. Why is this important? Because an angry Christian doesn’t have too much of an opportunity to witness. When are anger is in control we usually will not be very good at communicating with other people especially when they get under our skin. If you are somebody that gets easily angered the fruit of long-suffering is the one that you need. This is a much more powerful fruit than most of us give it credit for.

Let’s look at a few scriptures that talk about long suffering in the Bible.

Exodus 34:6
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

I think it’s very telling longsuffering and goodness are the only fruit of the spirit listed in the attributes of God that He shared with Moses on the mount. You might remember the the instance. Moses asked the Lord if he could see His face and God said no you can’t see my face because if you see my face you’ll die. But I will pass by you and I will hide you in the cleft of The Rock. As the Lord passed by He proclaim the words in this verse. So this is God’s description of himself.

And knowing that He uses the term longsuffering to describe himself and it’s grouped in with mercy and gracious, we can see what a powerful word longsuffering is. Mercy and Grace are the two thiinngs that provide us all the bessings, forgiveness, love, compasssion – well, they provide evrything! Can you think of times that God has been longsuffering towards you? Are there times that you have done things to offend Him and He has held off on any punishment (keep in mind that all sin is an offense too God)? I know we could all answer that question in the affirmative. He bears long with us all the time, and extends His mercy and grace even though we are not worthy. He is the ulltimate example of the typpe of longsuffering fruit we should be bearing. Are we displaying this longsuffering to those around us, extending mercy and grace even when they offend us? Help me Lord, to be more like you!

Psalm 86:15
15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

The psalmist talking about the attributes of God. He recognizes that God is longsuffering. He recognizes from his own life that God has been merciful so many times and has withheld His anger and any punishment at times when the psalmist has not quite done the right thing. I’m so glad that God is patient with me! He doesn’t expect me to mature immediately. He was patient when I got saved. He helped ne grow despite the fact that I did not get rid of all my bad habits right away. He finaly arrannged events to have me mve out of that environment 2 years later. Then all those past sins left me and I rededicated my life to Him. He continues to woork on my frailties today. I am so glad He was longsuffering with me.

Are we like that with new Christian? Often we think they should get their certain parts of their life straightened out right away. If they don’t we are on them to get things changed. And here we are still having a tough time getting everything right. We need to practice longsuffering and patience more often

Rom 2:4
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Do we take for granted (despise) the longsuffering and forbearance of God? Paul asks question because he realizes that it’s God’s longsuffering, patience and gooodness that kept us alive so we could get saved. I can think of a few opportunities that the enemy could have taken my life and yet God made sure it was spared. In one instance I was driving with a friend and we were very drunk. We were speeding around some back roads in my little Triumph Spitfire at speeds that would make the bullet train in China envious. We came around one corner and there was sand on the road for some reason. On the other side of the sand was another sharp curve and a rise in the pavement. We took the rise in the payment. We didn’t make the next turn. The car flipped in mid air, rolled over once and stopped landed on all four wheels. We didnot have seat belts on and were glad the toop was closed! I was crunched up in that little Triumph Spitfire so that my chin was on the steering wheel and my feet and body were down between the seat and the dashboard. My friend was able to get out of the car and then help me out. Neither one of us were hurt. It was pretty much a miracle. Another time I was in a head-on collision on the way to my brother’s wedding and only got anNick in my scalp. I was able to attend the wedding the next day as the best man with a nice bandage on my forehead.

His patience with me was long. He had a plan for my life and he wasn’t going to let any silly little thing like that stop His plan. If you’re still alive God has a plan for your life. I think you can look back and probably see areas where your life could have ended as well but it did not. He still has things for you to do and His longsuffering is waiting for you to carry out whatever it is.

Rom 9:22-23
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

Here we see that God is even longsuffering towards the non-believer. In these verses the unsaved are called the vessels of wrath that are fitted to destruction. These are basically those that are bound for hell or those that are hear to torment Christians. Remember Paul was a vessel of wrath of for years before God turned him around, so Paul knows about this first hand! But God is not taking them out of this world. His hope is that all will be saved (1 Tim 2:4). It’s up to those vessels of mercy mentioned in verse 23 to get out there and do their job preaching the gospel so that the vessels of wrath fitted for Destruction might get to know the Lord.

If God is patient towards people that don’t know him we should be too. And we should never give up on them because God hasn’t given up on them. He’s still hoping that somebody will go and share the good news with them so that they can be saved as well. Are you ready to be one of those vessels of mercy? God is counting on you!

2 Cor 6:4-6
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

I like the fact that Paul puts patience at the beginning of this portion of scripture and then he adds longsuffering near the end. It took both for Paul to get through all of the crazy things he went through during his ministry. If you think you face things take heart Most likely your trials don’t even come close to what Paul faced. Here he llists them as afflictions, necessities, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching and fasting. If you would like a more descriptive list see 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, where Paul talks about all the different things he’s gone through to preach the gospel

He was patient and he suffered long, waiting on God to take him home. He knew that that day would come someday. He also knew that as long as he was on this Earth he had a job to do. We have a job to do as well because we are still on this Earth

Eph 4:1-3
4 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

We need to walk in a way that gives Jesus the glory and whatever profession we have been called to. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a garbage man or corporate executive, I’ll professional sports person or just somebody who sits around and writes a Blog all day. It doesn’t matter what your vocation is what matters is that you do it in a way Worthy of Jesus Christ. And the way to do that is to walk with loneliness which is you melody walk with meekness and long-suffering. We need to put up with each other so that the unity of the spirit in the bond of Peace will always be there. There’s nothing that can split a church faster than somebody it is not patient with everybody else. Long-suffering is key to keeping the unity of the spirit.

Col 1:10-11
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

Paul continues to discuss walking worthy to the Colossians. He says that being fruitful in ever good work and increasing in the knowledge of God are ways that we walk worthy, pleasing the Lord. I know that I desire to please the Lord, and I’m sure most of you do to!
Fruitful can take on two different meanings. The first is it we are abounding in the Fruit of the Spirit. When our life is full of these fruitful qualities, we are able to share them with those around us, and they can partake. The seed of that fruit is then implanted in their lives, and hopefully will grow so that others can start partaking of their fruit. This is making disciples at its best. The discipline it takes to walk in the Fruit of the Spirit on a continual basis brings rewards!
The other part of fruitfulness is bringing souls into the body of Christ. One again, the most effective way to accomplish that is through living in the Fruit of the Spirit daily. As people witness the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc., in our lives, they are naturally drawn to it. This will open doors to witness of the love Christ has for them.
Then Fall says we should be strengthened according to His might and power. What are we strengthened to? We are strengthened onto all patience and long-suffering. Yes, even Paul recognizes that it takes strength to be long-suffering towards our brothers. Because we’re expected to be long suffering with joyfulness. Joy when they offend us, provoke us, injure us. Not the kind of joy that has us laughing, but the kind of joy that dep down inside knows these offenses will only grow the faith and patience within us (James 1:2-4). We studied this out extensively in the James study I did last fall. I, for one, need my patience strengthened daily – practicing longsuffering will accomplish that goal!

2 Tim 4:2
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

Even when we share the word with those around us by reproofs, rebukes and exhortations, we mist do it with longsuffering. We should not be Holy Spirit nags! Be gentle (we’ll talk about that soon) and meek (another one coming up). We must use proper doctrine – the teachings of Jesus from His Holy Word. We must be ready to do this at all times, not just when we have been in study or prayer to witness (although we should have those attitudes all the time). This is how we will be more effective in our witness.

2 Peter 3:9-15 King James Version (KJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

The Longsuffering of the Lord is salvation. How long did He wait for you to accept Him? For me it was 24 years. For 1/3 of those years I cursed Him daily, disobeyed the commandments I had learned growing up repeatedly, turned my back on Him and snubbed Him. Yet He waited patiently for me to come to Him, knowing the purpose He created me from the beginning of time. He loved me enough to give His life for me, and now He leads me into His purpose every day. I am so glad He was longsuffering to all of us!

Be blessed!