But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)Love: 1Corinthians 13 gives us a structure to form our prayer: Father, we ask you for love that is not loud and brash.. grant us love that is patient and kind.. love that does not envy or boast.. love that is not proud, rude, self-seeking or easily anger.. grant us love that readily forgives.. love that rejoices with truth and not evil.. please give us love that trusts, protects, hopes and perseveres.. give us unfailing love.
Joy: I am reminded how the scripture speaks of sorrow being turned into joy.. and of how the joy of the Lord is our strength. Life is hard and can often suck the joy out of us.. we need to pray it back.
Peace: I find that peace only comes when I quiet my mind.. even my prayers seem to be expressions of worry when my mind is engaged. Philippians 4:6-7 speaks to the type of prayer that brings peace.. read it if you get a minute.. in essence it says:
If you pray.. why worry? If you worry.. why pray?I think that peace comes when we are trusting God in prayer in our heart.
Patience: It brings to mind this lighthearted prayer: God give me patience and give it to me now. I think that when we pray for patience we are really praying for endurance.. asking God for grace to wait on Him.
Kindness: A few verses come to mind when I think about kindness. The first is the one that says that the kindness of God leads me to repent. The second is the verse in Proverbs (19:22) that says it is desirable for a person to be kind. I think that we offer mirror the heart and love of God when we are kind.
Goodness: Ever wonder what it means to be "good'? The scriptures have much to say about God being good but not that much about us being good. Here is the definition of from Easton's Dictionary:
Goodness in man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.I think this speaks to our ability, through His Spirit, to actively walk out God's goodness in our hearts.
Faithfulness: When I think about God I often think of this - He is faithful. Hence it is no surprise that faithfulness makes this list.. it is the heart of our relationship with God.. it is an extension of the word faith.. and it is what I think James is speaking to when he say faith without works is dead.. faith without faithfulness is not faith at all.
Gentleness: The word gentleness is translated from the Greek word Πραοτης which can also be translated meekness or mildness.. the word communicates:
- an indulgence toward the weak and erring,
- patient suffering of injuries without feeling a spirit of revenge,
- an even balance of all tempers and passions,
- the entire opposite to anger.
Self-Control: A few years ago I said this in a post about control:
Self Control is not mind control ... actually it is the opposite of mind control. Self Control is the exercise of the inner man over the outer man.It is a fitting conclusion to this list of spiritual fruit. It represents the way that character is manifested - from the inside out.
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