Fruits of the Spirit – Faithfulness

What is Faithfulness? – The Modern View
The world has a distorted view of faithfulness. This is evident in the way ad campaigns are run and products are sold. Being faithful in our society means to be true to ones self and our self interests. Faithfulness is a temporary feeling that can come and go. One day I can be faithful to my team, my spouse or whatever, but if something better comes along, my interest and faith shifts.

What is Faithfulness? – The dictionary definition
The dictionary defines faithfulness as the quality of being faithful. 
In light of this definition we must find out what it is like to be faithful. 

The dictionary defines being faithful as
· Adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea; loyal. 
· Having or full of faith. 
· Worthy of trust or belief; reliable. 
· Consistent with truth or actuality:

As you can see none of these definitions conforms to what the worldview of faithfulness is. The world’s faithfulness is temporary, while God’s faithfulness to us is permanent. The Bible says in 

So what is faithfulness based on Galatians 5:22 I think in light of the rest of the passage Paul was striving for the idea of a Christian being firmly planted in the truth of the Gospel and being worthy
of trust

What is Faithfulness? – Paul’s Vision
Paul when writing to the Galatians wanted to stress the importance of a life built around a relationship with God. In light of this he first lets the reader know in Chapter 5:19 that if we follow our own inclinations, or a life that is not consistent with the truth we will have evil results: idolatry, lustful pleasure and the list goes on.

Paul then goes on to let us know that people who follow their own path will not inherit the Kingdom of God, why because God’s kingdom is built around the truth and as Christians we must accept the truth so we can be free. Faithfulness is accepting the truth and then adhering firmly to that truth as a devoted person of God. Paul notes that this Fruit is firmly rooted in the Holy Spirit. The reason for this is that without the work of the Holy Spirit we do not understand the truth and we do not exhibit the Fruits of the Spirit. 

Paul list contains faithfulness because it is an outward action of the first three Fruits, love, joy and peace. That which you truly love you will find the most, joy in, have the peace with and put the most faith in. Can you see how faithfulness ties the other Fruit of the Spirit together and how with the other Fruit of the Spirit faithfulness will naturally follow: Love in Christ, Joy in Christ, Peace in Christ, Patience through Christ, and the Goodness of Christ exhibited through us. 

Paul’s list then is a natural conclusion to the work of the Holy Spirit in us and is the truth at work as opposed to the illusion of truth that we have when we follow our own inclinations of a sinful heart. The Holy Spirit is the light our soul needs to see that which incarnate man cannot usually see.. 

What is Faithfulness? – What to do with it.
What then will you do with your faith? The answer is to exercise your faith. Expressing your faith is an inward but also an outward expression of your love, joy and peace in Christ. It is ironic that when we put our trust and faith in say a sports team, we wear their colors, praise their names and celebrate their victories, but for many Christians when they put their faith and trust in Christ you do not hear a word from them.

What is Faithfulness? – A couple parting questions
Where is your faith firmly planted? Don’t be to quick to answer think about each day of your life and what you do, then answer the question truthfully.

Do people see that you are devoted and have faithfulness in Christ?

Fruits of the Spirit- Goodness

What is goodness? – The worldview
To most people goodness is always doing what is right or looking out for another’s best interests, but the idea of true goodness goes much deeper than that. People exhort goodness in times of trouble or natural disaster. When fear and tensions are high people will naturally bestow goodness on their neighbors. It is the old philosophy of “your in the same boat as I am so if I help you then in the end you will help me”. The Problem is when the disaster is passed or fear is abated those same people usually revert back to their normal attitudes of every man for himself. 

For a Christian goodness is not a here today gone tomorrow attitude, it is a way of life. We are to bestow goodness on everyone; Christian and non-Christian. Goodness should flow from our hearts. The problem is that many Christians are confused by what goodness really is. It is sad to say that some Christians do not show true goodness to fellow believers and especially to non-believers. For some goodness to others is based on merit, whether that person merits the attention and it should not be that way. 

Goodness should be shown to everyone. The Bible says in Proverbs 17:17 “that a friend loves at all times”. This means that if we love God and He loves everyone then everyone is our friend and we should bestow goodness on him or her. In this way you may show those who are not Christians an example of God’s goodness and love. Goodness carries a lot of weight and provides a window into the heart of God, but what exactly is goodness. 

What is Goodness? -The dictionary defines goodness as:
· That which is good or valuable or useful
· Moral excellence or admirableness

What is Goodness? – In Galatians 5:22
In Galatians 5:22, goodness is listed as the fifth Fruit of the Spirit. Again as I have already stated I do not think that as Paul sat down to write his letter to the Galatians that he simply slapped together a haphazard list. I think he was directed by the Holy Spirit to put this specific list together. This list is a guide to us as to how our Christian life should go. 

First is love, then all the rest follows
First we come to know love; the love of Jesus towards us. 1 Peter 4:8 says “to show deep love for each other”. This deep love comes from, as Jesus Himself said in Mark 12:29-33 “our love for God with our whole hearts”. Love is the greatest commandment on which everything else is built. Once we have the love of Jesus planted firmly in our hearts we will have great joy because we know that we have been forgiven. How do we know we have true forgiveness for our sins? The answer is that deep in our hearts where once there was pain and confusion there is now peace. We no longer feel the burden of the sins that once made us an enemy of God. This peace leads to an eternal patience, which is comes from a new awareness that the best is yet to come. 

This brings us to goodness
You can see by now that you cannot outwardly express goodness without first planting the seeds of love in your heart. I think both of the dictionary definitions fit in well with the Fruit of the Spirit passage because anytime we exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit our testimony is going to go forth before us and that testimony will be useful and valuable. There is an old saying that says, “Actions speak louder than words”. This is true of our Christian life as well. The best way to preach the Gospel is to live a life for Christ. This will allow others to see Christ manifested through our actions, which means we will become a better witness for the Lord.

The second definition for goodness also fits because if we are living out the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives people will see that we are being a moral example and will admire us for it. This will open up avenues for us to start to discuss why we say and do what we do. Paul when writing the passage in Galatians 5:22 knew that anytime you live a visible life for Christ it will open up opportunities to share the Gospel. 

A sort of grocery list for us to follow
The Fruits of the Spirit as you can now see are becoming sort of, for lack of a better term, a grocery list of the Christian life. The first four Fruits of the Spirit are internal changes that come with giving our hearts to Christ. These are the traits that happen to us. The next five Fruits of the Spirit I feel are outward expressions of the internal changes that take place when learn a new way to love, feel joy and be at peace. These outward expressions come as a natural progression of those internal changes. Clothe yourselves in Christ’s love and your life will really change.

Now not to get ahead of my self but there are those who will say that faithfulness and self control are inward traits and that the first fruits are also outward traits as well as inward traits. Both of these arguments are true. For the purpose of this study as well as what I feel Paul was doing in Galatians 5:22 I think the first four fruits are meant to be internal changes and faithfulness and self control are meant to be something that is manifested externally, but I will go over that more when I get to faithfulness.

Goodness as we have seen is an admirable trait to have. A trait the world seems to have lost.

Some closing questions for you to ponder

Do you have goodness as God views goodness in Psalm 145:8-9 where it talks about God being good to all?

Or is your goodness towards others pick and choose goodness. This is goodness based on biases and dislikes for a person, or group of people?

What can you do today to show others Gods goodness?

Fruits of the Spirit – Kindness


What is kindness? I think most people would define kindness as going out their way to help someone. The dictionary defines kindness as:
1: the quality of being warm-hearted and considerate and humane and sympathetic
2: tendency to be kind and forgiving
3: a kind act

Paul’s definition of the Fruit of The Spirit in Galatians 5:22 lists kindness as the fifth fruit which if you think about it, is a natural progression with the list so far. If we manifest the first four Fruits of the Spirit, (love, joy peace and patience) how can we not help but exhibit kindness? 

After all as the dictionary states kindness is being warmhearted and considerate which is a manifestation of love, joy peace and patience. 

Our God is a God of kindness. If He weren’t we would not be here right now. We have but to remember where the Fruit of The Spirit comes from and we will see that God who is a God of love, joy, peace and patience is also overwhelmingly kind to His creation when we are anything but kind to Him.

The Bibles has a lot to say about kindness and being kind:
I Thessalonians 5:15 says, “to always be kind””
Ephesians 4:32 says, “to be kind and compassionate”

These are only two of the verses in the Bible dedicated to kindness. If you would look up just the word kindness in a Bible concordance you would find 36 passages that use the word kindness. Most of the passages on kindness deal with followers of God showing sympathy or being considerate to others in word, action or deed. There is a great importance placed on the believer being kind to others. The question then is whom should I be kind to? Which others? The Bible has a great illustration of kindness in the parable of the Good Samaritan. I am not going to list it here but if you would like to look it up it can be found in Luke 10:30-37.

It is interesting to note that in the passages right before that parable, Jesus is asked about what a person must do to inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus then asks the man the question “what does the law say” The mans answer saying, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”‘; and, “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The man knew in his heart what he had to do but he was without love, and joy and peace and patience for everyone so he asked Jesus the question of “who is my neighbor?” which leads to the parable of the Good Samaritan. So just who are we to be kind to? The answer is according to Jesus is our neighbors and our neighbor is everyone we come in contact with, good, bad or otherwise. 

No matter the situation, no matter how we feel about the person we are to shoe kindness. There is no need to worry thought because when we have love, joy, peace and patience, kindness will be in our hearts, kindness to all. 

Of the three people in the parable of the Good Samaritan who do you see yourself as, the priest, the Levite or the Good Samaritan? If you answered anything other than the Good Samaritan it is time for you to ask God to change your heart. 

Paul knew how important kindness was He was on the receiving end of God’s loving kindness on the road to Damascus. He was a man who many Christians saw as an enemy but God saw him as someone worthy of His love and bestowed on Paul the greatest act of kindness, eternal life. If we have love, joy, peace and patience will we being to see the world as God sees the world a place in need of kindness. Take a good look around your neighborhood and you will see many souls in need of kindness and who knows your act of kindness to your neighbors may be what God will use to bring another one of His children home.

Fruit of the Spirit – Peace

What is peace? I know you’re going to say that peace is the absence of war. I think that if you look up the word in the dictionary there is a definition there that describes what Paul was really referring to in the passage in Galatians. The best definition for the word peace and the one that fits the Galatians passage is described as being in a state of tranquility; or being serene. 

This also fits the Biblical principle of peace which rests on the Hebrew root word slm which translates “to be complete” or “to be sound’. This is also the root of words like salom, which was used both in greeting a person or saying farewell. This definition fits because Paul is referring to a Spiritual peace which is a sense of being complete or sound. You see the word peace is perfectly placed after love and joy and before patience because when you have love and joy in the Spirit you have peace. You have a sense of being complete and sound in your soul. 

Peace means being without fear and anxiety. Knowing no matter what the circumstances life throws at you there will come a brighter day. As Paul was writing these verses I am sure he had in mind all the trials and tribulations he had been through and knew in His heart that out of the love and the joy set before him he was at peace. You see Paul finally had a purpose in life: doing the true will of his Heavenly Father, not the so called cause he had once lived for.

On a Damascus road Paul met Love, Paul received that love joyfully and now Paul was at peace. At the time Paul did not know that his life externally was going to be anything but peaceful, but as the Holy Spirit worked in and through him, Paul knew that all was well with his soul, that brought him peace.

It is interesting to note that if you read Isaiah 9:6, which is about Jesus and His birth, the last words of the verse are, The Prince of Peace and in the New Testament Jesus is the prince of peace!

I think as Paul knew and you and I should realize that the peace that is referred to in Isaiah 9:6 and that would come with Jesus arrival the first time is a peace in our hearts. Sure someday He will restore true peace to this earth but for now He gives us His peace through the Holy Spirit. If our hearts truly seek Him, and you have the ultimate in love living inside of you, how can you not be peace full?

But don’t take my word for it. Jesus said Himself in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. My friends Jesus is talking about the same kind of peace Paul is referring to in Galatians, a peace in our hearts. 

• God is the source of our peace 
• God is the truth of our peace
• God is the love that brings peace
• God is the joy through which we have peace

In short God is peace

No matter what this world throws at us when we have a right relationship “salom” with Yahweh (God) we will have peace.

Fruit of the Spirit – Love


What is Love? The dictionary defines love as: a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness. 

God’s Word describes love as patient, kind and more in 1Corinthians 13:4

Love in the original Greek that New Testament was written in cam be translated in a number of different ways, agape, eros, and philos. For our purpose we are going to agape, which is an unconditional love.

To understand what love is we must first understand who the source of love is. 

God’s Love: 
1 John 4:8 states that God is Love. So it stands to reason that God is the source of love. For century’s man has been trying to understand what the concept of love really is Well if you use the dictionary definition you will see two words that I feel can best describe God’s love and the model God wants us to use when we show what true love is. Those words are kinship and oneness. We all no matter who we are were created by God, in his spiritual image so we are all related spiritually and are all one in God. 

I think the minute we understand that we are all one in God we will start to understand and use God’s definition of love as found 1 Corinthians 4:13, Love is patient, kind..” Nowhere is this more relevant than in God’s love for us through Christ. 

God’s love in Christ
If we are to exist this should be the heart of our love, our kinship. To show this kinship with us God’s love came to us in the form of Jesus. The Bible says in John 3:16 that God so loved the world that He sent His Son, to what? The answer is easy, to die for us.

Jesus came to us out of love, God’s love. The Bible says in 1 John 4:10 sums it up best when John says that “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us and sent His Son”. The righteous God came and died for the unrighteous, He who had no sin died for the sinners.

Jesus’ Love for Us
We have already talked about how Jesus came to die for us, but that is not the whole story. Jesus loved us other wise He would not have come. Sometimes we take for granted the fact that Jesus died on the cross and we forget the rest of the story, His life and ministry here. Jesus not only showed us love by dying for us He showed us love by physically healing those He came in contact with and after His resurrection spiritually healing us when we come to Him.

See the stripes but also see the hands in acts of kindness and true love

Jesus loved the rich young ruler Mark 10:21
Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus John 11:5
Jesus love 
The list could go on and on and on. Jesus is love, everything he did on earth was to show love and teach us how to love God.

It is amazing to think that God could now touch His creation in a physical way and show love in a way that was not possible before. Think about it as Jesus grew he felt the love of His mother, the love of His earthy father and the love of His friends His fiends. Even with all that love, God also felt the rejection of His creation. I can hardly imagine the sadness that Jesus felt as He looked down upon the city of Jerusalem and wept. That is love.
Loving God
Now we are left with one of two choices to love God or reject God’s love 

Out of love God chose the nation of Israel to be His messengers and to spread the Gospel, but as all humans are prone to do they and we rejected the love of God. 

The Bible says that because we ‘turned from the truth”, Jesus was crucified. What is the truth that God loves us and wants us to come back to Him. From of the moment of creation we were meant to love God, but when our eyes were opened we tried to come up with all kinds of ways to replace God. Why? Because sin requires a replacement for truth in order to satisfy a desire that can only be filled by God. Kind of Ironic isn’t it? We seek to replace God but only God ‘s love and our love for God can satisfy our deepest need which once again is? You guessed it, Love.

So all the time that we do not have “the love of God in our hearts”, John 5:42 we are seeking false hopes, false desires and false loves. That is why there is so much sadness in this world because love is not true love from God, only Satan’s misrepresentation. The father of lies, Satan, seeks to make us feel that we know better than God as to what love is, by showing us what it isn’t.

In the end we can only love by becoming one with God in heart, mind and soul. Then will see and feel love.

The question still remains, What is Love? The answer has to be giving everything we have to others with no string attached that is what Jesus did and what we are called to do here and now?

The first fruit is love because you must have love before you can experience the other fruits of the Spirit.

Be Happy, By Mourning

Be Happy – By Mourning – Matthew 5:4
We all grieve or mourn at one point or another in our lifetimes. It could be over the death of a loved one or over a friend who moves away. In Matthew 5:4 Jesus tells us in the Beatitudes “Blessed or happy are those who mourn for they will be comforted” 

There are a couple of ways to look at the word mourn in this verse. One way could be the idea of mourning the loss of a loved one. It is comforting to know at those times of loss that if our loved one is born again that they are with Jesus. 

Jesus could also mean that we should mourn the loss of family or friends because of our desire and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Our mourning could be over the fact that our family members do not see Jesus for who is really is and no longer accept us as part of the family. Or maybe we mourn over the fact that they themselves do not accept the Lord and we may never see them in Heaven someday. 

The word mourn in this verse in Matthew 5:4 could mean a lot of things, but I think the word mourn and it’s use here is more of a personal and spiritual nature.

Be Happy – By Mourning – Our Condition
I think Jesus had a deeper meaning for the word mourn than just mourning the loss of a loved one. Jesus wanted us to look into our hearts and see our condition. Are we truly following Him as we should or do we simply offer lip service? Each day we should be mourning that we have failed to live as we should live, love as we should love and have faith as we should have faith. 

We should mourn that our walk with Christ is not as productive as it could be. We should mourn that we do feel our relationship with Christ is closer than it was a year ago, or ten years ago. We should mourn for our condition and realize that we need to change.

This is what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 5:4 the very idea of mourning our spiritual condition. We must look at ourselves in the proverbial mirror of God’s word and truthfully say “ Am I where I should be in my walk with Christ”. If not we must mourn the very fact that we are letting Christ down. I am not talking about a superficial mourning period, but a wailing like you have never wailed before type of mourning period. 

I have grieved before and have gone through the period of wailing. It is not easy but somewhere in your soul you do find comfort and understanding that things will get better. Proverbs 14:10 says “ Each heart knows it’s own bitterness’’. In Matthew 5:4 that is what Christ has in mind for us. If we see our hearts bitterness or selfishness or whatever holds us back from living the life we could, we should mourn over our poor spiritual condition, see the need to change and know in our hearts that we must turn to Jesus for comfort. This is the type of mourning that cleanses the soul and leaves you refreshed because you know that the worst is behind you and you have a life of comfort ahead of you on that day you see Jesus. 

Think about it, Christ saw our heart and it’s poor condition, mourned over it, sought to give us the comfort that only He could give. To this end Jesus gave up everything for us on the Cross so that we might find comfort, should we not be horrified and sad when we do not give up everything for Him? Mourn over your life and if there need to be changes made make them and be comforted in the knowledge that you are serving a God who loves you so much He gave up everything for you so you can be blessed (happy).

Be Happy, By Submitting

Be Happy – By Submitting – Matthew 5:5
What do you think of when I mention the word meek? Most of you probably get a picture in your mind of the guy on the beach who gets sand kicked in his face. In Matthew 5:5 when Jesus said that: Blessed (happy) are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”. I do not believe that when Jesus said these words He had in mind a guy or gal who lets other people walk all over them.

No Biblical principle is more offensive to our modern way of thinking. Why? -Because we live in a world system that is based on self-assertion. Modern society is pushy and aggressive and the number one goal is to get as much as you can whether or not it is yours or not. If you look at any of the media, our music, our television, and our news it is full of images of buff men and women doing whatever to whomever just to get ahead. Meekness is not to be desired but scorned.

Meekness is so despised because if you look the dictionary defines being meek as a disposition to be patient and long suffering which is the exact opposite of our impatient and short-tempered society. Take a look at passages in the Bible such as the one in (James 3:13) which states that a meek person is of a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked and you will see why the world views Christianity as something to be avoided. 

So this Beatitude of Jesus seems contradictory in the light of our present age. How can we imagine that the right strategy for inheriting the earth is to be meek? Jesus was fond of contradiction though, Mark 10:44 whosoever of you will be great, shall be the servant of all, Matthew 10:39, “ he that finds his life shall lose it and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it”. In other words we should not view this verse in light of mans view of meekness but in light of God’s view of meekness. 

I think the dictionary definition of being patient and long suffering is in line with what Jesus meant in this verse, but I also think the word meek used here goes much deeper than that. A meek person is also one who submits to others because of fear or intimidation. The problem with this line of thinking is that it does not fit with how Jesus lived His life.

Jesus did not live in fear of others or was never intimidated by others yet in Matthew 11:29Jesus says of Himself “take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart.” How could Jesus be meek? We are talking about a guy who overturned the tables of the moneychangers and stood up to religious leaders. Jesus was far from meek by our understanding of meek but He was also our greatest example of meekness and one we should seek to emulate. 

Be Happy – By Submitting To God
So if meekness is not to be seen as submitting to others what else could Jesus have been referring to when He stated, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”? The Greek word translated here as meek is one that means an animal such as a sheep that listens to and submits to its master. Now when you think of it that way Jesus is telling us that we are not to submit to the world because the world does not truly know what it means to be a meek person.

A meek person is one who submits to God. In the Old Testament it is said of Moses that he “was very meek-more than all the men that were on the face of the earth” Numbers 12:3. Why was Moses called meek? Most likely because he followed and submitted to the will of God and lived his life for God, with God and by God. 

This is meekness realizing with humility we must mourn our poor condition and seek to live our lives with divine guidance. Meek men therefore are to be like Jesus. We must stand in the face of opposition but never retaliate in blind anger. We must be humble before God but use the boldness of the Holy Spirit when declaring God’s Word. We must live what we say in order to show what we say is true. 

So to be truly happy you must be meek and submit our lives to God for we will truly inherit the earth. Not the earth as we know it but a new heavens and a new earth that we will have the privilege to walk in with Jesus. 

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.