“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
This is a verse we recite in my house a LOT! Molly’s article in the fall issue was spot on regarding our desperate need for the Spirit’s power in our own lives as well as the beautiful opportunity we have to display and teach this truth to our kids and the world around us. In the journal we will zoom in on two fruits each issue. This winter we will begin with joy and peace. We are not skipping over love, don’t misunderstand! Discipleship is all about love – our love for God and His love for us. The eight fruits following “love” in this list ARE love. In my mind, love is the vine, the leaves, and the roots that bring the other fruits to life. Love is the powerful source of life that brings us joy, peace, patience, and all the other fruits. So we are not skipping over love. God’s love is touched on in every single area of focus for the Grace Mask – we “Say Yes” to His Love, we “Engage” in His Love, we are “Dressed” in His Love, and our New Name is found in His Love. There is “no law” against His Love!
So as we meditate on this verse in our final week in October (can you believe it!) let us look at each of the fruits mentioned for a better understanding of what Paul, the writer of Galatians, was describing.
This verse begins with the word “But”. I encourage you to go back and read through verses 19-21 to understand this conjunction. This section of “A New Name” is “Empowerment”. We are referring to the power of the Holy Spirit living within us because we’ve said “yes” to Jesus, we’ve “engaged” inwardly with Jesus, and we’ve allowed Jesus to “dress” us. This “New Name” of “Empowered” is a result of those prior steps – now the transformation takes place. The Holy Spirit within us has shifted our desires. We no longer need to follow the “flesh” and produce what verses 19-21 describe. We can now follow our new Guide who empowers us with new abilities:
- Joy & Peace – Joy is our ability to recognize grace bringing us Peace of mind
- Patience & Kindness – Patience is our ability to “wait before expression” it is the power to “think before we speak” or act which brings about Kindness to meet real needs
- Goodness & Faithfulness – Goodness is our ability allow God to work in us and do good through us bringing about Faithfulness to believe, trust, and have confidence in Him
- Gentleness & Self-Control – Gentleness is our ability to let God inspire our direction which produces Self-Control or the mastery of our flesh.
These fruits are all easily recognized individually but we will see that just as Love is the basis for them all, they all also build upon one another. Show me a truly kind individual and I will also see a person filled with Peace, Faithfulness, and Self-Control… Recognizing Goodness in a person will lead you to see Joy, Patience, and Gentleness as well.
Look around today and see what I mean. I pray we will recognize God at work in those around us and when we do, point it out! We are so quick to point out the flesh at work in others. The spirit of the world is an expert at pointing to the rotten fruit listed between verses 19-21. You and I are guided by a different Spirit, Dear Bride. We are aware of the rotten fruit, let’s not ignore Love, keep your eyes on The Groom!