This past week, my good friend and staff member, Anisa Larson, spoke to our staff on the topic of The Fruit of the Spirit and how it relates to Freedom. I loved it so much that I wanted to share some of these notes with you so that we can walk these out together.
Our lives should reflect the fruits of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
How is your spirit doing? As avoiders, we tend to go through life on autopilot. We often can miss clues that show us that our spirit is not in good health.
In the same way that a doctor would give us a thorough series of tests to diagnose potential physical problems, God has given us a process of evaluating spiritual issues in our lives.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. ~ Galatians 5:22-23
Each of these is a characteristic of the Holy Spirit’s active presence in our daily activities. Let’s look at each one and ask some diagnostic questions to make sure we’re healthy!
This word for love doesn’t refer to warm feelings but a deliberate attitude of goodwill and devotion to others. Love gives freely without looking at whether the other person deserves it, and it gives without expecting anything back.
Question To Ask Yourself: Am I motivated to do for others as Christ has done for me, or am I giving in order to receive something in return?
Unlike happiness, joy is gladness that is entirely independent of the good or bad things that happen in the course of the day. In fact, joy denotes a supernatural gladness given by God’s Spirit that seems to show up best during hard times. This is a product of fixing your focus on God’s purposes for your life events rather than on the circumstances.
Question To Ask Yourself: Am I experiencing joy regularly, or is my happiness dependent on things going smoothly?
It’s not the absence of turmoil, but tranquility even while in a place of chaos. It is a sense of wholeness and completeness that is content, knowing that God controls the day’s events.
Question To Ask Yourself: Do I find myself frazzled by the chaos in my life, or am I experiencing “the peace that passes all comprehension” (Philippians 4:6-7)?
Other words that describe this fruit are lenience, long-suffering, forbearance, perseverance, and steadfastness. It is the ability to endure ill treatment from life or others’ hands without lashing out or paying back.
Question To Ask Yourself: Am I easily set off when things go wrong or when people irritate me or am I able to keep a godly perspective in the face of life’s irritations?
When kindness is at work in a person’s life, they look for ways to adapt to meet others’ needs. It is moral goodness that overflows. It’s also the absence of malice.
Question: Is it my goal to serve others with kindness, or am I too focused on my own needs, desires, or problems to let the goodness of God overflow to others?
While kindness is the soft side of good, goodness reflects the character of God. Goodness in you desires to see goodness in others and is not beyond confronting or even rebuking (as Jesus did with the money changers in the temple) for that to happen.
Question: Does my life reflect the holiness, and do I desire to see others experience God at a deep level in their own lives?
A faithful person is one with real integrity. He or she is someone others can look to as an example and truly devoted to others and Christ. Our natural self always wants to be in charge, but Spirit-controlled faithfulness is evident in the life of a person who seeks good for others and glory for God.
Question To Ask Yourself: Are there areas of hypocrisy and indifference toward others in my life, or does faith in Christ and faithfulness characterize my life to those around me?
8. Gentleness. Meekness is not weakness. Gentleness is not without power; it just chooses to defer to others. It forgives others, corrects with kindness, and lives in tranquility.
Question: Do I come across to others as brash and headstrong, or am I allowing God’s grace to flow through me to others?
Our fleshly desires, Scripture tells us, are continually at odds with God’s Spirit and always want to be in charge. Self-control is releasing our grip on the fleshly desires, choosing instead to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is power-focused in the right place.
Question: Are my fleshly desires controlling my life, or am I allowing the Spirit to direct me to the things that please God and serve others?
10. Walk by the Spirit.
While not a fruit of the Spirit, the checkup’s final item produces all nine qualities listed above. When we follow the Spirit’s lead instead of being led by our self-focused desires, He produces the fruit.
But even when we don’t walk by the Spirit, He is the very one who convicts us that things are out of order in our lives.
God promises that if we are willing to admit that we have been walking our own way and ask for His forgiveness and cleansing, He will empower us through His Spirit to live above ourselves and live the abundant life for which He has created us.
Question To Ask Yourself: Am I actively depending on the Holy Spirit to guide me in God’s ways, so I don’t get wrapped up in myself? If not, am I willing to confess to God that His ways are better than mine and that I need the Spirit’s guidance to live above the fray?
This will be a Two-Part Blog, so be sure to check back next week to see how the Fruits of the Spirit work with walking in freedom!
Resources: Facebook Live: What Are You Thinking or Not Thinking About