The Fruit of the Spirit

Ah! Juicy sweet fruit in a bowl, but how does that relate to the Spirit?

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

Ah! Juicy sweet fruit in a bowl, but how does that relate to the Spirit? Fruit in this passage of scripture is from the Greek word “Karpos,” which means fruit of the trees. I always find it interesting in deciphering a moral or spiritual lesson of what is written in the Bible. What about the word “Spirit”? The Greek word is “Pneuma,” and in Galatians here the word Spirit is capitalized, so it means it is talking about a personality and character. It is talking about the Holy Ghost the third person of the Trinity. The Christian character is produced by the Holy Spirit working in us and not by our own self-effort. The Apostle Paul is talking about the character of the Holy Spirit, which should be a reminder to us that the true Spirit always points to Christ and has the character of Christ; therefore, love, joy, peace, along with self-control will be the character of a true Christian.

We are to be conformed to the image of the Son [see Romans 8:29], so we will have the Son’s character working through us to reveal good fruit ready to be picked from the tree. The Spirit helps us to become free from our sinful habits and to become more like Christ. This is part of the sanctification process of every Christian. The continual renewal by the Holy Ghost to be set a part for Christ. 1st Thessalonians 4:4 states, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor. This is the will of God. We are set apart for the Lord and being changed from glory to glory into the image of Christ. Paul tells us where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. We must not abuse that liberty we have in Christ and go against anyone and do them harm [see Galatians 5:13]. We are not to be consumed by doing evil to one another. What did Paul say in verse 14 of this same chapter, “for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

In order to bear the good fruit of the Spirit one must receive essential nutrients. Conditions of a fruitful life for a Christian are cleansing, abiding, and obedience.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

John 15:4 KJV

We abide in Christ through faith. And it is through faith that we ask for help to have our heart cleansed on a daily basis. There is not a day that I do not ask God to forgive me for my behavior of complaining, getting angry, or acting selfish. Sometimes we ignore our behavior, but he wants us to take those things to the Lord in prayer. Abiding in the vine is also seeking God’s word. Reading about who He is and what is the will of God should be done on a daily basis. Jesus said, “if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you,” [see John 15:7]. Jesus goes on to say that we are to continue in His Love. This is where obedience comes into the picture. Read and ask, read and ask and it shall be done. Read, ask for His love to rule your heart, and serve one another through that love He has given us. Abide in Christ and stay connected into the vine and you will fine that love, joy, and peace will come forth in your life.

Take time to read the following scripture: John 15:1-14, and Galatians 5:13-26, and see how they relate to each other. Cleansing, abiding, and obedience are what Jesus is speaking out in John chapter 15. See how the apostle Paul explains the difference between the flesh and the Fruit of the Spirit and that we are called to serve one another in love.

Listen to Abide in My Love by Inge Schultz from the album “Send The Light” at https://ingeschultz.com/single/33191/abide-in-my-love . this song is taken from the gospel of John 15.

Behold what manner of love the Father has Bestowed upon us. . .

Agape love, a Greek term for sacrificial, unconditional love that God’s Son would go to the cross for humanity.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God; therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

1John 3:1

I am remembering back to the late 70’s when this song was sung in church with joy in our hearts for what God’s Love has done,” that we should be called the children of God.” The meaning of Agape love was beginning to spread throughout cities in Washington State in the 70’s. Agape love, a Greek term for sacrificial, unconditional love that God’s Son would go to the cross for humanity. Those who believed, received His Love within their hearts and shared that love to others. It is more than just an emotional experience.  It was a movement among the younger generation that witnessed a change within their heart that God was real.  They wanted more of God and worship was the key to sensing His presence among us.  There was a thirst for more of God in our lives.  I have very fond memories of this time because I witnessed a change in my heart and seen the evidence of my friends changing and having that” joy unspeakable and full of glory.”  Some of us young people went to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Seattle and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit after Reverend Dennis Bennett laid His hands upon our heads in prayer.  We did not fully understand what was happening at that time, but we knew the love of God to be real and that love was making a difference in our personal lives. 

It was a genuine experience knowing that we are now children of God. It did not matter how old a person was, all inhibition were lost in believing in the name of God’s Son and His love for us. We were forgiven and cleansed. We no longer had condemnation within our heart. We had confidence instead in knowing that God would answer our prayers because God had given us a new position of sitting together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus [see Ephesians 2:6].  Through the Holy Spirit God was moving through denominational lines and people were getting saved.  It was a work of the grace of God, for many could not change themselves, but when the Spirit of God got a hold of you something happened.  It was truly the gift of God as the Apostle Paul stated in Ephesians 2:8.   It was a revelation that being a Christian could be more then just a work in progress of trying to change yourself.  We needed God’s gift and anointing, and the Apostle John talked about it as an “unction from the Holy One” that we know who Jesus the Christ is [the Messiah, the anointed one. . .see 1 John 2:20-22].

“God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in Him” exclaims John in 1 John4:16. We have His love living inside us, for perfect love drives out fear [see 1 John4:18]. If we are afraid, then we are not perfected in His love. If we are not perfected in His love, then a breach has occurred. Something has broken the fellowship we had with God.  If we no longer have confidence that God will hear our prayers, we stand alone.  Our assurance is in the Love of God; therefore, we repent and ask God to cleanse our heart and renew us to that position we had in Christ. We ask God to change our heart if we have hatred, bitterness, and envy residing in our heart instead of love for our brother.  We must surrender our self to the Love of God, for the love of God helps us to keep his commandments and it should not be burdensome [see 1John 5:3].  If there is a yoke of burden, then we are not under the love of God.  We have placed ourselves under a different system that is not of the love of God.  In the world the cosmic principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and pleasure are the characteristic of a person seeking self-gratification rather than loving a brother or sister. Have we lost our first love from God?  Is a question we all must answer.  The world does not know love because it does not know Jesus.  Let us pray for God’s love to continuously rule our hearts every day.  May His Love not be a burden, but rather a gift to all who would receive and believe. Pray and receive His Love today into your heart.

Coming Down from Heaven

For the bread of God is he who cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

John 6:33 KJV

Coming down from Heaven is the light that breaks through the darkness of the storm. When we see it with our own eyes, there is hope for a bright sunny day. Recent events in America such as Covid-19, civil riots, and domestic terrorism has put a lot of people on edge. The shocking events of the violent break-in at the U.S. Capital on January 6th bought on the concern for the safety of other U.S. citizens at the White House. This was not a peaceful demonstration. When your fellow citizens life is endangered, it is no laughing manner. Darkness and evil are present when violence takes place for its motivation is to bring ruin and destruction. The U.S. Capital symbolizes the American people as a whole and not one individual or group. Those at the U.S. Capital were voted in by the people to ensure the purpose of creating peaceful and prosperous communities in their hometown or cities.

Let us consider that it is a thief that comes to steal, kill, and destroy. We know this to be true throughout human history. Even in the Bible Jesus himself states what a thief does in John 10:10 then Jesus goes on to state that He came to bring us life. This life is a life of love and not death. “This is the work of God, that we believe on him whom he hath sent,” John 6:29. Jesus came to save man and not to destroy man [see Luke 9:56]. If we believe that there is a God, then we should believe on the one who came down from heaven to save the world. Jesus is the living bread that came down from heaven [see John 6:51]. The living bread is alive and not dead. He is continually giving life. We cannot comprehend it, let alone fully understand the meaning how Jesus is the living life for all humanity. Especially if we have tendencies towards hatred, unforgiveness, and bent on destroying someone’s life to get even.

We have laws in place because of those who are lawless and disobedient. The apostle Paul talks about this in 1st Timothy chapter one. If we lose our moral compass, we lose the peaceful coexistence within society. We do not have a pure heart or a good conscience anymore. What does a person do to change this condition of living in darkness? Let us consider what the apostle Paul exclaims in Romans 13.

Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Romans 13:9-12, KJV

We are to put on the armor of light. That light that shines in a dark place. That light who is Jesus, who came down from heaven to save our souls. Salvation is near to each person. Today is the day of Salvation. We repent and ask Jesus to save us from the darkness that has taken over our soul. We renounce all evil deeds in Jesus name. We ask forgiveness and for Jesus to heal our soul from hatred, abuse, and any other evil deeds. We ask for Jesus to come and purify our hearts and cleanse us from all sins and to clear our conscience. We ask Jesus to bring in His love into our heart and to help us to walk in the light of His Love. We ask Jesus to help us to walk in love since it is the fulfilling of the law. Praise be to God for His Son Jesus, who is the final sacrifice for the world and deliverer of mans sins. He gives humanity eternal life. Let us put on the armor of light that came down from Heaven.

Every Good Gift

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

James 1:17 KJV

It is Monday and it is three more days to Christmas. Last minute preparations are being made for this wonderful day of celebrations for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. It may be the only time that some individuals receive gifts during this time. It is a time of remembrance of those who we love, and those who have helped us along our path. It is a time of family and friends to share with each other and to know the meaning of belonging. I can remember as a teen being somewhat alone on Christmas Day with no mother or brother, but at-least I had a stepfather who cared and accepted me for who I was with no strings attached. To me this was the perfect gift “acceptance and love.” When you have nothing to give in material possessions, you find the meaning of what the perfect gift is. It is the heart of love that keeps on sharing no matter what happens in our everyday life. Sharing a simple meal in love goes a long way in realizing that as humans we are meeting our basic need.

The word gift in this scripture is the Greek word for dosis, which means the act of giving or the thing given. As a child, it was always exciting to see what was under the Christmas Tree on Christmas Day. So much anticipation and hope came upon us as children that, if we were good throughout the year, we would receive our hearts desire. Of course, this did not always happen, but a gift was still under the tree if we would receive it.

We may be uncomfortable receiving a gift if it came with strings attached when growing up. Parents tend to put conditions on children to perform in each task to meet certain expectation. You may have heard the saying, “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Sometimes a person cannot meet that expectation because it is unrealistic and only feeds upon a selfish desire of the person who is giving the conditions. It takes away from the act of receiving with humility and appreciation of the gift being given.

Did you know that receiving creates a connection with the person who is giving?  Sometimes we shy away from it to put a distance between the person giving the gift. If we can let go of the fear of past judgements and begin to see the generous heart of the giver whatever the intentions of promoting a self-image of being good, we can welcome the gift with a true heart of compassion. Compassion is a gift we all need today in the world we live in. How we view the world is in our actions we project towards others.

Receiving a gift may also bring the pressure to reciprocate. A person may want to protect themselves from being in another person’s debt. The actual part of giving had no debt attached, but rather the understanding that humanity has many faults. Therefore, the attitude of an individual should be one of love and forgiveness, which releases a person to receive the gift with open arms.

God’s gift coming down from the Father of Lights had no conditions, for He did not ask us to do anything to pay for our sins. Christ paid the debt in full at the cross. Are we ready for the perfect gift that came down from the Father of Lights?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16 KJV

God’s Son is the gift that was given to the world. It was given out of a heart of love and compassion. Can we receive His Love and Compassion? I pray that the answer is “yes.” We must receive the gift as a child in hope that He will bring healing to our soul and body that we may begin the walk in living daily in His Love. The greatest gift the world has is in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.