Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Fruit of the Spirit’

Responsibility

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 13:34-35  (KJV)

As children of God, we have a single responsibility to this world – that we love one another.  Having been recipients of God’s love,  we become channels of His love to a world that doesn’t know Him.

Perhaps we need to define love before we go much further. Love is NOT a warm, fuzzy feeling.  It may include that feeling, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. Love is a commitment to the welfare of another. It is a decision. And grammatically, it is a verb.

Short, simple grammar lesson – those of you who already are aware of this may skip this paragraph. “I love you” is a sentence composed of a subject pronoun “I”, a verb of action “love”, and the object pronoun  “you”. This is a very simple sentence, the first basic sentence form we learn to read and write.

When we decide to love someone, we take on the responsibilities enumerated in I Corinthians 13.

 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a (NKJV)

As children of God, this becomes our to-do list, our responsibility. If this list sounds familiar, we might take a short look at the fruit of the spirit as enumerated in Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (KJV)

The action is followed by a result. The actions of love help to ripen the fruit of the spirit.

Father, God,

As Your children, we have taken on a new identity and a new responsibility. Make us a channel of Your love to this hurting world. Help us to remain faithful to Your calling on our lives. Give us Your grace and peace as we walk through these days.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

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Gentleness Fruit

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5: 19-23 – NIV)

When I went to the dictionary, I found that gentleness indicated mildness of manners or disposition.  No surprise there. It also is the quality or state of being gentle. So we really need to look at gentle to see the full definition.

There we find:

Full Definition of GENTLE
1 a :  belonging to a family of high social station
    b archaic :  chivalrous
    c :  honorable, distinguished; specifically :  of or relating to a gentleman
    d :  kind, amiable —used especially in address as a complimentary epithet <gentle reader>
    e :  suited to a person of high social station
2 a :  tractable, docile
    b :  free from harshness, sternness, or violence
3 :  soft, delicate
4 :  moderate

That first one is a bit of a surprise – belonging to a family of high social station – is not what I think of first when I hear the word “gentle.”  But think about it.

As Christians, we belong to a family of high social station. Our Father is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (I Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:16)

There is a word for it – nobless oblige.  That concept has its root in scripture.

For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: (Luke 12:48)

All of the other definitions of gentle arise from the roots of noble birth and noblesse oblige.

As children of the King, we are expected to behave with graciousness and kindness and gentleness toward others. It is as if we were responsible for their well-being. Why does that sound familiar?  Oh, wait. That’s the definition of love.

unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) :  the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) :  brotherly concern for others

Our behavior must reflect God’s fatherly concern for others, always seeing them through God’s eyes of love.

Father, God,

Help me to see others as you see them, as your children, your creation. Grant that I may always reflect your love by speaking your truth without arrogance or harshness. Give me the strength and fidelity to remain true to your standards.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen

 

Unity

Ephesians 4:1 -3   I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

Goal setting is a constant topic in business and life planning.  We are encouraged to set goals that are measurable and achievable.  We are told to break these goals down into small, measurable steps. Things we can check off a list as we get there. Steps that will help us feel like we are accomplishing something as we move forward.

But this unity of the Spirit thing.  How do we measure that? How do we get there from here?

John the Baptist has our answer:  He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30

As we go forward in this life, endeavoring to live as Christ would have us live, we can only do so with the help of the Holy Spirit. He was given to us when we turned to Christ and surrendered to Him completely.  That act of surrender is not a one time thing. We surrender daily, hourly, moment by moment, to the leading of this Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth, all peace.

Galatians 5:22,23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

As we grow in Christ, in submission to the Holy Spirit, we will acquire these attributes. I doubt that we will have all of them perfectly in this life, but I am certain that we will acquire more and more as we walk in faith.

Father, God,

Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit as our comforter and guide through this life. Help us to reflect your love and the unity of the Holy Spirit to all we meet. Forgive us when we fall short and help us to improve daily.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.