But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
As previously mentioned,, the fruit and the lusts act as a mirror in the life of the believer. Our behaviors reflect what our lives are producing. So when you review your life as a Christian, what do you see? What do you produce? It is imperative that you evaluate your actions because Paul said a man must examine himself.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove (scrutinize) your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates (unfit, does not stand the test; therefore, it is cast away)?
Hopefully, when we examine our lives, we do not see too many of those lusts of the flesh being produced. When a person understands who he is in Christ, understanding that a supernatural transformation has taken place through faith, understanding that the old man died in Christ and that a new man has been resurrected, understanding that his life is not his own and that he has been bought with a price, this man, understands that his behavior must line up with the Word of God.
We can no longer walk around fulfilling the lusts of the flesh because the Holy Spirit in us will not permit it. Furthermore, Christians who attempt to live in sin will find themselves increasingly more uncomfortable, a lack of peace will pervade their life, ultimately resulting in one of two things: (1) he will be so uncomfortable he will repent and through the grace of God turn (2) he will continue in sin, be moved further from the presence of God, and ultimately, he will be destroyed (Proverbs 29:1).
(1). Love- we have already spoken about love. Love is who God is:
1 John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
We described love through 1 Corinthians 13. We discussed the fact that if Love is God, then hate is Satan. The love of God produces joy and peace; whereas, the hate of Satan produces fear.
I need to tell someone tonight that the enemy of your soul is a terrorist. His hatred for you wants to destroy you, and he wants to rule you through the bondage of fear. But God is love and:
1 John 4:17-18
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
(2). Joy - cheerfulness, calm delight.
In the society that we live in today, it is difficult for people to be calm, delightful and full of cheer; for the most part this is because, people are seeking joy and fulfillment everywhere other than in Christ. They look to their jobs, increase in pay, family, relationships, partying...
Fulfillment, or true joy, cannot come from external sources. True joy and fulfillment can only come when a person allows their lives to be swallowed up into the will of God. If you have invited Him into your life and asked Him to be the savior of your soul, but have not allowed Him to rule on the throne of your heart and be the Lord or king of your life, you do not have Godly joy flowing through you.
Joy can be present even when things don't go your way because when you really begin to relinquish control of your life to God, you come to the conclusion that He knows what is best for you; therefore, if it didn’t go the way you expected, then it wasn't what He wanted for you. Unfortunately, there is often a journey that must be travelled before we leave this place of selfishness and self- centeredness and become convinced that He knows better than us what is best for our lives. And many times instead of the Christian saying, “Here is my life Lord. Do with me what you see fit.” The Christian screams, “But I want it God!" with his fists balled up and stomping his feet on the ground.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit; it is not something we manufacture. When we begin to trust God with our lives, and things go different than what we expect, we should be learning as we are maturing that He is grooming us for His perfect will, so be joyous in that. Be joyous in the fact that you didn't get what you wanted because it would have caused a bigger mess down the road- you didn't know it, but He did. Be joyous in the fact that while you might not have gotten what you desired then, it doesn't mean you never will. Be joyous because if it is His will for your life that you have it, when you do receive it, you will be ready to keep it, and not just lose it again like all the times before.
(3). Peace- quiet, rest, harmony, safety
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Be careful (persistent anxious worry) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
In the first passage I used, the idea that Paul is communicating is that a person living in the midst of the kingdom of God is not attempting to fill himself with food and drink, those things will not bring fulfillment and happiness. Instead, the Kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We have clearly established that true righteousness is a verdict spoken over a person's life by God when they place their faith in Jesus and what He accomplished for them when He died in their place on the cross.
The result is that they have been translated from darkness to light (Col 1:13), now connected to the vine (JN 15), there is access to a continual flow of grace given to the believer through the person of the holy Spirit, available exclusively because of what Jesus accomplished at Calvary. Righteous standing before God (In Christ) gives access to grace, which produces peace and joy in the life of the believer.
In the second passage, the idea of being careful for nothing literally means don't be anxious or constantly worried. God does not want us living in a perpetual state of worry. Worry is a result of fear that needs won't be met or that bad things will happen and there is no hope.
This is not victorious Christianity. When you feel the waves of worry trying to crash upon your shore, you get alone in the presence of God. Don't run to your Pastor! Don't run to the preacher! Don't run to your husband, your momma or your daddy! Run to Jesus! He gave His life so you could have access to the presence of God. When God is in your circumstances, there is peace! I don't care what the problem your facing is; when God is present, there is peace!
That brings me to the last point I want to make about peace. As Christians, we need to train ourselves to understand how to allow the peace of God to be the umpire in our lives. In other words, true Christians are constantly looking for direction in their lives, singles about relationships, couples about finances and children, individuals about jobs. Every day, there are decisions to be made, and as a Christian, you no longer have the right to make your own decisions that do not include God. Well, that isn't exactly true, you can do whatever you want; you can make your own decisions. I mean think about it, you always did before, why change now? Do it your way- why not it worked well for the last 20 years right?
Part of the beauty of serving God is us willingly relinquishing and turning our lives over to Him, entrusting every aspect of our lives to Him, allowing our will to be swallowed up in His will. He will not force you to go His way, but if you want peace you better learn how to.
And that is probably the strongest sign that you are in God's will: the peace of God is present in the midst of that circumstance. But that is something we must learn how to follow because we are used to controlling our own lives.
(4). Longsuffering- patience in relationships.
It never fails no matter how hard we try people get on our nerves, and we have a difficult time forgiving them. The fruit of longsuffering gives us patience. One important thing to remember is that God has been longsuffering with us. Think about all the times we failed Him, He never gave up on us.
But remember, it is fruit of the Spirit not a fruit of you. What does that mean? It means when you feel frustration and bitterness towards someone, you have to go to God, acknowledge you have something in you that you need Him to deal with and ask Him to produce the fruit of longsuffering in you.
(5). Gentleness- kindness, moral excellence.
(6). Goodness- uprightness of heart
(7). Meekness- humility
I lumped all three of these together because they are in some way similar. Basically, I just want to say that there is right and wrong. When a person is allowing the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit in his
life, he will do the right thing when it comes to other people. Now, I have to say that to some people this means that there is never any conflict going on. I don't agree; evil is constantly trying to destroy the truth of God, and sometimes there will be disagreements over certain things; however, the heart of a true Christian will have at its core concern for God's people and the truth- not aggrandizement of self.
(8). Temperance- self-control.
It is important that we understand this is not the same as will power. Will power is something that man produces through his own strength. Instead, temperance is a fruit of the Spirit. Yes, we have to say, “No”. We have to say when it is enough and stop, but the Holy Spirit is the one giving us the power to do it.
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Once again, this is how it is all possible. Because the old man was crucified with Christ, the old man's appetites and cravings were also crucified. Because we are dead to sin and alive to God, we can say no to the things that use to destroy us. But the Christian, who has had a position change and now lives in the neighborhood where grace abounds, should be exhibiting a lifestyle that reflects his new position. When we live properly in the new realm and grace is changing us, we will not be self-seeking; instead, we will be seeking His will for our lives.