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A Spirit Production; Love in all it’s expressions (Pt 2)


As a follower of Jesus, the fruit of the Spirit is our guidance system. It is meant, foremost, to be used to examine our own heart. If we use it to measure others, it soon leaves a trail of bitter taste where there should be Spirit sweetness.

Long ago, I noticed that defining what fruit is, how it shows up in real life, how we live it out is— well, just hard. It isn’t black and white, cut and dried, able to be taken at face value.

Love is never a formula. It doesn’t look the same situation to situation or person to person. Love is alive, always changing, ever growing.

Sometimes love looks like a hug and a long talk. Sometimes it looks like shoving someone out of their comfort zone and locking the door behind them.

Sometimes kindness looks like a hot meal. Sometimes it looks like telling someone they can do better, and you expect better from and for them.

(For intro and part 1 click here )

Joy:

Joy is peace unleashed.

The Spirit fruit that produces joy is the realization that God is aware and favorably disposed toward me.  His love is leaning toward me. As a result, all else falls into the shadow of his presence. Joy is not constant happiness but an overriding awareness of God’s joyful involvement in my everyday life. 

Just as love means to extend oneself, joy means to extend your favor toward.

  • Awareness of God’s favor
  • Anchored in grace
  • Delight
  • Favor
  • Sees the good
  • Eternal security
  • Opposes  depression, anxiety, worry, panic

Joy implies exceeding and great, endless, eternal delight. Joy is to know that you know you are loved.

 

Peace:

Peace is joy at ease.

This Greek word is equivalent to the Hebrew word SHALOM. It is a sense of being POSITIONED FOR BLESSING, knowing God’s provision is always more than enough. It enables us to conduct our life with a calm quietness because of a deep dependence and trust in God.

  • Wholeness
  • Completeness
  • Soul integration that settles into identity
  • Tranquility in mind and emotions
  • Prosperity of soul bringing personhood into oneness
  • Inner calm
  • Peaceful relating to self and others
  • Serenity of soul
  • Harmony of character and relationship

It is the deep breath you take when your soul feels settled. It is the fresh air in your face when you are in step with your purpose… or calling, design, destiny.

 

Patience:

Patience is often defined as waiting on someone else. Or relinquishing our responsibility of decision to another. This is a gross misunderstanding of the word that diminishes its power. It also ignores our responsibility and power to act when God says to act.

Scripture defines patience as long-tempered, as opposed to short-tempered; to curb a passion in order to act within the timeframe and prompting of God.

  • Hopeful waiting
  • Sensitivity to God’s timing
  • Purposeful restraint of own agenda
  • Intentional action
  • Acts when God says to act

Patience is a purposeful restraint of our anger but it does not restrain the passion of God. It is not a failure to acknowledge or express emotion but expresses the Spirit’s emotion concerning the situation. If God is passionate about it, we have every right and responsibility to be passionate too.

We should not confuse patience with human tolerance, nor having a timid personality or non-confrontational nature!* Patience does not compromise the things we know to be true, and necessary. Patience does not risk the masses to enable the individual. Patience acts in kindness, but it does not ignore what needs addressed and corrected.


I want to go on record as saying, we get this wrong so much of the time. We use this word to dodge responsibility; to enable others in their brokenness; to justify sticking our head in the sand about hard issues. It is time we step up and move when God says to move. We need to stop calling cowardly behavior patience and we need to stop “Fiddling while the church burns.”
A well-respected woman in my life recently said, “We use that word (patience) to shut people down and dare them to challenge us on it.”

 

Kindness:

The root word of kindness paints a picture of being timely and well-fitted to meet a need. Kindness avoids cruelty or negligence. Spirit produced kindness is not weak or powerless but it is soothing help, a compassionate response right when needed.

  • Mellow — not harsh
  • Calm
  • Considerate – not cynical
  • Sympathetic
  • Quietly walking alongside.
  • Shares generously and invites others into the circle.
  • Morally excellent character— integrity.

“Kindness is sweet in its words, steady in its ways.” -Jerome, 5th century AD

“Far from being mere grace of word and countenance, kindness pervades and penetrates the whole nature, mellowing there all which would have been harsh and austere.” – R. Trench

“We have no term that quite carries this notion of kind and good.” *

 

Goodness:

The Greek root word conveys the thought of being intrinsically good, not only in actions but an inherent soul condition. It is a unique quality of character that comes only from the work of the Spirit in us.

Goodness is more than moral excellence or quality of character; it is the ability to recognize and choose that which is good. Goodness recognizes the value within others and acknowledges it.

  • Generous
  • Big hearted
  • Liberal with all possessions
  • Charitable
  • Giving of self, time, and good.

This word is strictly a biblical term and not found in any secular Greek writings. (N. Turner)

 

Faithfulness: 

Pistis is the common word for faith in the New Testament. In this verse, however, it conveys the idea of a person who is faithful, reliable, loyal, and steadfast. It is the quality of remaining engaged when the natural tendency would be to become uncommitted, undependable, or unreliable.

Faith and faithfulness are both generated by an experience with God that brings a revelation about what pleases him. It is “for him, through him and to him” and glorifies him.

  • Persuaded beyond wavering
  • Reliable and loyal
  • Steadfastly devoted
  • Trustworthy
  • Dependable
  • Dedicated
  • Constant
  • Guarantee based on valid persuasion

“The word ‘faith’ has traditionally been understood as ‘believing the correct doctrinal positions about Jesus.’  […]  faith as Scripture emphasizes it is most often understood as receiving a word of revelation from God, believing the word that calls for some act of obedience.“ -Randy Clark *

 

Gentleness: 

Addresses the emotions and temperament

Gentleness is and attitude and demeanor of control over emotions and temperament; strength held in restraint, controlled by kindness, gentleness, mildness. It pictures a strong-willed person in submission to a higher authority. Someone who has learned to submit his will to a higher authority. It is not a weak person but a person controlled by the Spirit.

It is the idea of wild, fierce power under God’s control to direct in the correct way, to the right extent, at the right time. Gentleness avoids being over-forceful and not forceful enough; waives personal rights—to do what is right.

  • Forbearing
  • Patient in actions
  • Control of oneself
  • Tenderness

Aristotle defined gentleness as the perfect place between not being too prone to anger, nor too slow to anger.

 

Self-control:

Addresses the physical realm

Self-Control is Spirit empowered restraint and moderation. It is a work of the Holy Spirit which redirects our energy, realigns our desires, and heals our appetites. 

Self-control is not behavior management but soul level healing that changes our desires. It doesn’t merely change outward appearance but changes inward appetites. Self-control dictates our emotions and actions. It is a work of the Spirit that fully heals and redeems the inward part of humans enabling us to choose God’s choices.

  • Discipline
  • Balance
  • Control
  • Free of obsession
  • Temperance

It is a mastery of appetites and desires that comes from knowing the Master. It is the power to be content without excesses; to live a life of moderation and control that flows from a rich relationship with Father, Son, and Spirit.

I love this version of Galatians 5:22-23 from the Passion Translation:

 

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:

joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patience that endures,
kindness in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.

Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.

 

So what do all these layers and hues and depths look like? For a quick sampling read Love In All Its Varied Expression – Pt 3 here 


* Wm. Barclay; Discovery Bible Software; Bible Study Tools;  Rick Renner, Sparkling Gems: From The Greek; Randy Clark in Charismatic Christianity as quoted in Discovery Bible Software


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