Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Fruits of the Spirit

We have all had feelings to deal with that we haven't wanted to experience. It could be sorrow, depression, lonesomeness, worry, or anger.

When these unwelcome feelings seem to bombard our hearts, we know they are contrary to the peace, joy, contentment, and comfort that comes from Jesus Christ. These sound a lot like the fruit of the Spirit.

Below is a unique wall hanging we received for a wedding gift many years ago. It has the fruits of the spirit burned into small pieces of wood and attached lengthwise on a strip of burlap.  I cherish it and keep it near our front door as a reminder to walk in the spirit.

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

We want the fruit of the Spirit to pervade our feelings. But when we are experiencing the opposite, how is that supposed to happen? 

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Galatians 5:16-17).

Our desire is to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh. So how do we take this step? By praying and asking for prayer support.

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

The first part of the verse is key – “Be careful for nothing”.  This word careful does not carry the modern meaning we tend to associate it with today.  Today we use the word more in terms of "be careful not to fall!". But in Scripture, the word means to literally be “full of cares” as in worries and anxieties. And that fulness leaves little room for much else.

Being anxious, worried, sad, or upset about anything signifies a concentration on negative feelings, rather than praying and making our requests known to God with full assurance that he will not only hear but act in our best interest. From which point our joy and peace can quickly return.

Not only should we pray ourselves, but ask others to pray for us as well.

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Ephesians 6:18).

Admitting our weaknesses and asking for prayer is a humbling act.

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble" (James 4:6).

Our need for more of God's grace is never ending. For He is shown to be strong in our weakness.

It’s very important not to forget to pray with thanksgiving. The immense power of God is availed through gratitude.

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Something amazing happens when we are being thankful.  Anger, depression, sadness and anxiety seem to fade away the same way that darkness simply vanishes when you turn on a light.

Psalms 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

Light is movement and energy. You've heard of the "speed of light" but do you know what the speed of dark is?  Zero.  Dark has no speed, no movement. It is like death.  So keep your light on!

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Throughout the day, thank the Lord for things you have never thanked him for before. Sitting here typing this, I am thankful for the peaceful sounds outside my window and soft morning breezes wafting in.

I’m thankful for my mental faculties and the many creative avenues open to me for creative expression. I’m thankful for the food in my cupboards, the water in my faucet, the many bibles in my home and the gas in my car to take me places.

You get the idea.  Thank the Lord for 5 things today which you have never thanked him before. 

And what to do with your worries? Take them to the Lord in thanksgiving.  This is "turning on the light". And you know what happens to darkness when the light comes on? It has no choice but to vanish

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) 

Have a blessed day in the Lord!


Sarah said...

Such good advice. Recently stumpled upon your blog and have enjoyed reading past posts. I have been very encouraged. I am a semi-new mommy to an 8 month old girl and stay at home. Thanks again for your encouragement to a newbie! :)

Simply Keeping Home said...

Welcome, Sarah! I'm delighted to be an encouragement to you!

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