Understanding the Fruit of the Spirit
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! –Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
You may not know it, but when you gave your life to Jesus, all the fruit of the Spirit were planted inside you in seed form. Through the Spirit you can experience joy and peace in every circumstance, no matter how difficult or painful.
You may not be a naturally patient person, but you can call on the Spirit within to produce patience. If you’re battling unhealthy behaviors, like an addiction or some kind of bad habit, the Holy Spirit can give you the ability to resist the devil and make healthy choices.
The apostle Paul put it this way: When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power.
Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit. (Romans 7:5-6 NLT)
On your own, it would be impossible. But when you operate in the Spirit, you have a supernatural ability to overcome. What a precious gift! And the more you draw near to God, praying and reflecting on His Word, the more you will experience the fruit of the Spirit in your life. But where should you start?
It's All About Love, Love and Love
“ How do you love your neighbor? First, you must learn to receive God’s love for yourself. Until then, you can’t truly love anyone else. You may do all the right things, but your motivation will be all wrong. ”
All the fruit of the Spirit are held in place by love. Jesus said that loving God and other people is the most important commandment. “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”
He added, “A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:39).
How do you love your neighbor? First, you must learn to receive God’s love for yourself. Until then, you can’t truly love anyone else. You may do all the right things, but your motivation will be all wrong. And God isn’t nearly as concerned about what we do as He is about the attitudes of our hearts (see 1 Thessalonians 2:4).
My Journey to Love
For a long time, my heart was a mess. For many years I had been verbally and sexually abused by my father. Then I married a man who ran around on me and eventually ended up in prison. By the time I met Dave at the age of twenty-three, I couldn’t remember a time in my life when I was happy.
My emotional wounds had made me harsh and short-tempered. I operated purely out of fear. And even though I knew all there was to know about Christian living, I had not learned how to receive the love of God—the only thing that can heal someone’s sick soul. It wasn’t until I surrendered control and started receiving God’s love that I finally became free.
Now I love myself! And I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and be a blessing to someone else. I study love—what it is and how God wants us to express it—more than anything else.
Begin Your Own Journey
God loves you so much, He wants you to experience that love in the deepest part of your soul. Pray and ask Him to help you be a person who walks in love. Choose to believe the best about people rather than automatically assuming the worst.
Study the passages of Scripture that talk about God’s love for you and really get them into your heart. Then ask God, “How can I encourage someone today?” Don’t wait until you feel like it. Go out and love on purpose. You will be amazed at the joy it releases in your soul! Focus on learning to love as Jesus loved, and I promise, all the other fruit of the Spirit will follow.
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