I’m thankful for the gifts of the Fruits of the Spirit. Like any garden, we must guard against weeds growing up and killing off the fruits of the spirit in our lives. Our old sin nature can arise to choke out the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. The garden of our hearts requires constant pruning. We must allow the Holy Spirit to grow us and shape us into the image of Christ. When His work becomes accomplished in our lives, the fruits will mature and become visible to the world. The Bible summed our purpose in this life in John 3:30 (NIV); “He must become greater; I must become less.” When the fruit of the Holy Spirit grow in my life, people will see Christ in me and want to learn of Him.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
Thankful for the gift of Love
The first fruit I’m thankful for is love. In this sense, we are looking at our love for our friends and our neighbors, not romantic love. Love gets mentioned 319 times in the NIV version of the Bible. Love remains a central theme throughout it also, and I think that is why it is the first fruit. Jesus died for us on the cross because of God’s love for us. Love is also one of the most recognizable characteristics of a Christian. John 13:35 (NIV) demonstrates this by telling us, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Everything we do should reflect the love of Christ to others. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. The entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV) proclaims that without love we are nothing as well as explains what our love should look like. Love is the anchor for all the other fruits because without love, none of the others are possible. When we have love for everyone, our hearts are ready for the Holy Spirit to do His work within us. Love is the fertilizer that grows all the other fruits.
Thankful for Godly Joy
Joy does not just mean happiness. The world equates joy and happiness as the same thing. But Christian Joy is much broader than just feeling happy. Joy remains present no matter how dark our circumstances appear because we know God is still in control, even when everything is out of control. Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that the Joy of the Lord is our strength. Anchoring our joy in Jesus helps prevent the world from robbing us of it. Like the campfire song by George William Cooke explains, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay.” The fruit of joy lives deep within our heart so that the Spirit can shelter it from all the circumstances of life.
Thankful for Peace
Likewise, peace from a worldly perspective differs from this fruit of the Spirit. I think the world no longer knows peace at all, lost in the chaos of war and terror. Satan thrives on unrest within a soul. But God gives us a feeling of peace that transcends human understanding. In John 14:27 (NIV); Christ assures us with these words; “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Thankful for Patience
As Christians, we are called to bear the fruit of patience. So what will that look like in our daily lives? Tolerance means we wait for the Lord to move before us. Waiting on the Lord feels counter-intuitive to our culture today, a society that wants everything now. Our hearts have learned that what God offers us is worth the wait. Patience also teaches us to put up with difficult circumstances and troublesome people. We endure trials for the sack of Christ because He bore the cross for us. We love the unlovable because Christ loved us and everyone is a child of God. God is patient with us, so we model this back to the world so that no one may perish, but each may receive eternal life.
Thankful for Faithfulness
Faithfulness means more than just our faith in God. This fruit also says we are called to be reliable and trustworthy. People know they can count on us to be available to help or to listen. We are faithful to follow God and the nudging of the Holy Spirit to do what is right and even to suffer because of Christ. And, even when our faith gets tested in the world, we stand firm because God faithfully gives us His strength to endure all things.
Giving Thanks for Kindness
Kindness is an attribute of God. God treats all He created with kindness, even when we rebel against Him. Also, God longs for all of His creation to be with Him forever in eternity despite all the sins we have committed. And God models the example of this fruit for us to follow. So often, greed seems to keep us from living out this gift. We want to keep our riches to ourselves. But Luke 3:11 (NIV) provides an example of how we should live out this kindness, “John answered. Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Kindness shares with those in need. It cares for the hungry and helps the oppressed. Kindness is love in action.
The Gift of Goodness
Goodness is another fruit of the Spirit. Sometimes the trait can be called Godness. The dictionary definition of goodness doesn’t offer us much help, “the quality of being good.” The dictionary does not go into depth on what makes up the qualities of being good. From the website www.Biblestudytools.com, we find this Biblical definition for goodness; “Goodness in man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.” Possessing this fruit means we chose good over evil. Something we all strive to do good, but we continuously fall short.
Another word used in place of gentleness is meekness. Stating someone is meek does not come across as a compliment for most of us. We prefer when the words strength and authority are used to define us. God’s meekness is not mousy or weak but shows humbleness and power in our submission to God’s will. When we are meek for God, we value others above ourselves and stand in opposition to the prideful. The Bible says clearly in I Peter 5:5 (NIV) that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. And Psalms 37:11 (NIV) plainly states that “the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
The Gift of Self-Control
Self-control is a fruit most will try to avoid in our society. We all want free-will, to do as we please with our lives. “It’s my body so I can do anything I want with it,” gets chanted in the streets of our cities. God calls us to live a life of self-control in our words and actions. Calmness and mildness shall prevail in all we do because we can trust the Lord for everything. Proverbs 16:32 (NIV) “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”
As I studied up on the fruits, I came across a great quote “After all, temperance and love are the bookends that hold all the other fruit in place.” Love leads the way to our life in Christ and self-control helps us to walk the path God has laid out before us. Our job is to cultivate the soil so all these fruits can grow freely in our lives. Jesus said in Matthew 7:20 (NIV), “Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.” When these fruits are present in us, the world will see Christ in us. I’m thankful for the light of Christ to glow brightly through the fruits and shines a light into the darkness found around us.
Grace and Peace to you,
Yvonne M. Morgan is a Christian #author, #blogger, and #speaker. #BibleGatewayPartner
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”