Monday, October 28, 2013

Fruits of the Spirit: Day 11 - Conclusions

Over the last couple weeks, we have been studying the Fruits of the Spirit. They are characteristics that God has exemplified for us to follow. These are ways that we can grow to be more like Christ in our daily attitudes and actions. I have greatly enjoyed going through these traits and I have learned a lot about myself, who I want to be and who God is through them.

The amazing part is that even with as much as I've learned, if I started over with love again tomorrow, I would learn even more. That is the beauty of the Bible, God's Living Word to us. No matter how much we learn and grow, there is always something new that God wants to share with us. I am excited to continue in my journey to learn and grow through His Word. I challenge you to read God's Word for yourself and let Him speak through it to you personally.

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The Bible is like a big road map in how to live and get the most out of our life. God gives us this map to grow in our faith as we get to know the Lord, our Creator, better. It is seen, told, exemplified and summarized throughout the entire Bible. However, this one example has always struck a chord of reverence in me, especially when it comes to the Fruits of the Spirit.

2 Peter 1:5-7 -- "In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone."

To grow in faith, first we must learn to do the right thing. That means to go in the direction God is leading you. Secondly, you must put that conscious choice into your heart. You will continue to grow in knowledge and wisdom of which way God is leading you.

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Once you begin to understand and can consistently respond and go in the direction of God's leading, stay that way. Continue to express self-control and obey God's callings. Then you must learn to patiently endure, even when God's calling is not easy or convenient. You must endure even when you don't want to because you know God has called you here and he has great, perfect plans for you. Only then can you be godly, holy and set apart as God's child.

There is no doubt in you faith and the perfection of God's will, you simply obey. You say yes to His callings. When you have faith with God in a solid, constant state, they you can begin to reach out and show God's love to others. You become a light in the darkness and others see you as different from the world, something wonderful in your life that they want in theirs.

After brotherly affection, being able to deal with others, you then enter into agape (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). This is the selfless, unconditional love that God has for us.

The truth is that most of us, including myself, will probably never reach this level of God's characteristics. But, that doesn't mean we don't continuously seek them out and strive to be a little better today than we were yesterday and a little better tomorrow than we were today.

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We cannot reach any of these Fruits of the Spirit without God's help. We live in a world of darkness and chaos, covered with sin. Only God can show us how to implement these Spirit filled characteristics that lead to perfect harmony. Only by imitating the One who loved us to become a sinless sacrifice and save us can we fulfill His purpose in us. We must join our life with His, make His mission our mission and communicate regularly and intimately with Him. We must seek to fulfill the greater intentions of the Law - the love God with our heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Matthew 22:37-39 -- "Jesus replied, "'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself."

Pray and ask God to help you begin to live by the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

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It is not going to happen overnight, but God knows that. You may even want to choose one and work only on that one for a while, then you can move on to another. But be diligent and prayerful and you will see great changes in your attitude, your responses and overall in your life.

God will show you victory when you are diligent and obey His calling. Learning to assume God's characteristics is always in His calling - "there is no law against these things" (Galatians 5:23). I pray that you find encouragement and begin to seek our a closer commitment with God today.
Day 2 - Love            
Day 3 - Joy              
Day 4 - Peace          
Day 5 - Patience       
Day 6 - Kindness      

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