Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Fruit of the Spirit - Introduction

      In this journal we will go into a fairly deep study of the fruit of the Spirit.  This journal will break down each of the elements of the fruits and create a deeper understanding for the reader.  This understand should lead the reader to have a deeper understanding (and hopefully, conviction) as to how we as Christians should live in order to draw closer to God’s presence, live a peace filled life surrounded by God’s blessings, and be shining lights to the world around us.
      Our main scriptures that will guide us through this study will be at the beginning of the chapters (or) fruit sections, these scriptures will have a greater impact when memorized and reflected on daily, they are: Galations 5:22-26, Colossians 3:12, and 2 Peter 1:5-11. (Which are written out at the bottom) These will be regularly looked back on as review and a reminder that all elements should be sought after and that all the elements are dependent on each other.  We will find as we go through this study that we will not find one of the fruit without finding the others as well, which I think is a glorious sign of God’s immaculate wisdom and glory, it is a sign of God’s wonderful consistency.
      Please remember dear readers to keep a humble mind as we go through this study, do not forget that we are not done learning, we are life-long learners who must always be willing to grow.  If we had all the answers God wouldn’t ever need to rescue us from our problems, nor would he have had to send his son to die for us, nor would we have to pray for wisdom to a God who has all the answers.   Remember with humility we grow at a steady pace and develop deeper understanding, not to mention we receive the blessings that God wants to pour into our lives.  I find too that I discover more understanding about myself and find flaws that I was too proud to face when I humble myself.  I love how much I grow every time I do this study and I have to say that I am quite relieved that I am not done growing, for if I knew all that there was to know in life, I would feel quite empty and honestly I wouldn’t find any hope in my future.
      So join me as I don on my cap of humility and gather my excitement as we start our journey, our journey of growth in our Christian maturity, our growth in our love relationship with Christ, and our growth in our Christ-like image that will be a beautiful shining light to those around us.  The Bible version I will be using is the New King James Version (NKJV) however, a New International Version (NIV) or King James Version (KJV) will be fine.  I find that the NKJV goes deeper than the others, yet doesn’t lose you with the old language, but that is my personal preference.  Here we begin.

 Galations 5:22-26: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are in Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. 

Conceit is vanity, it is a high opinion of one's self, in a way it is pride or haughtiness. However, remember stay open minded, we are putting on our humility caps and thinking in a new and humble way. In 1 Peter 5:5 it talks about how God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Think on that as we wear our humble hats.
To Provoke someone is to call forth anger in them, to stir up on purpose, to inflame or rile them, and this could even go beyond anger this could be any sort of reaction that is negative. We are to build each other up and encourage the right things in each others lives, not the other way around, we as Christians are to promote life and love, not hatred and trying to destroy each other.
Envy is  a painful or resentful awareness of another's advantages.  I love how the dictionary defines it as a painful or resentful awareness, both are negative things in life.  Pain can stir up sadness, depression and so on while resentment can stir up malice and hatred.

I define these to give a clear picture of the things we want to avoid, I want a clear picture of what we are not to do especially because we have just put on our humble hats.

Colossians 3:12-14: Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all you must put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 

Now all these things take humility, especially forgiving others, I know believe me I really know how hard it is to forgive some people, I have been wronged in BIG ways, and I felt God telling me to forgive them which was extremely difficult because I didn't want to let go of my anger.  I had to let go of my pride and humble myself, and when I did and when I forced myself to really let go and forgive I felt this amazing peace rush in.  And I love how in this scripture it doesn't say "you should forgive as Christ forgave you" like a suggestion, but rather "you MUST do" its not a request or a suggestion it's a command.  I know that sometimes command feel like someone taking away our freedom, but God's commands are to promote our freedom in him.

2 Peter 1: 5-11  (key verses: 5-8): But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sings.

This scripture is quite clear, if you have these things you will be fruitful and if you don't you are blind and have forgotten that you have been remade in Christ.  So put on your humble hats and go with me on this journey of gaining wisdom, fruit, and a closeness to Christ that will also impact our world.

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