“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
My bed, like that of many people, is against a wall. Well, actually, it’s against a window. That means that, short of jumping out of a first floor window (which would probably wake me up!), there is only one way to get out of bed. There are still days, though, when it does feel like I’ve got out of bed on the wrong side. Not because I’m battered a blue with broken legs, from jumping out of a window, but because I feel miserable and irritable. On those occasions, how the rest of the day progresses depends to a great extent on the behaviour of the class I am teaching during period one. If they are friendly and cheerful, and settle down to work hard, my spirits are lifted and the day gets better. If, however, they are loud and annoying, the day continues much in the same way that it started.
This, of course, is not a Biblical way of living, and I am trying hard to stop this from happening. In today’s verses, Paul tells the Galatians what the positive attributes of a godly character are, and says that this are gifts given to us by the Spirit. He tells us that love is important, since by loving those around us, we will reflect God’s character. Paul lists joy as his second fruit; if we take joy in God’s salvation, then we demonstrate that we are committed to serving him. Peace is next; we can have peace because Jesus has died for us, taking on our sin so that we can be at peace and approach God. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, since we need to be patient and follow God’s plans for our lives, in his time, rather than purely following our own agenda. A futher fruit that flows from the Spirit is kindness, which means being gernous and considerate to all those we encounter. A Christian will demonstate goodness, since we place others before ourselves, and seek to serve them more than ourselves. We should demonstrate faithfulness, namely keeping our word, and honouring our promises and commitments. Jesus himself demonstrated the next fruit very clearly – he was the personification of gentleness. Do we follow his example? Are we kind and supportive to those we know. The final fruit of the Spirit that Paul mentions is self-control. If we are in Christ, the Spirit will help us to resist those temptations that could pull us away from Christ.
Do you demonstrate all of these qualities on a daily basis? Or, like me, do you have days when you are grumpy and miserable? Let’s pray together that the Holy Spirit will help us to demonstrate these qualities, so that we may better serve Christ, and those around us.