“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.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
Happy New Year! I’d like to start this year by doing a series on the fruit of the Spirit. Each fruit could be a series in and of themselves! Each one is jam packed with marvelous truths and applications regarding the Truth of God and His will for our lives. While there isn’t space to expound so deeply, my prayer is that you will be challenged to go deeper yourselves as to how you can live out each fruit to grow more intimately in love with God. Let’s dive in.
I believe Hollywood has deluded us with thoughts of love. We watch as women are romantically and passionately swept off their feet, as men are finally made whole through the love of the right woman, as flowers are sent, giggles are voiced, and the honeymoon stage never ends. We have fallen in love with a “love delusion.” But what about the love that crawls out of bed at 2am to rock a sick child after cleaning up their vomit filled room? What about the love that stands by a partners’ bed as cancer ravages their body because you are in it “for better or for worse,”? What about the love that takes the time to make an extra meal for a neighbor, despite your kids screaming in the background, because your neighbor is going through a rough patch? Philippians 2:5-8 tells us that although Jesus was in the form of God, He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He therefore emptied Himself, took on the role of a servant, and died on the cross in our place. THAT is true love my friend. Jesus did not live to be self-centered. He came to be selfless, to empty Himself so you and I could come into right standing with God.
Take a moment and ask God how you can grow more in love with Him this year. Does He want you to read His Word more regularly; have a daily, intimate prayer time with Him to be still and listen; take more time to surround yourself with worship music? Then take a moment to reflect on how you can live out God’s love more practically towards those around you. Practical evangelism is a marvelous tool! When done with the intentionality of extending God’s love, every practical deed is a seed being sown.
Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/heart-love-romance-valentine-700141/
“They included all the little ones… For they were faithful in consecrating themselves.”
Ten years ago I walked down the aisle to the man I knew (and still know!) God intended for me to spend the rest of my life with. That day we pledged to have each other’s backs no matter what.
In this verse in 2 Chronicles the Levites (Israelites who aided the priests in their temple duties) were being commended for faithfully consecrating themselves unto the Lord. Faithfulness is a daily occurrence, not a sporadic implementation, but a steady determination demonstrated through action.
In high-school I faithfully attended church and youth group, but the hours in between were spent living selfishly for myself and unfaithfully toward the Lord. God saw my heart for what it was and He lovingly but firmly led me through some disciplinary action in order to align my heart and actions with His.
Just as I pledged to be faithful to my husband ten years ago, I pledged to be faithful to God when I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior. I am very thankful I have been much more successful at remaining faithful to my husband than to the Lord, for no earthly man has the infinite amount of grace and mercy our Lord has.
In Romans 12:1 we are encouraged to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord. I hope we can all heed the example of the Levites in 2 Chronicles and be commended for faithfully living a life that glorifies the Lord.
Photo Credit: Me
“Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions. And they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity. But they have seen for you false and misleading oracles. “
They don’t claim to be prophets, more like marketing agents or advertisement executives. They may not claim to speak for God, but they do an excellent job of turning our attention away from Him. I believe the enemy likes to work smarter, not harder. By this I mean he knows he doesn’t have to plan and manipulate Job-like (AKA: extremely terrible) circumstances for Christians to become ineffective. If he can simply distract us from loving the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, the result is often rendering us impotent.
While I don’t personally know many of you reading this, let me ask you to please get vulnerable. Pretend we are sitting in front of a cozy fire (sans kids!) with a cup of coffee in our hands and allow me to ask you… do you know your “Achilles heel”? Do you know what easily distracts you from living for God’s glory? If you asked me I’d be honest and tell you it’s nutrition and exercise. Those are certainly not bad things. But if I let them consume me, or make them a priority over God, they’ve become an idol. And that’s not good. I know for some of my friends it’s social media or their kids. Loving our kids is a wonderful thing! But if we place them on a pedestal before God, we’ve put them in a position God never intended them to be.
I would encourage you to take a moment and think about some of your weaknesses the Devil can easily tempt you with. Next, I’d encourage you to look up some scriptures to meditate on when you feel an attack from the enemy. Maybe having an accountability partner is what you need. Don’t let the enemy rob you of your effectiveness for God’s kingdom. Put on His armor and stand ready for battle!
Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/apple-coffee-computer-desk-356056/