Bible Study Notes:

Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness, Faithfulness, Meekness

Galatians 5:22-23

 

These notes are from a transcript of the postings during Bible Study on Thursday Nights at 9 PM Eastern Time US at Bible Study Chat at churchusa.com. You are welcome to join us!

Father God, we lift up this study to you in Jesus Name. We first of all offer ourselves to you as servants to Christ. We ask you to cleanse us of any sin and forgive us for any trespass. We ask you to fill us anew with your Spirit and restore to us your peace. We glorify your name Father. We exalt you and lift you on high! We praise you for your watch care over us and your continuous outpouring of love to us. Let this love flow through us to all about us. Give me strength that I need for the tasks at hand. In Jesus Name.

Father, thank You for faithfulness. Thank You for the richness of Your Holy word. Thank You for the blessings we receive from Your Word. Thank You for binding satan tonight so that we may proclaim Your Word, in Jesus name. AMEN

Father you are faithful and your love is everlasting! We rejoice in your presence this evening. satan we come against you in the Name of Jesus, we bind you and rebuke you and cast you out of this holy place. Along with you go division and contention and unrest and all of the unholy junk from hell! Holy Spirit we invite you to be our teacher. Lead us into truth, unity and love through the Word we pray. In Jesus Name. AMEN and AMEN.

Last time someone was asking whether patience was a character trait or an emotion, and I said both. I got to mulling over it and remembered something important about the relationship between emotion and action. In the natural, we are usually led by the flesh - our flesh needs to eat, drink, sleep, etc., and our lives are pretty much guided by what our flesh wants. When our flesh is happy, we are unhappy. When our flesh is dissatisfied, we are discontented. Now sometimes our flesh wants what our minds (consciences) say is bad, and one of two things happen. We either give into the flesh and try to justify our behavior, which brings guilt. Or we resist the flesh, and then get grumpy. Either way our emotions are affected negatively.

We have a spirit that we usually ignore when we are walking by the flesh. But without God, we really don't have the POWER to do very much with the flesh. This order of things in the natural is just the opposite of the way God reveals to us in the Word. God is always speaking...our problem is that we don't always hear what he says. We listen with cotton in our ears sometimes.

When we are born again, saved, born from above, whatever you wish to call it, a change occurs in this "natural" or fleshly order of things. Now our spirits are reborn, are able to hear from God, and are able to control the mind and the flesh. Notice I said, we "are able" - we now have the ability to change rule of the flesh, but it isn't automatic. God overcomes the ways of the flesh, if we let Him. The Holy Spirit IS our POWER if we open up to Him.

This process by which we control the flesh is called sanctification - to sanctify means to "make holy" or to set aside for God's use. Sanctification is a two-fold process - it is putting off of the old self (the flesh, carnal man) and putting on the new man in Christ Jesus. One problem that a lot of people face is trying to do one without the other. Either they try to put off the flesh - the negative - without doing the positive part or vice versa. But both are necessary.

Part of the negative is NOT choosing to do the acts or works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21. Part of the positive is allowing the Spirit to produce fruit THROUGH you as in Galatians 5:22-23. Now, since we are born again, our spirits have been recreated to be able to serve God, it reverses the "natural" or fleshly order of things. No longer does the flesh rule, the Holy Spirit through our spirit does.

Anything we receive from God is through our spirits by faith. That includes salvation, healing, and sanctification. Before, we listened to our flesh, mostly ignored our minds (consciences) and probably didn't know we had a spirit. Now we receive from God through our spirit, our minds are renewed and our flesh is brought into obedience to Christ. This is the godly order of things.

What does this have to do with our emotions? As our thoughts are brought into more Godly ways, so are our emotions. Before when our flesh ruled, our emotions depended on whether the flesh was gratified or not. Now when our spirit rules, our minds are renewed to be like Jesus, and our emotions come into line with what God gives us in our spirit.

OK, so before when I said patience is both a character trait and an emotion, this is what I meant. We walk in the Spirit, receive the fruit in our spirits, our minds are renewed to manifest these as character traits, and our emotions reflect the fruit as well.

Galatians 5:22-23: 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.

Fruit is what the Spirit produces in us when we walk in the Spirit. Gifts are ministries that the Spirit gives to us to equip the body of Christ for this battle we're engaged in! The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (fleshly) but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, bringing every thought to the captivity of Christ.

Let's review the fruit we've discussed so far.

Love is agape - God's unconditional love for us.

Joy (chara) the emotional excitement, gladness, delight over blessings received or expected.

Peace (eirene) the state of quietness, rest, repose, harmony, and security in the midst of turmoil, strife and temptation.

Patience (makrothumia) long-suffering, endurance, to bear long with the frailties, offenses, injuries and provocation of others, without murmuring, repining or resentment. Repining is whining, complaining, keeping a list of how someone else "done you wrong".

Now we're ready to go on to kindness or goodness (chrestotes) a disposition to be gentle, soft-spoken, kind, even-tempered, and God-like in life and conduct. I think sometimes Christians in their zeal for God forget plain old kindness. Just being nice and polite to others, not easily taking offense. Having that Christ-like spirit, a reflection of agape love that seeks to put other's needs before your own. God am I kind to others? Do I put their needs first? Do I remember that they are men and women for whom You died?

Do I get angry easily? Am I easy to take offense? Am I really living by Your commandment to love others as I love myself? Do I have a kind spirit, an urge to share with others? The Bible says that anger does not bring about the kind of righteous life that God desires. Anger is the father of hatred, which produces murder.

Offenses WILL come, Jesus said, but through the Spirit we can control the way we react to offenses. More about that when we come to self control. Kindness and goodness are characteristics of God. When we allow the Holy Spirit to produce this fruit in us, it is a silent testimony to the world that Jesus lives in our hearts.

The next fruit is faithfulness. Faith (pistis) is the living, divinely implanted, acquired and created, principle of inward and wholehearted confidence, assurance, trust and reliance in God and all that He says. Now some mistakenly think that faith is a blind leap into the dark, a dependence on myth and legend and that you have to "park your brain at the door". Nothing could be further from the truth! God honors our intellect; after all He made our minds.

Hebrews 11:1 says that "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". Our faith is substance and evidence. Substance (hupostasis) in the Greek means a support; ground work; confidence; subsistence, reality, essence. Faith is believing that God will do what He says - and it is based on God's Word initially. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

The Bible says that to every man is given the measure of faith. God gives us faith to start with, and then we build on that faith by hearing the Word. The more of God's Word we hear, the more our faith is increased.

Hebrews 11:1 Amplified: Now Faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title-deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality - faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.

Now when you have the title-deed to a piece of real estate in your hand, are you holding the actual land? No, well, how do you know you are the owner? How do you know the land exists? Because the title-deed is confirmation of it! Faith is based on God's Word and increases as we see God at work in our life and the life of others.

Faithfulness is living a lifestyle of faith, where we by habit continually trust God! Since God IS faithful to HIS promises, then as a fruit of the Spirit, we are faithful to our promises. So faithfulness is two-fold - faith towards God and His Word, and faithfulness towards mankind in our words. Actually the word translated faith (pistis) means believing INTO something. It is more than mental assent to the gospel, it is believing God and following Him.

In the bible belief and faith are from the same root word - in English belief is a wimpy word really. But yes, true faith is a willing heart joyfully trusting God and doing what the Word says. According to Vines Expository Dictionary, faith is "to believe, also to be persuaded of, and hence, to place confidence in, to trust, in this sense of the word, reliance upon, not mere credence…Its chief significance is a conviction respecting God and His Word and the believer's relationship to Him." (pp. 116-117)

I'm very careful not to make promises unless (1) they line up with the Word and will of God to the best of my knowledge and (2) I'm pretty sure I can keep them. Faith is believing God and acting as if what God says is true. Doing what God says the way God says it without grumbling or doubting. To increase your faith, just read the Word and do what it says. God will lead you by His Word, one step at a time.

The opposite of faith is doubting. If we are full of fear and doubting, faith cannot operate. However, we are not to judge other people's faith or lack of it, especially in the area of receiving healing. A lot of people give up on the Christian life because someone has judged them on this issue.

The next fruit is meekness or gentleness. Meekness, Gentleness (praotes) is the disposition to be gentle, kind, indulgent, even balanced in tempers and passions, and patient in suffering injuries without feeling a spirit of revenge. Now meekness is perhaps the most misunderstood of all the fruits. It doesn't mean that we are doormats (God doesn't produce squashed fruit).

A good example of meekness is a race horse. He has resplendent qualities and strength, and runs like the wind, but only under the control of the jockey. Likewise, Christians are strong, but are under God's control. A meek person does not seek revenge, is willing to be forgiving and leave vengeance to God. Meekness and gentleness relate to Jesus' actions on this earth. He was compassionate and gentle, sought out those who were neglected, but when strength was needed He had it.

Meekness IS NOT weakness Remember when He cleansed the temple? He did it at God's command. Otherwise, He kept His awesome strength in check. Meek people are mild mannered, gentle with others, courteous, seeking to include all.

Someone asked I think if we could "stand up for Jesus". By all means, but remember you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. In defending Jesus, don't behave in a manner unworthy of Him. Yes, juju. Remember at the Last Supper the disciples were arguing about whom was the greatest in God's Kingdom? What did Jesus do? He was supposed to be the guest of honor, but he told a towel and a basin of water, knelt down and began washing the disciples feet.

Another definition of meekness, gentleness and humility would be a sense of servant hood, serving one another in love. Lord God, give us more servants! Those who are willing to work even without recognition. Those who do not esteem themselves better than others. Those who do not care for titles or glory, but give all the honor to you!

Father God, thank you for your Word that has been given to us tonight. Help us to put into practice what you have taught us. We ask the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit in us and show God's love through us to a lost and dying world. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Thank You Father God, for all these gathered here that You might bless and protect. Thank You Father for the blessings of Your Holy Word tonight. Place peace and rest on all who came to share in your Word. In Jesus name AMEN.

God's blessings on you all! Thank God for willing patient, learners!

 

Remember, whenever God gives us a revelation, the devil tries to steal it from us. Guard your hearts and meditate on what you've learned!
And put it into practice!

 

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