Sometimes I think we get lost in using the fruit of Spirit as some behavior manifesto and forget to simply admire them as the traits of a Father.
The fruit of the Spirit is the power of God to enable us to become Christ-like and I think it is vital that we view each of them from the context of how we get to receive His nature in full, regardless of our life circumstances.
In this post, I’m going to offer a few reflections on the first six fruits of the spirit as they’re laid out in Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness. In part two, we’ll reflect on the final three.
The love of God is a tenderness that becomes an exclusive affection.
I totally depend upon His relentless loving-kindness that covers a multitude of sins, mistakes, growth issues and wrong perceptions. Over time, that love grows into a confident relationship between us where I learn to have a consistent expectation of His affectionate heart towards me. I become the Beloved: The one who is much loved by the One. I hear the inflection, the tonal changes in how He speaks from different places in His heart. I feel treasured and cherished in Christ to hear Him speak to me as one who is in Him.
Joy is a journey all by itself.
God is the happiest person that I know. He regularly takes me on this beautiful roller coaster of intense gladness, laughter and delight. I am amazed at His sense of wonder about me. He has a deep, acute and intentional interest, not only in who I am becoming but also in how I am progressing. He takes pleasure in my learning. He has this lovely relaxed sense of elation whenever I get something or move into a new permission that He has cultivated on my behalf.
He rejoices over me at every opportunity especially, it seems, when I realize what I could have done or said in a certain situation. He is irrepressibly cheerful. He is triumphant in my battles and celebratory in my upgrades. He reserves jubilation mostly for my less inspired moments as though He believes that His joy over me can make the biggest difference in my looking up, standing, dusting myself off and moving on.
Peace is my supreme place of being quiet in Him. A state of calm and rest that creates a vast stillness in His presence.
It’s more than just a freedom from disturbance. Peace is designed to overwhelm all anxiety, fear and stress. I practice His rest in me everyday. Stepping back into my fortress of peace and abiding in His calmness. He is undisturbed, untroubled, composed. Always free from strife, never agitated. He is content with me. He knows how to set the pace for my life. He loves to upgrade who I am and has no problem joyfully knocking me off my feet and laughing. His peace surrounds and enfolds me. It is tangible rest. It’s a lifestyle.
Patience is the quality of being able to persevere under pressure with a good heart and mind.
It is endurance without complaint. It is the art of waiting in expectation of His kindness. I love His calm expectation of me because I know what He is really, really like. He has this wonderful even-tempered faith in me that I will awaken to His kind persistence. He is not easily provoked but lovingly, patiently repeats the same lesson. He is sure and confident in His own loving-kindness towards me. He knows that He is irresistible.
I have never known anyone as kind as the Lord. He is astonishingly considerate.
His kindness demonstrates His humility. His thoughtfulness towards me has moved me to tears on many occasions. The benevolence and compassion towards me both as a much loved child, and as a mature man in the Spirit has been HUGE for me! Even bigger has been the kindness in my petulance and immaturity when He has remained unchanging towards me when I have been at my most idiotic and stupid. He loves to show the superior qualities of grace towards me that compel me to become rich in grace myself.
Allied to that kindness are the times when His goodness has challenged me to step into a higher place of intention towards people that are being difficult.
As always our own life is the training and proving ground for growth, favor and upgrades. He practices on me lovingly so that I have the example, experience and the testimony to practice on others. I have had so many life changing experiences with God’s goodness in the face of my inconsistency. (The lessons I learned gave me the material to create a message entitled, “Perfecting the Art of Bouncing Back,” a CD favorite of mine.)
Goodness makes us resilient. We can withstand the shock of the unexpected, recover quickly and position ourselves under blessing. Goodness turns a setback into a comeback. Goodness looks after another’s welfare. It causes us to act with honor. We bless the unfavorable giving a divine advantage, especially to those who may not deserve it. Goodness elevates us.
These six aspects of God’s nature have become grounded in me because the Lord has dedicated Himself to being my example, inspiration and my experience. We have encounters with His nature so that we are made into His image. He entrusts us with those testimonies so that people are touched through us and His abiding presence.
P.S. This is the second post in a series to kick off 2016 about abiding in the Spirit of God and it’s impact on how we carry ourselves in the world. My hope is that this will inspire you to have more presence, more peace and more brilliance in the new year! To explore deeper, be sure to download “Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit.“