All posts tagged: fruit of the spirit

Is Your Goodness Consistent in Every Situation?

How do we define good? In today’s culture, there seem to be as many definitions of good as there are people. And when we do define what is good, we don’t always do it. I know lying isn’t good and I certainly don’t like it when someone lies to me. Yet, I will straight up embellish a story I’m telling about myself so others think I am something special. I’m going to tell the truth: this is lying. When I do it, I’m not being good. Is this what Paul was getting at in Galatians 5:22-23 when he described goodness as a fruit of the spirit? Paul doesn’t just mean to be good, however you define it. There actually is a concrete way of knowing what is good and what isn’t. We have God’s Word to help us with this. When we read the Bible, He fills us with His truth so we can discern between good and bad, right and wrong. It isn’t up to us to decide in the moment based on how …

Are You Confusing Self-Control with Righteousness?

Isn’t it funny, and kind of bittersweet, how we look back and see the way we used to think when we were young? The more I age the more I realize I knew very little when I was younger. Kelli and I are going on 10 years of marriage and I’ve learned so much since then. Let me give you some context. When Kelli was 16 years old, just 2 years before we met, her parents divorced. There was a lot of pain for Kelli in the midst of the split and much of it was directed towards her dad. Fast forward a few years and I found myself sitting in Shannon’s office. I don’t remember the context of the entire conversation or why we were even having the conversation. I do remember talking about my marriage and my responsibility as a husband and a man. I remember telling Shannon for the first several years in our marriage my goal was simple: don’t be her dad. It was a pretty easy gauge to control myself …

Are you Championing the Gentleness of God?

A virtue, which I need in a higher degree, to give a beauty and luster to my behavior, is gentleness.  If I had more of an air of gentleness, I should be much mended. – Jonathon Edwards If one of your most influential contributions to Christianity is a sermon titled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” you probably wouldn’t be labeled as “gentle.” As we’ve been going through the fruit of the Spirit, gentleness is one which is very misunderstood.  When we think of gentleness, or meekness as some translations have it, we usually think of weakness. Our mind conjures up a small framed person who barely raises their voice and couldn’t hurt a fly. Much of Jonathon Edwards ministry flourished because of his passion and fire. So why would this 17th century, fiery preacher want to be gentle? A lot of this is to blame on the English language. The Greek word here is prautes and literally means mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, or meekness. Coincidentally, “meek” comes from an old …

4 Fundamental Questions to Improve Your Faithfulness

If you ask someone who sleeps in on Sunday morning why they avoid church, many will point to the hypocrisy or lack of faithfulness in church members. Are you part of the problem? Here are 4 questions for you to reflect on as you work on growing the fruit of faithfulness. Are you faithful to God? When no one is looking, are you still committed to being trustworthy? If no one were to ever find out, would you still walk the right path? In John 14:23, Jesus says, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.” Being faithful to God means walking by the Spirit even when the flesh is telling you something different. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” Are you faithful to making disciples? Jesus called us to love God and love others. How are you doing at …

Are You Waiting on the Lord Patiently?

When I was fairly young, I remember learning a song for a program at church. The chorus has always stuck with me, and both of my boys have heard it several times. Have patience, have patience. Don’t be in such a hurry. When you get impatient, You only start to worry. Remember, remember, That God is patient too. And think of all the times when others have to wait for you. Patience is not something natural for humans. Especially as we move toward adulthood, we become more time-aware, seeking to accomplish everything we can in our lives. Our culture pushes us toward greater efficiency, even at the cost of our peace. We don’t want to wait to accomplish our goal; we want to have the next “viral video” to gain notoriety. We want to take a pill and lose all the fat on our body. We want to jump in the car and arrive at our destination faster than we ever have before. In Matthew 4, Satan offered Jesus efficient opportunities to “accomplish” His goals …

Is Your Joy the Real Thing or a Counterfeit?

In the 16th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Luke takes an interesting turn in his writing. In context, its a very graphic story of those who reject the Father while on earth. A beggar named Lazarus and a rich man are the main characters. They first encounter each other at the gate leading into a city and Lazarus begs for whatever the rich man would give him. It is left to believe the rich man never relieves Lazarus’ hunger, but what we do know is when they die, in eternity Lazarus is by Abraham’s side and the rich man is in Hell. There is a great chasm between the two, and the rich man, overwhelmed with lack of anything to quench thirst, becomes the beggar, asking Abraham to have Lazarus dip the tip of his finger in water and to touch the tongue of the rich man so that he may be cooled from the agony of the fire. Abraham responds: Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus …

Are You Choosing Peace In Every Circumstance?

When you hear the word peace, what comes to mind? Do you imagine white, sandy beaches with the sound of waves? Do you think about sitting near a tranquil mountain stream? Do you picture tie-dye t-shirts and peace symbol necklaces? The word peace can conjure up many different thoughts and ideas depending upon your perspective or personal preferences. During our most recent services, Shannon taught the Biblical meaning of peace is “a serenity and tranquility that comes from trusting in the wisdom and control of God rather than our own understanding.” I vividly remember experiencing this definition of peace when we were in the midst of becoming approved as foster parents. We decided to enter the world of foster care because of a specific little girl. We wanted to be able to adopt her, if the opportunity ever arose. However, as we went through the approval process, the girl’s biological mother completed the requirements of her case plan and the family was reunified. While on paper this looked good, it was frustrating to know the …

Are You Genuine or Just Playing Pretend?

Do you still have “bear fruit” ringing in your ears, too? Our last series was all about changing the heart. If we know why we react to circumstance the way we do, what we were trying to achieve with our actions, we can lay our desires and fears at the foot of the cross and begin to respond out of the Spirit.  In other words, if we can identify the root, we can change, and produce different fruit. At the end of our series, Shannon visited a few bears at an animal sanctuary. Truth be told, we tried to get a real bear on stage. Yeah, I know… it would have been awesome. But after watching Shannon feed a bear through a cage, I’m not so sure he could have handled being face to face with a real one. Which got me thinking… Bears are dangerous; the volunteer in our video makes this clear. To their core, bears are bears. They think like bears and act like bears because they have the heart of a …

What Is Your Heart Rooted In?

About a year ago, Bailey, my then girlfriend, and I went apple picking, just like any young millennial couple living in Georgia would do. We drove up to Ellijay, grabbed a bag, and picked apples. The real reason we were there was because I planned to propose. It didn’t happen. Give me some slack, I was a college kid working as an intern. Anyway, we took home 20 pounds of apples. But do you want to know what we didn’t bring home? Oranges. The entire time we were there, we only saw apples. Not a single orange, peach, grape… nothing, but apples. This isn’t a surprise. We were in an apple orchard. Down to the root, the trees had the identity of apple trees. Sure, there were different types of apples, but at the end of the day they were all apple trees. The fruit of these trees gave them the trees their identity. And the same is true for us, Church. Jesus said, “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is …

Will You Wither or Glory Under the Heat?

These are some entries written in one man’s “journal.” They may sound like yours. I’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles… I’m not sure what to do… I’ve been spiritually terrorized… I’ve been thrown down… Even if you don’t write in a journal you’ve probably said similar things to yourself. Maybe even out loud. We’ve all felt the heat of circumstances beyond our control. Some of us wither under the heat. Some of us react in hurtful ways—towards others, towards ourselves, towards God. And some of us come through it glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. What makes the difference? The Apostle Paul wrote those “journal entries” above. You can find them in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (The Message). But he, in today’s jargon, did not put a period where God had put a comma. If you look in your Bible you will see that each of the above entries (even if worded differently) is followed by a comma. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not …