fbpx

What is the Fruit of the Spirit? Getting the RIGHT Perspective

Free Download

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)

I want the fruit of the Spirit, don’t you? I want to have all the love, joy, and peace that I can. But come to find out—I had it backwards!

A tree produces fruit primarily to benefit others, not for itself. Oh my! My focus unknowingly was on myself. This fruit is not for me, the bearer, but for God and others.

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (Jn 15:8)

This mind-altering truth—that the fruit of the Spirit is more for others than ourselves is more apparent in the last 6 aspects of the list. However, even there we must be careful.

Do I want to be patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled so that I can feel good about myself and that others will think highly of me? Or do I want the fruit of the Spirit truly for God’s glory and the benefit of others?

Tough and very convicting questions!

It always boils down to motives; to what’s in our hearts. I certainly got pricked with these questions. But knowing the real truth will set you and me free. How else can we change any wrong thinking? We need the Holy Spirit to point out our misunderstandings. I want a rich bountiful harvest, don’t you?

So here’s where we need to check our thinking and change if necessary:

1. Have the Right Goal

  • Joy should not be the goal. That’s putting our desire for joy before God (i.e. an idol). But seeking God first will lead to that joy (Ps 16:11).
  • Having peace in our lives shouldn’t be the goal, but to be at peace with God. Then the peace of God will follow as a result of being right with our holy Creator (Rom 5:1, Phil 4:7, 9).
  • Love should be the goal, but not to receive love, rather to give love to God and others (the 2 greatest commandments).

2. Have the Right Source

We don’t produce this fruit—He does. Its origin is divine.

Spiritual fruit develops by abiding in Christ.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing….” (Jn 15:5)

“I am like a tree that is always green;
    all your fruit comes from me.”
(Hos 14:8)*

Fruit is the evidence of what’s on the inside. Therefore, bearing spiritual fruit is to show others the evidence of God working in us.

In actuality, the fruit of the Spirit is a list of Christ’s character qualities. 

Once we have the correct perspective, we will experience what we want in the way of love, joy, and peace. It’s a byproduct of believing, obeying, and living in Christ, the Vine.

So my friends, I may have stretched your mind, but I have full confidence that the Holy Spirit will help you understand these spiritual mind-blowers. Let God teach you and transform your way of thinking so you can produce bountiful fruit for God’s glory that will last.

To help you even further get a copy of my latest award-winning book.

You can learn more by clicking here.

“After reading this delightful, spiritually rich allegory, I can honestly say I better understand what abiding in the Vine means.”

~Andy Terryn, IPM National Missionaries in Uruguay

~~~~~

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (Jn 15:16) 

abundant fruit

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

We Choose How We Look at Life

Free Download

I’ve lived in an apartment for the last 2 years. It has certainly been way different than living in my home with a beautiful garden. One of the biggest changes has been in the view: from attractive to ugly.

If I look down I see a large ugly parking lot and a stinky dumpster.

But if I look up and straight out, I see people’s homes and trees. That’s better, but then there are these unsightly telephone poles and wires ruining my view. 

Yuk! But what do I expect for a city view?

Then, of course, there’s all that noise from motorbikes and beeping vehicles.

In a lot of ways, my setting reminds me of what a broken world I live in.

To help offset the distracting unsightliness I’ve placed several (well many) plants and bird feeders on my patio. Now I can sit on my patio with at least a little appeal.

I’m so glad that our minds can tune stuff out. However, that takes effort—and a lot of it for easily distracted types like me. The good news is that we can train ourselves if we choose. 

I am the one who chooses where I will fix my gaze.

I can focus on the sinful trash of this world

OR

On the fact that my Savior has conquered sin and that I am no longer in that dumpster!

I can look out and complain about the ever-present troublesome power lines and looming poles of trials in this life.

OR

I can look to Jesus to help me endure as I look forward to that spectacular un-marred view in the future.

I can stare at all the negative around me, and be consumed with it all.

OR

I can zoom in on my pretty flowers—the good things the Lord has done and will do. The closer I look at the flower (good things), the more the ugliness is blocked out.

I can stop and smile at the amusing chirping activity at the bird feeder, and be reminded that God is taking care of all of their needs just like He will take care of all of mine (Mat 10:29); comforted with the knowledge that God values me way more than them (Lk 12:6-7).

As I sit on my patio, I can look closely and admire the beauty of the individual flowers nearby and reflect on His beauty. I can smell the fragrance of a nearby sweet alyssum and be stimulated to offer my life as a sweet fragrance of sacrifice to my Redeemer, instead of stinking up the joint with complaints.

And as I sit in my comfortable patio chair, I can recall the many times God has comforted me.

God is up there somewhere, the full enjoyment of His presence is out of my reach right now. But He is also with me as I sit on my balcony thinking about Him, reading His word, and looking forward with great anticipation to the fulfillment of His promises.

Yes, there is much ugliness in this fallen world marring our view. But if we choose to open our eyes and look through God’s Son-glasses and get His perspective, all of that ugliness will fade away as we gaze upon Jesus. I’m choosing to gaze upon Him.

What will you choose to focus on?

 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame…. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb 12:2-3)

 

Title photo by Ansley Ventura on Unsplash

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Ahhhhhhhhh! 8 Steps in Getting Relief from Our Burdens: Part 2

Free Download

We don’t have to live downtrodden; carrying such heavy loads. We have help. Last time I gave you 3 steps in relieving your burdens. Here are 5 more.

Step 4: Allow the Holy Spirit to enable you.

By cooperating with God, the Holy Spirit will not only teach you but enable you to bear your load.

In our backpack of burdens many of us have a burden that’s not only difficult to carry but one that constantly pricks us—just like the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Three times he begged God to remove this thorn, but God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9).

As a widow I have found that Jesus is not only enough—but MORE than enough. God’s power is sufficient for any and all burdens!

Step 5: Let others help you

God often sends people to relieve our burdens. There are many examples in Scripture (see the story of Moses in Ex 17, 18; Num 11)

We are not to do life alone. We need each other.

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2)**

Jesus is our example here as well. He asked others to pray for Him. He received help from others for His daily needs of food and shelter. It takes humility to ask for help. Imagine the second Person of the Godhead asking mere humans for help! If the God-Man asked for assistance, surely we too can admit our need.

Step 6: Bear your part

Understand that some burdens can be completely removed; others cannot. And some God chooses not to take away—like that thorn in the flesh. For those that aren’t removed, you will have to bear some of the load. But His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Mat 11:30). Remember He is empowering you to carry your part.

Step 7: Be Grateful

Although not explicitly stated in the Matthew 11:28-30 passage, an attitude of gratitude will greatly help lighten your load. Jesus was a thankful Person; it’s part of His character. Learn from His example. When you are heavy laden, praise and thank your Savior and He will lift your heavy spirit.

Step 8: Get specific

All burdens are not created equal! Exactly how to release a particular burden will depend upon its type. I obviously cannot cover all that here. But to get you on the right path:

  • Begin with prayer, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide you.
  • Find biblical passages that address the area in which you are struggling.
  • Meditate on them.
  • Share it with others in getting specific answers. At the very least they can pray with you and for you as you learn to release it to the Lord.

There is one burden I do want to cover—the biggest burden we all have—guilt. That’s for next time.

One last thing:

Don’t add to your burdens by following your own way.

When you’re in the yoke, totally submitted, Jesus will keep you from going astray. You won’t have the additional burden of figuring out the path ahead or the consequences of future mistakes. He knows the way and you can trust Him to do His part; to pull His weight (99.99999% of it!). That in itself is a tremendous relief!

 

*The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

**New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Ahhhhhhhhh! 8 Steps in Getting Relief from Our Burdens: Part 1

Free Download

Life is hard, filled with as many types of burdens as there are grains of sand. But life can also be good.

Our heart-breakers need not be back-breakers!

We can be of good cheer because Jesus has overcome this heart-breaking world (Jn 16:33). How, you may ask?

God’s Word tells us. The answer can be found primarily in 1 passage:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mat 11:28-30)*

Step 1: Come to God

Jesus is inviting you to release your burdens to Him. Why should you accept His invitation? Because you…

  • Can’t do it yourself. Jesus gives what no one else can give—rest from the burden of sin; from the weariness of fruitless toil. We can do nothing without Him (Jn 15:5).
  • Will receive rest for your soul
  • Will become closer to your Savior.

Step 2: Come willingly and humbly

Take my yoke upon you… For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

A yoke is a wooden beam normally used between a pair of animals enabling them to pull a load together. It’s a picture of submission; of yielding to God’s ways. God will not force you to take your burdens to Him, but He invites you to do life with Him. You will have problems in this life. Whether you deal with them alone or with a powerful God who loves you is up to you.

“His commands [will] are not burdensome” (1 Jn 5:3). Jesus is carrying the majority of the weight. Most of us don’t like that word submission, but I have found it to be a beautiful word.

We’re not surrendering to the enemy but to the Savior of our soul!

Step 3: Let Jesus teach you

…Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” (v 29).

We need to learn how to release our burdens. It’s not natural for us to look for help, especially in this independence-driven nation. “I am woman!” and “I can do it.” attitudes permeate our culture.

We are to learn about Jesus and from Jesus. Who He is—His character and His ways. Jesus is God with all of the wonderful attributes of God. He is a living example of how to release our burdens. He came to His Father in prayer with His concerns; He came willingly and humbly.

Learning how is a process. The 1st step is to get into the yoke and then learn how to remain there. We have the tendency to take back control. We must learn to recognize when we’ve reverted back to doing it our way. God will let you know that you are struggling against Him by removing His rest. That lack of peace in your heart is an indication you may have gotten out of God’s perfect will. Once you are aware of your straying, then just confess and resubmit.

Other times God brings a hardship into our lives to remind us of our desperate need of Him.

Gratefully, the Holy Spirit will teach you discernment. As believers, we have the best Teacher residing in us. The Holy Spirit, God Himself, will teach you. And He is an incredibly patient and forgiving One! 

Next time you will learn 5 more steps on how to release your burdens. Until then…

Get in the yoke—you won’t be sorry!

 

 

The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

 

 

Ahhhhhhhhh! Getting RELIEF from Our Burdens

Free Download

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mat 11:28)

Today is the 4th of July in which we celebrate the freedom of our country. Yet how many of us are walking around in this free country not truly free? We are so heavily burdened with the trials of life; feeling trapped in a difficult job, marriage, situation….

Burdens come in all shapes and sizes; some are small and annoying; others are huge and painful. As you journey through life what’s in your backpack? What’s robbing your freedom to enjoy life to the fullest? Is it:

Problems

What unresolved issues, what decisions, what solutions are you worried about? Whether it’s money, relationships, work issues, family hardships—you name it—we all have them to some degree. There are as many problems as there are stars!

Sorrows

Perhaps it’s a heartache that’s weighing you down—the loss of a loved one (I certainly know what that’s like); the loss of your home, job, relationship. Grief can certainly sap our energy. There are many kinds of hurts and sorrows.

Regrets

Maybe you’re loaded down with regrets; failures. Mistakes you’ve made in which you are now paying a heavy price.

Actions of others

Or could it be the mistakes of others; sins committed against you? That weight of hurt can be huge. And if you haven’t forgiven—bigger still! 

Unrealistic Demands

Another type of burden are unrealistic demands from others—your boss, family….

Jesus spoke the words above to an oppressed group of people under the yoke of traditions and nit-picking rules imposed by religious leaders.

Legitimate

Some burdens are legitimate: the responsibility of taking care of kids, husband, job, or a ministry. Perhaps it’s a God-given burden for someone—where you feel burdened to pray or act on their behalf. Many ministries are born from an aching heart for a group of needy people–like rescue missions for the homeless, or crisis pregnancy centers for women considering abortion.

But if we’re not careful even these genuine responsibilities can weigh us down.

Guilt

Possibly the biggest burden you have is one of guilt and shame; hiding all the dirt of your past (or present) from others as well as yourself. Yet the overbearing weight of shame is still there, day in and day out; too ashamed to admit your sin.

Is there no hope for us? No relief?

Of course, there is! We do not have to remain heavy-laden. The answer is found in the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Please join me in this series of finding relief from your burdens. Meanwhile, meditate on these verses; think about what some of your heaviest burdens are, then anticipate the

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh what a relief it will be when you learn how to lighten your load!

 

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Getting the RIGHT Perspective of the Fruit of the Spirit

Free Download

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)

I want the Fruit of the Spirit, don’t you? I want to have all the love, joy, and peace that I can. But come to find out —I had it backwards!

A tree produces fruit to benefit others, not for itself. Oh my! My focus unknowingly was on myself. This fruit is not for me, the bearer, but for God and others.

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (Jn 15:8)

It is more obvious that the last 6 aspects of this fruit list are for others. However, even there we must be careful.

Do I want to be patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled so that I can feel good about myself and that others will think highly of me? Or do I want the fruit of the Spirit truly for God’s glory and the benefit of others?

Tough questions!

It always boils down to motives; to what’s in our hearts. I certainly got pricked with these questions. But knowing the real truth will set you and me free. How else could we change our thinking? We need the Holy Spirit to point out our misunderstandings. I want a rich bountiful harvest, don’t you?

Here’s where we need to change our thinking:

1. Have the Right Goal

  • Joy should not be the goal. That’s putting our desire for joy before God (i.e. an idol). But seeking God first will lead to that joy.

…You will fill me with joy in your presence…. (Ps 16:11)

  • The goal should not be to have peace in our lives, but to be at peace with God. Then the peace of God will follow as a result of being right with our holy Creator (Rom 5:1, Phil 4:7, 9).
  • Love should be the goal—not to receive love, but rather give love to God and others (the 2 greatest commandments).

2. Have the Right Source

We don’t produce this fruit—He does. Its origin is divine.

Spiritual fruit develops by abiding and having faith in Christ.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing….” (Jn 15:5)

“It is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…. (John 14:10-12)

Fruit is the evidence of what’s inside. Therefore, bearing spiritual fruit is to show others the evidence of God working in us, proving that He exists and cares. God wants to be known and uses willing vessels like you and me to display His glory. 

Once we have the correct perspective, we will experience what we want in the way of love, joy, and peace. It’s a byproduct of believing, obeying, and living in Christ Jesus.

I probably have stretched your mind. Good! The Holy Spirit will help you understand these spiritual mind-blowers. Let God teach you and transform your way of thinking so you can produce bountiful fruit that will last.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (Jn 15:16)

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

12 Ways to Increase Your DESIRE to Stop Sinning

Free Download

“I want to stop sinning!” 

Do you really? 

Habitual sin is very difficult to stop. One of the biggest reasons for failure is because we don’t want it bad enough. We need a strong desire to break those strongholds.

In order to do that we need to consider:

The ramifications of doing that sin and of resisting that sin.

How will committing, or not committing, that sin affect your state of mind, relationships, health, ministry, job, future …?

We never sin in a vacuum. Our sin has an impact on others, and so does our resisting sin.

Here are 12 ways to increase your wanting to stop:

1. Consider the cost Jesus had to pay to redeem your soul from hell.

2. Contemplate on the infinite love God has for you.

3. Think how much sin grieves the heart of your Savior; how much it hurts His heart.

Picture Jesus Christ hanging on the cross for the sin you are about to commit.

4. Do not detach your sin from Christ, i.e. that it has no effect on Him.

As a believer you are united with Christ, inseparable. When you are watching that R-rated movie, or over indulging in a meal, Jesus is with you.

5. Fear the Lord (in a healthy way).

All sin, tiny to horrendous, is a serious violation against your Holy God. If you are a true Christian, there is no fear of judgment (1 Jn 4:18), but God cannot wink at sin. His just character will not allow that. There will be consequences here and/or loss of rewards in heaven.

6. Learn to hate your sin.

Sin is disgusting and vile to God! If only we could see sin in its true light, we would sin less! When we hear or see atrocities done against someone don’t our hearts cringe? Our inner man cries out for justice.

Now there are different levels of evil, but all sin is horrific to our pure and holy God. You and I have to stop thinking “I’m not so bad.” That’s just another disguised tactic of Satan.

7. Ponder on the horrors of hell, and the splendors of heaven which will lead you to sheer gratitude for God’s mercy and grace.

8. Picture the smile on Jesus’ face as you resist that temptation!

9. Not sinning shows agape love to God. (Jn 15:9-10)

Think: “I agape love You, Lord. I choose to lay my desire down as a sacrifice to You.”

10. Think how much joy and peace you will lose or gain; of those horrible guilt feelings when you sin.

11. Reflect on your rewards in heaven.

These words: “Well done, good and faithful servant…. Come and share your master’s happiness!” will motivate you not to give in (Mat 25:21).

12. Consider the loss or gain of intimacy with God.

The Lord cannot draw near to you when you are willfully sinning.

*****

You could probably think of more reasons—I certainly can.

I challenge you to contemplate on 2-3 of these reasons. When you do you will think twice before you give into that temptation.

And your Savior will be smiling—I guarantee it!

 

Would you please let me know in the comment section which of these motivate you the most and if you have any other reasons that would benefit our readers?

 

THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide

Free E-book

Sign up for the weekly blog and Get your

FREE 7 Secrets to the Abundant Life E-book

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.