Fruit of the Spirit–On yesterday, I began a short series of writings on the Fruit of the Spirit described in the Bible in the book of Galatians, chapter five. As outlined by the Apostle Paul, there are nine manifestations of the Fruit of the Spirit that can be evident in a Christian’s life: Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness; Faith, Meekness, and Temperance.
Yesterday, we looked at the first three, Love, Joy, and Peace. These three reflect our personal relationship with God. Without these three ruling our hearts and lives, it is nearly impossible to bring forth the remaining six.
The second group, Longsuffering, Gentleness, and Goodness reflect our interactions and relationships one with another. I don’t think it is a mistake that Paul places Longsuffering as the first fruit in the second group! Why? Because God demonstrated much longsuffering in his dealings with mankind in hopes that “All would come to a place of repentance.” (Despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:4 KJV).
Just as God commended his Love towards us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, the Holy Spirit wants to strengthen and empower us with the Fruit of Longsuffering so that others might see Christ in us.
There are times when it takes great longsuffering and patience in dealing with various relationships we have on planet earth. For any relationship to endure, thrive, and become strong in the Lord one must be willing to suffer together (whether as friends, family members, spouses, or co-workers and peers) through all kinds of trials, tribulations, disappointments, and discouragements. Without a willingness to endure, relationships will most often cease to exist. Aren’t we glad that God never loss a “willingness” to Suffer for us!
There are plenty of Scriptures given on how we are to act and react one with another; parents and children; children and parents; husbands and wives; wives and husbands; neighbors and strangers; employers and employees; as well as leaders, powers that be, and kingdoms and citizens. God gave much attention in the Bible regarding relationships. He knew from the start that it would take a person “willing” to endure (long-suffering) to make any relationship succeed. Always remember, “There is none perfect (righteous); no not one!”
When we develop and manifest the Fruit of Longsuffering, we can then reap the seeds of Gentleness and Goodness within our lives. Oh, how sweet to be around a person who possesses a sweet, gentle, and kind spirit. As a child, I once had a pastor’s wife who seemed to walk in the absolute presence of God at all times. She didn’t have to “work up” a lot of “Bless your heart” dialect. Her warm, sincere, and gentle smile and mannerisms seemed as if they could vanish away the harshest of fears and worries. She walked in a Spirit of Gentleness and Goodness and it was evident in every thing she attempted.
Oh, today that we would be willing to “Suffer” for Christ’s sake in our relationships one with another. That we would be willing to endure until absolute victory was won over jealousies, selfishness, biases, misunderstandings, and hypocrisies. As the “royal law” states, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…” (James 2:8 KJV).
Our neighbor is not just the person who resides next door to us, but the very person that may be living in the same house as we do; a spouse, a friend, or a relative. In this current life…we are all neighbors in one sense of the matter. Therefore, let us love as Christ loved us and was willing to “give” himself for us.
Today, if you are struggling with relationships with others, as we all do from time to time, ask God to manifest His Spirit within your heart and life so that you are capable of producing the Fruit of Longsuffering, Gentleness, and Goodness. In doing so, we are exemplifying God’s love towards us and our Love towards God and others.
Remember, God Loves You!
Lin T Rollins, Author