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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Keeping in Step with the Spirit

As Christians, we are supposed to align ourselves with the Word of God in how we live our lives. Each day, we should be resembling Christ in our thoughts and deeds.

God does not condemn us for our sin, but does expect those who profess to follow Him to act like it. The quickest way to tell if you’re strong in faith is to determine what kind of spiritual fruit you’re producing in life.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

Develop the Fruit of the Spirit

According to this passage, nine characteristics exist to prove that the Holy Spirit is working in one’s heart. These nine “fruits” are the mark of a strong follower of Christ. Judge yourself by these and you’ll begin to see where your sinful nature may be crowding out God’s character in your life.

LOVE

Each generation has tried to define love through music and poetry. Yet, the world’s definition doesn’t even scratch the surface of true love. Webster defines love as “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as the fatherly concern of God for humankind, brotherly concern for others.”

Jesus’ example: Christ’s crucifixion, as recorded in Luke 23, is the ultimate illustration of love. Nothing kept Christ on that cross except love for His father and His ransomed – us.

Personal application: Show love to someone by doing something selfless for them this week. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Foot the bill for a co-worker’s lunch.
  • Rake leaves for an elderly neighbor.
  • Watch your friend’s kids for an evening so they can enjoy a night of solitude.

JOY

Webster's dictionary states that joy is “the emotion evoked by well-being or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” The Bible goes beyond this definition to include the deep excitement that comes when you’re walking with God.

Jesus’ example: Being filled with the Holy Spirit gave Jesus exceedingly great joy. It’s best describe in Luke 10:21.

At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. (NLT)

Personal application: Allow joy in your life by focusing on the Lord each moment of your day. Here are some practical ideas:

  • Read the Bible with an open and meditative heart.
  • Seclude yourself for about an hour and worship the Lord.
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit continually to fill you each day.

PEACE

Harmony in our lives is the evidence of His presence and our reliance on His intervention when we most need supernatural help.

Jesus’ example: In the garden scene before Jesus’ crucifixion, He is at peace. While being arrested, Christ stood calm and was assured of God's faithfulness even as He faced torture and death (Luke 26:47-56).

Personal application: Peace is so much more than the absence of strife. Ask God to give you a way to let His peace into your heart. Here are a few ways:

  • Pray for that seemingly hopeless request as if God has already answered it.
  • Remind yourself that God is in control when a stressful situation arises.
  • Release your deepest fears into God’s hands.

PATIENCE

Whoever has the spirit of God living within them can be patient even if it isn’t your normal tendency to do so.

Jesus’ example: Christ's patience is especially evident in His conversations with the disciples and people of that time. He remained approachable and taught the multitudes in ways they could understand God’s Truth. When religious leaders doubted His authority, Jesus simply answered them with thought-provoking questions instead of letting pride cause Him to retaliate in anger (Matthew 21:23-27).

Personal application: Release your pride and prefer someone before yourself. Here are a few ways to show patience:

  • Resist the temptation to complain.
  • Let someone in front of you (in traffic, at the supermarket).
  • Thank God for His blessings even if they’re currently disguised as trials.

Allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your heart, and your life will begin to produce good fruit. You can count on it.

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