What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 4

“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

Hello readers, and welcome to part four of my series on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit! I apologize for the long absence; there are a lot of changes happening in my life right now, and I’ve been taking some time to relax and adjust.

Today I want to write about peace, the third Fruit of the Spirit. The word peace has many meanings. Used as an attribute to describe somebody, it can mean that a person is at peace, as in not afraid, anxious, or worried; it can also mean that a person is peaceful in his or her relationships, and not in unnecessary or unresolved conflict with others. Both of these meanings are important. A follower of Christ should be a person of peace, because Jesus was the Prince of Peace.

When you trust in God, it’s probably because you know that he loves you, he is good, and he will provide for all of your needs. It is easy to trust in God when you truly believe these things without a trace of doubt. The trouble, at least for me, is getting rid of that trace of doubt. Doubt is something that I battle with all of the time, probably at least a few times each day. I have to constantly tell my doubt to go away. I know that the devil wants to plant seeds of doubt in my mind so that I don’t experience the full awesomeness that God has in store for me. When I trust God and believe that he has the perfect plan for my life, I will see that plan take effect. But when I doubt God, I allow the enemy to steal that away.

In Mark 11: 23-24 Jesus made a big promise when he said: “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” (NLT). He reminded us that we must believe that we have received what we ask for as we ask it. That is called faith, and that’s what opens up our lives to God’s amazing power.

When we have faith like this, peace follows easily after. The truth is, we can’t always have exactly what we want. Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NLT). God isn’t a genie. He is a loving Father who longs to bless us with great gifts. When we seek his will above our own, trust him and find joy and peace in him no matter what our circumstances may be, that’s when he starts to give us the desires of our hearts. Why? Because then, and only then, are the desires of our hearts Godly things that he, as a wise parent, is eager to give us. If the desire of my heart was to be a billionaire, then I wouldn’t be delighting in the Lord; I’d be delighting in money! And God knows that focusing on money cannot lead me to live the best life that I can.

It brings me peace to know that God will enact his plan for my life, not my plan for my life. He has much better foresight than I do, after all! As ironic as it may seem, I am very grateful that God does not always give me what I want, or what I ask for with the wrong motives. I would much rather let him have control. His plan is perfect, plain and simple. Knowing that brings me peace!

Right now, I am waiting to see if Cory and I were approved for a lease on a house that we looked at yesterday. We really, really like this house. It feels perfect for us, and I cannot envision a much better place for us to live. Honestly, I will be disappointed if this is not what God has for us. But I will only be disappointed for a moment, and I will not be anxious or worried. Because if he doesn’t put us in this house, then I know he will put us in an even better one! I can rest, knowing that everything is in God’s capable hands. That, to me, is the essence of peace.

The other aspect of peace is related to our relationships with others. Christians are called to live at peace with each other, whenever possible. Of course, if somebody comes against me because of my beliefs or I am confronted with injustice, it is my duty as a Christian to fight against that. But whenever possible, I am called to make peace and to be peaceful. In Mark 11:25, right after Jesus promises us that we will receive what we ask for in prayer, he reminds us: “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” (NLT). We cannot expect God to fill our lives with blessings and the Fruit of the Spirit when we are harboring grudges. Every Christian has been forgiven for their mistakes; how could we dare to not forgive others for theirs? If the perfect God of the universe can forgive us, and anybody else who asks, then surely we can forgive others too.

Luke 6:27 says, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (NIV). We are given a clear command to forgive others and love our enemies, whether or not they apologize or change their ways. That doesn’t mean that we have to put ourselves in the same situation and be hurt again! It just means that we let go of our anger, and let God take care of righting wrongs.

Forgiveness doesn’t just go one way, either. When we do wrong, we need to apologize to those we have hurt. Whether or not they forgive us is up to them, but we need to take that first step to admit to our mistakes. Sometimes, it isn’t even other people who we should seek forgiveness from. Sadly, it seems that we often hold grudges against ourselves. I want to say once and for all that guilt is not from God. Guilt is from the enemy. That nasty little guy wants to make sure you feel like a terrible person, unworthy of love and especially unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness. But that nasty little guy is stupid and wrong. God loves you, no matter what you may have done. He has offered his forgiveness to you, and if you accept it, he will see you as 100% clean and clear. Thank Jesus for that!

Being at peace within ourselves and with others is a Godly calling, something that we should aspire to. None of us are perfect, but we should still strive to be the best that we can out of love for our God. We should be slow to anger. Romans 14:19 tells us to “…pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” If you are a Christian, be an example to others. Don’t be quick to fight. Don’t be that guy or that girl who tries to stir up trouble. Recognize the danger of gossip and hurtful words, and strive to use your words to help and uplift other people. We are called to be peacemakers. What would the world be like if we actually lived that way? I’d like to find out.

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 3

“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


Joy is the second Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. The Fruit of the Spirit is, in simple terms, the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. When we walk with God, we receive these things, and we become more like God by embodying them as well. In my last post, I wrote about love, the first Fruit. Joy is obviously very closely tied to love. In fact, all of the Fruits of the Spirit are interconnected. It would be difficult to show love to others without kindness, goodness, and in some cases, a lot of patience. It would also be impossible to have a life of joy without love!

I think that it is so significant that joy is only second place to love in this list. Because while they may not necessarily be listed in order of importance, I do think that there is a reason for love and joy being at the top. If you have love in your life, it is easier to love others. Since love is the reason for everything, it definitely deserves top priority! But putting joy right behind that may surprise some people. After all, doesn’t God care more about things like self-control, discipline, and following the rules? I would argue that joy is listed way before self-control for a reason. While self-control and pleasing God with our actions are both important things that we should strive for, I believe that those things are more of a means to an end than anything else. Like any loving parent, God disciplines us because he wants what is best for us. He wants us to live good lives and be joyful! I believe that our joy is one of our Father’s biggest concerns.

In my last post, I briefly mentioned the relationship of God to suffering. I want to reiterate the point that I made. God does not cause suffering. He does not send tornadoes, sickness, or loss. Those things are the enemy’s work. In John 10:10, Jesus said that “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (NLT). That thief is Satan and he wants to ruin your life. Seriously. But God doesn’t want that for you! He wants to give you a rich and satisfying life. He wants to give you a joyful life.

Yet God does allow suffering in our lives at times. When he does, he always uses it for the good of those who follow him. Sometimes that is not clear to us; in fact, sometimes it seems completely impossible that God could use some things for the good. But he does, and whether we come to understand the benefit of our suffering in this life or in the next, it will make sense someday. Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT). We can hold on to that promise from our loving Father.

All of that being said, I firmly believe that God would much rather see us happy and joyful than sad and hurting. And guess what? We can be happy and joyful so much more than we realize. All we have to do is ask. This truly shocked me when I first came to understand it, so let me say it again; all you have to do is ask. When you have Jesus in your life, you can ask him for anything, and he will give it to you. In John 16:23-25, Jesus said: “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (ESV). One day, I know that I will be with my Lord in paradise, and at that time I will never have to ask him for anything again. But until then, all I have to do is tell him what I need.

Now of course, it is absolutely vital to remember that God is not a genie. He may not instantly give you anything that you wish for. Because while he does want you to have the fullness of joy in your life, he also wants what’s best for you. I have a theory that the two things are actually the same. Sometimes, though, we confuse happiness with joy. Happiness might be the result of having a lot of money, being really popular, and having fun all day, but it would still manage to fade away after not too long. Joy is something deeper, more meaningful, and it’s also everlasting. Joy can never be taken from us, no matter what the circumstances, if we rely on God for it. He will provide for your needs in his perfect way, and he will give you the desires of your heart in his perfect timing.  Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV). We can’t ignore the first part and expect the second. God wants us to delight in him! After all, he delights in us. If we are willing to enter into a loving relationship with the Lord, then he has so much that he wants to bless us with in return.


“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

-Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 2

What a lovely thing love is. As a blogger who started off mainly writing about marriage, I obviously have written a lot about it in the past. I have shared my beliefs that love is not just a noun, but a verb, and that love is a choice. I have shared my beliefs about God’s love for each of us, and tried to reflect my love for Him. I have attempted to convey the depth of my love for my husband, although the truth is I don’t think I could ever put that into words. Now, I want to share my thoughts on love as a Fruit of the Spirit.

What is a Fruit of the Spirit, you might ask? I wrote about this in greater detail in my last post, but basically it sums up to this; when we accept Jesus as our savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us, and as we continue to walk with God the Spirit produces a lot of awesome things in us and in our lives. Some of the best of these things are listed in Galatians 5:22-23, and they are appropriately named the Fruits of the Spirit. God uses his Holy Spirit to fill our lives with fruitfulness and abundance. The closer we walk with him, the more fruitful we become.


“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


As you can see, the first thing in this list is love. I think that is significant. Love is the reason for everything, if you think about it. God created us and the entire world so we could love him. When we failed to do that, he sent his son, Jesus, to sacrifice himself so that we could be reconnected with God and all of his perfection. Since the beginning of time, God has desperately loved us and wanted to be loved back by us.

In Matthew 22:37-40, we are told that love is our greatest calling. “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.’” (NLT). Love is the most important thing that we are supposed to do. Every good thing comes from love, because every good thing comes from God, and God is love.

In 1 Corinthians 13:13, it says “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (NLT). So love is the beginning and the end of everything. Our greatest gift in life is God’s love, and our greatest joy is in loving him back. But love wasn’t just made to be between God and people. As the second greatest commandment makes clear, love is supposed to be between us humans as well. When we have love in our lives, it is a reflection of God. He wants our lives to be full of him, and that means full of love.

There are so many forms that love can take, and they are all part of God’s will for us. He wants us to have amazing friends whom we love and who love us. He wants us to have strong, loving relationships with our family members. He wants us to show love to strangers and neighbors. And of course, he wants us to know his love for us and love him back with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. For many of us, he also wants us to know the romantic, passionate, and unconditional love between a husband and a wife. Not everybody has a desire to be married one day, but for those who do, this is something that God also desires and has planned for them.

You see, the Fruit of the Spirit is not only produced in us, giving us the ability to love others more like him, but it is produced in our lives. The Spirit brings goodness to our lives. He wants to bring each of us who desires it into a strong, happy, healthy marriage that is full of love. It is in this kind of relationship that we can begin to understand even better how much he loves us. When I look at my husband, I know that the love I feel is just a fraction of the love that God feels for him, and for me. And that is really saying a lot, because I have never loved anybody so much!

For those of you out there who are single or in a relationship but not yet married, I pray that this post gives you hope for your future. If you want to be married, and you are walking with God, then you will be. His timing is always perfect. You will never look back and think “You know, this is great but I wish you would have made it happen sooner, God.” I fully believe that if you do have to wait longer than you wish, then when it does finally happen for you, you will look back and say “Wow, I see what you were doing, God. Thank you for being wiser than I.” It doesn’t always make sense to us at the time, but God really does know what he’s doing. And his plans are always for the good.

One last thing; knowing who God is, I can confidently say that although he may allow suffering in your life at times to use it for the good (remember, he never causes it), he does not want the majority of your life to be suffering. If you are in pain because of love right now, particularly romantic love, then please remember that God loves you so, so, so very much. He does not want to see you in pain, emotional, physical, or otherwise. He wants to fill your life with the Fruit of the Spirit, including love. If you walk close to him, then I promise you he will.


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 1

Confession: I have a secret fear of being “overly spiritual.” It’s only recently that I’ve come to realize this. Before I started growing closer to God over the past few years and months, I never really understood how to interact with God in a tangible, personal way. That was okay, though, because I preferred to keep things casual. Concepts like feeling God’s presence, praying in groups, and speaking in tongues were a little uncomfortable for me, because they felt somehow overly spiritual and forced. For me, they would have been, because I just wasn’t ready for that side of God yet. I preferred to keep things light and simple; I would pray, go to church, and occasionally read my Bible, but that was as deep as I ever went. That was what worked for me at that point in my journey.

Now I’m becoming more and more aware of the spiritual side of things each day. I’m beginning to feel more attuned to the Holy Spirit, and I’m learning to harness the power of prayer. Yet I still have to frequently fight off my fear of being “overly spiritual” and allow myself to be genuine with God. For non-Christians or newer Christians, these things may sound a little weird, so I’m going to try to explain it in a way that makes as much sense as possible. In the end, though, I can only do so much. As 1 Corinthians 2:14 says “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” In other words, if you haven’t experienced God for yourself, and you don’t want to, then most of what I say will probably sound loopy. All I can say is that I believe what I do because of what I’ve experienced of God.

It all starts with the trinity. Ah, what a marvelously confusing concept. Honestly, the best way I have found to put my own mind at ease is to just remember that I am a human, and God is not, and some things are simply beyond my understanding. This is not a copout; it’s the plain truth. The trinity is one of those things. In a nutshell, the Bibilical concept of the trinity is that God is three “persons” dwelling within one Deity. Those three persons are the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. There are other names sometimes used in the Bible, but they all refer to this same God, consisting of these same three persons. Yahweh, Jehovah, Elohim, and Adonai are sometimes used to refer to God as a whole. Abba is another name for the Father, Messiah, Christ, and the Lamb are other names for Jesus, and Holy Ghost, Comforter, Counselor, Advocate, or simply the Spirit are other names for the Holy Spirit. There are many other names besides these. And again, they all refer to the same God; three persons who are one God.

My main interest for this series is focusing on the Holy Spirit. That’s because within the trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each have certain “jobs,” if you will. Jesus’ main job was to die for us, so that we could be forgiven for our sins. He also lived as an example for us and rose from the dead so that we could have abundant lives. He is love and mercy embodied. The Father’s main job is to take care of us, and to be the perfect judge in His infinite wisdom. He is love and justice, among many other things. The Holy Spirit is particularly special, because His job is to live inside of every believer and be with us every moment of every day. As a Christian, I believe that the moment I accepted Jesus as my savior, the Holy Spirit came to me.

The Holy Spirit is the part of God that we can feel and interact with the most. Not only does He bring us comfort and strength and wisdom when we need it, He can act on our behalf. When we pray, the Holy Spirit is the one who acts. Learning to understand the Spirit in our daily walks and receive His power is one of the greatest things that Christians can do. (Of course, before that, the greatest thing you can do is to receive Jesus and become a Christian! Then you’ll receive the Holy Spirit, too.) The Holy Spirit transforms lives in incredible ways.

This series is going to be about what is called the Fruit of the Spirit. The concept originates in the passage below:


“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

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!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”

-Galatians 5:16-24 NLT


When we are living to the fullest, following God’s guidance through the Holy Spirit, we are transformed and our lives are transformed. We become people who produce good things (fruit). Our lives are fruitful and we are able to feed others with the bounty that God has created for us. In simple terms, we become better, our lives become better, and we can help others better. That is the meaning of the Fruit of the Spirit.

I have found that the closer I get to God, the more I experience all of the awesome gifts that He has for me. My husband’s job is one of those awesome gifts. The timing and perfect provision of this job is nothing short of supernatural. In John 10:10 (NLT), Jesus says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” It is written in Ephesians 3:20 (MSG) “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” For my husband and I, this job is just the first step towards the rich and satisfying life that God has for us. And that is so thrilling to me! I know that He really can do anything, and I am so excited to see what He’s going to do next. It’s an ongoing journey, and each day my goal is to become more fruitful through the Holy Spirit.

In each post for this series, I want to focus on one of the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. I hope you will follow this series with me and learn about some of the great gifts that God has for you. He wants to work in your life, and use your life for a purpose. So tell me, are you ready to get your fruit on?