When You’re Smiling

God desires to fill his children with joy. But God’s joy is not simply the personal possession of individual believers. It is relational and something God gives us when we share life with him. He also desires that we share this joy with others.

Joy is one of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. It is that inner delight that is produced by God’s Spirit for our benefit but this fruit is also for others to eat.

Like smiles and laughter, joy is contagious.

In his book To Laugh Again, Chuck Swindoll writes,

“I know of no greater need today than the need for joy. Unexplainable, contagious joy. Our country seems to have lost its spirit of fun and laughter….” – Chuck Swindoll

It worries me a little that you might think that I believe possessing certain things will produce joy because of this video link to the advertisement for the new Apple iPhone 4G FaceTime. That is far from the truth, but I do believe that the ad captures and illustrates the contagiousness of joy.

Get your coffee ready and watch the video right now, then come back here, finish reading and let me know what you think.

Our joy will be incomplete and fleeting if we see it only as something to have for ourselves. Our joy will be full and lasting when we allow God’s Spirit to produce it as fruit so others can have a taste.

Has there been a time in your life when you were able to eat the fruit of joy produced by the Spirit in in the life of someone else? Why not share it with us?

Grace and Peace,

Terry

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If You Are Led By The Spirit. . .

My friend Scott gave me a link to the video Led By the Spirit posted at The Work of the People.

Before you fill your coffee cup and follow the link to this 2 minute video, you might want to read

After you watch the Led By the Spirit, come back and leave a comment and share your insights.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. – Galatians 5:16-18 NIV

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Anger Is Not A Fruit Of The Spirit

This post is not easy to write. Confession never is easy. I struggle with anger. I don’t want it in my life but sometimes (more than I want to admit) it just spews forth like acid. Anger is described in the Bible as a work of the flesh which is the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. The word “anger” in Galatians 5:20 is translated in various Bible versions as. . .

  • wrath (KJV)
  • outbursts of anger (NLT; NASB)
  • a brutal temper (The Message)
  • fits of rage (NIV)

I’m responsible for my anger.

Anger is a work of my flesh. It is something I do. I produce it. It is not something that the Spirit of God produces in me. I know some of you want to jump to the topic of “righteous anger” or ask, “Isn’t anger sometimes appropriate?” But let’s not get off the subject. The emphasis here is on outbursts of anger, wrath, a brutal temper, fits of rage. All this comes from me.

When I fill my basket with anger, it negates all the fruit of the Spirit . . .

  • anger – love
  • anger – joy
  • anger – peace
  • anger – patience
  • anger – kindness
  • anger – goodness
  • anger – faithfulness
  • anger – gentleness
  • anger – self-control

Anger bursts forth in my life when I don’t give the Spirit control. Fits of rage erupt when I get out of step with the Spirit.

How do I get anger out of my basket?

  1. Remember my true identity in Christ
  2. Rely on the power of Christ who lives in me
  3. Focus on the actions that are part of my identity in Christ not on the actions of my old life
  4. Walk in line with who I am – not who I used to be

Here are the scriptural bookends on each side of the works of the flesh:

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. (Galatians 5:16 – NLT)

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:24-25 – NLT

    I plan to do a few more posts on the topic of anger. Do you have any thoughts on the direction these posts might take?

    Grace and Peace,

    Terry

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    What Does The Fruit Of Love Taste Like?

    Love is placed first in the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. In scripture it is pointed to as the greatest virtue of our lives as followers of Jesus (1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 5:1-2; Colossians 3:12-14). The Spirit produces the fruit of love which should fill your life.

    God pours out his love into your heart and you enjoy its effect in and on your life. As you yield yourself to Christ, the Spirit produces love in you just like that which you received from the Father. The Holy Spirit lives in your heart and makes you more and more like Jesus and the fruit matures. Now others can have a taste of God’s love through you.

    When others eat the fruit of love which the Spirit produces in you, it has the very flavor of God’s love. Here are some descriptive terms as to what the fruit of love tastes like from 1 Corinthians 13:

    • caring for me more than I sometimes care for myself
    • patience when I am irritating
    • kindness when I am undeserving
    • sharing me when others need me
    • humility when you could be strutting your stuff
    • forgetting the pain I cause
    • forgiving my sin
    • picking me up when I get knocked down
    • dancing with me when I am victorious
    • protecting me when I am vulnerable
    • trusting in me
    • hope
    • faithfulness that never gives up on me

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

    Who are some people who need a taste of the fruit of love from your basket? They may be in your one another community. They may be your neighbors.

    Grace and Peace,

    Terry

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    Who Gets To Eat The Fruit Of The Spirit?

    In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul presents to us a list of nine characteristics of the fruit that is produced by the Holy Spirit. Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Who gets to eat the fruit of the Spirit?”

    God did not put fruit on trees for decorations like we put ornaments on our Christmas trees. Fruit grows on trees to satisfy hunger. The fruit is there, not for the tree, but for people to eat.

    The peach tree in my backyard brings glory to its creator when luscious peaches hang from its branches. It also brings glory to God when it fulfills its purpose of providing its fruit for those who eat it.

    In our consumeristic culture we have come to believe that the fruit of the Spirit is for ourselves to enjoy. We see it primarily as something we possess. Something that ornaments our lives. But it is so much more than “How can I have more Fruit of the Spirit in my life?”

    God wants to produce fruit in our lives, not just for the sake of bearing fruit, but for others to eat. Jesus told us that the first and greatest commandment was to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength but he also told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. We give glory to God when we live for others. We are to bear fruit that will be eaten by others, feeding their hungry hearts.

    Do you bring your fruit basket with you when you gather with your brothers and sisters in Christ? When you go to work? When you hang out with friends?

    Today, let the Spirit produce his fruit in you and give someone else a piece of fruit?

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

    Grace and Peace,

    Terry