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Piece 9 – Self Control!

Picture Courtesy: brynhobson.weebly.com

I took almost three long months to finish my series on the fruit of the Holy Spirit, however I’m rest assured that all of us will take a life time to completely bear the fruit!

I had a purpose when I particularly chose orange fruit to be depicted – When you peel an orange you usually have individual 10-11 segments (carpels), just assume our fruit of the Holy Spirit is similar to an orange and there are 8 segments inside love-joy-peace-patience-kindness-gooness-gentleness-faithfulness. Where should we squeeze our last element Self Control into the fruit then??  Isn’t skin part of the fruit yes, that’s exactly what I’m trying to say. Self Control like the skin of the fruit covers all the individual pieces of the fruit!

Loving our enemy, being joyful at all times, finding peace amidst storms, being kind to those who’ve harmed us!

Being patient and gentle when our anger is soaring high, or continuing to be faithful for a long duration!!

None of the above can be done without self control! Only when we are able to control our SELF WILL and silence our carnal nature we will be able to bring out the virtues or the ingredients of the fruit of the spirit.

The world abounds in using the principle of harnessing power by bringing our self under control, and they are quite successful. There are many institutions and individuals who make money by just teaching people practical ways of self control. Yoga is one example, meditation, positive thinking philosophies – these are some ways where individuals try to suppress self and thereby try to achieve great benefits.

How then do we differentiate the Self Control of the fruit of the holy spirit and the worldly self help techniques? Its not always easy- In my little experience I’ve seen many people who have a strong control on their self, they are achievers, they get to do what they want. That’s exactly how the world employs self control – to be able to get what YOU want. While, the fruit of the Holy Spirit helps us to achieve want God wants. For instance, there could be times when we are right, but all around us people are talking bad about us. Or could be that we’ve been shouted at for no wrong of ours. To remain calm, to have peace, and still be loving to those who hurt us is to have the SELF CONTROL. In having this self control we may bring out one of the many other eight qualities listed in the fruit – thats the uniqueness of SELF CONTROL!

Theologically I could perhaps write pages on the fruit of the Holy Spirit, but to live by the standards of our high calling we need God to transform us each day into the likeness of his son Jesus Christ.!

As I look back at 2013, I’m filled with complete grief that – I’ve let my carnal voice speak louder which has led to heaps of broken relationships, whole lot of mistakes some blunders, a lot of hurt and pain, times of restlessness and so on.. On the other hand, I’m thankful to God that despite the storms his love was great and his mercies new every morning!

I’m looking forward to the next year and I want my friend Jeongsin to speak louder than De Matanzaa!

 

 

 

Piece 8 – Gentleness

I’m a like a volcano – suddenly erupting and then slowing cooling down.. So unpredictable and so furious at times and at other times quite dormant.

As I’m writing this post I’m being told that I need to be transformed from a volatile volcano to gentle dew!! Ahhh… that’s not a transformation, it’s not metamorphosis it’s going to be a miracle!! Well, I believe that God is able and he will bring about the change in me to make me who he wants me to be. There’s a war raging between Dematanza and Jeonsin within me.. And I’m hoping Jeonsin wins (To know about Demantanza and Jeonsin read my post on Faithfulness)!!

Some scenes in my life that I can recall without missing the finer details will shows me how volatile I have been in the past – I was good at mathematics and my parents wanted me to teach my younger sister (younger by three years), scoring low on impatience I never succeeded in teaching her. I would teach her a method of solving a problem, and she dint get it right I would get irritated and my mercurial action would be to give her a tight slap. She just cried and challenged to me once and for last that she would never learn from me, and she would one day outshine me! And I’m sure she did!! A behavior so volatile, absolutely null of gentleness and the memory so unpleasant!

Well, it’s not just with my sister, I did this to my friends as well– I could just snap at someone very rudely and not just care about their feelings. My mom, my dad – I would shout back at them, so unruly and messy!

I carried this to onto my maiden work place; I was made responsible for some employee engagement activities at work – fun at work. And sure it was a great success; 100-150 people appreciated me, and the HR was happy about it. She knew I was the key to the program and was using me but suddenly I realized that she was taking all the credit and I snapped – I walked up to her room one day, temperamental as I was – said things in a way which ruined my rapport which led to to closing that activity at work.

I dint stop there – I’ve done many blunders such as these with my husband, my father in law and some other people as well. My acts might be logically right according to me, I would have a few heads nodding to why I did something – but I did miss out on gentleness in my approach. Lack of gentleness in my actions arise because of anger, immaturity, impulsiveness, thoughtlessness, not being able to see the bigger picture and many more, lack of understanding etc and more importantly because I chose to focus on myself rather than on God..

I still continue to be impulsive, volatile, and temperamental and miss out on being gentle where required the most. I’ve destroyed many relationships around me sadly. If I’m claiming to be a Christian, who’s saved and sealed with the Holy Spirit shouldn’t my fruits have an element of gentleness?? I’m a born Christian, I went to church each Sunday, and I’ve piled my showcase with accolades, certificates and mementos that I know my Bible well! In fact some parents had used me as a plum line to measure their kid’s performance! What a disgrace that they dint help me to put to practice what the Holy Spirit intended to do in my life.

When I began this year (2013)– I penned a few areas in my life where I wanted to see some positive change. I’ve always realized my volatility – therefore I picked up on a hard verse – a high standard! I Peter3:3-4 (Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight). And now towards the fag end of the year I know I’ve failed miserably… The year I’ve been the most unruly, I’ve erupted too frequently. I kept listening to my carnal voice more than leading of the Holy Spirit and that’s the reason there is so much dirt piled up everywhere, and it’s absolutely messy!

I’ve therefore come to understand that like a volcano brings in destruction so does actions done without gentleness do! While gentle actions are like the morning dew – you have a fire burning in the night, by morning its put off by the dew so gentle. Actions with gentleness may not immediately be recognized and appreciated, infact it may go unnoticed as well. As the morning dew waters the earth so do gentle actions build relationships, cement broken hearts and bring forth a spring of joy and help establish the will of God!

It’s quite impossible to be gentle in a fallen world with our own strength, all that we need is the Holy Spirit leading us, guiding us and correcting us when we go astray. I don’t know how it’s going to be going forward but I’m trusting God for a miracle to happen to convert “A volatile Volcano to a gentle Dew” !

Piece 7: Faithfulness

De Matanza (DM) – By any chance did you get to see our manager around?!

Vino – Myself (V) – No! And the good news is he’s on leave 🙂

DM – Ohhhh that’s great news, I have no interest in doing any work today and dint want to meet him for the rest of the week. I’m quite smart, I don’t need 5 days to finish the project he gave me.. I think I’ll be able to do the work in a day or two so its time I go about catching up with some people around!

V – Hey cool!, I’ll join you too.. Cafeteria at 11:00 AM??

De Matanza – Catchya there! I’m going for some TT(table tennis) now

Jeongsin (JS) – Ladies, I’m sure you guys are smart but Mr Next Boss who sits among you all, will report about your absence and boss will know about it.. And over and above that – I don’t think you can complete the project in a day when boss has given you a timeline of 5 days, looks like you are in for some trouble

De Matanza – Hey you know what I don’t think we may complete it in a day, but we can prolong the timeline and keep telling him some white lies! The worst I can see happening is I will have to do some overtime to finish up my project.

JS – But isn’t that not what you’re supposed to do. You could lie to your boss, but work done in haste is prone to errors and you may get caught!

V – Hmmm what JS says is right, however I’m not in a mood to work, I’m not sure why… I definitely know procrastination is a thief of life but its ok at times!

The day goes by – talking, lazing around, gossiping and appearing as to work but with thoughts, chats and of course social networking! Somehow we manage to finish that bit of work with the help of JS before our deadline, we kinda manipulate things and get work done, but that’s definitely not the best we could have given. We were quite happy about our weekend with no pending tasks at hand. Do you know when women meet what they talk about – Shopping?? Clothes?? Accessories?? Other women who look better than them? Hubby’s? In Laws? Kids? Household chores?? Burn OUT??  Though we were from different cultures somewhere the roots of the most issues were similar!

Cranberry breezers, chips and marriage makes a perfect combination for a conversation to go for hours~

JS – I’m blessed to be married for 4 years – my husband is a great leader a wonderful husband, great son and an amazing father! We ain’t perfect, we do keep failing and falling but however, we’ve tried to make things work from our mistakes and we know for sure we will be able to put with the storms, the wind and the rain and the sun will surely shine!

DM – Ohhh I really envy you! Mine was a love marriage, I know my guy since 2001 and I’ve fallen out of love, because marriage is all about giving, giving and giving! There is no point in continuing with my life partner, who seems to be a dormant partner and it’s all about me trying to get things done! I tried and I’m giving up… There is nothing that satisfies me and I’m really really going to end this all!

V – Hmmmm … I see, may be you should take some tips from JS dear DM, probably she’ll help you figure out how you can work things for better.

DM – Nah nah… I’m not interested; I want to live my life my way! I don’t think marriage is charity where one keeps donating and the other benefiting without doing anything!

JS – Don’t get so negative, we all have a life to live and we need a purpose for it! Most importantly in a family life, it’s all about how you see that purpose. You are not getting what you want from this marriage, but could be that, all your family needs is you to keep going! Enjoy what you’re doing, look at things positively honey, everything will be ok…

DM – Cut the crap JS! I’ve seen enough and I don’t think I need advises at this point of time!

V – Guys I’m really sorry I just don’t know what to say.. I’m confused, I’m worn and I’m tired of your conversations! Leave me alone I don’t want to talk over something that’s pointless!!

This is an excerpt from the conversations that take place so often within my mind! De Matanza in Spanish means Carnal and Jeongsin in Korean means Spirit.. Well, if the Holy Spirit within us helps us bear the fruit – our carnal nature desires exactly the opposite! The fruit of the spirit which has an element of FAITHFULNESS is required in every aspect of our lives.  Faithfulness is one of the characteristic of God and it’s not easy! When I started thinking about Faithfulness, I was not sure what I wanted to write – with the ups and downs in my emotional calendar I found myself blank most of the times.

Faithfulness is ACTION, it is not a thought, it’s not future, and it’s not past it about DOING it RIGHT NOW, a choice to be made each and every passing moment! Faithfulness can be showed in the smallest things in life. The best example I could think of faithfulness in the biblical context is – about the parable of the talents. The master gives talents – 10, 5 and 1 and you know what happened! The master is gone, he’s away he’s not seeing them! This is the crux of FAITHFULNESS – It’s not about what we are doing when others are watching, it’s about what we are doing when no one is watching us! Remember the times, when we changed the channels when parents were around or pressed Alt+Tab when boss was behind? When the master returns back he finds that the servants who were given 10 and 5 talents doubled it through their efforts and this is what he says – “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much”

A little thought to the words the servant with one talent says a lot about how we deny ourselves to be faithful in our calling – ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’

Faithfulness is all about realizing what God has already given us; it lies in counting your talents and knowing that God is not a hard man who gives only trials and tribulations! Faithfulness is about going about doing everything each moment as doing unto the Lord! We cannot be faithful in everything unless we commit ourselves to God who is so so faithful to us! His faithfulness to the Israelites is written so wonderfully throughout the Bible! World today talks about replacing everything and not mending it, it’s full of substitutes – be it materialistic things or relationships or jobs everything is changing so dynamically that we’ve forgotten  what it means to be FAITHFUL in the LITTLE things! Few other bible translations refer the word faithfulness as LONG SUFFERING, and the key is this – enduring till the end – till we meet Christ face to face!

Yes, in my own life I’ve been struck so many times like the servant with only one talent – not being faithful in what I’ve been assigned! It’s easy to grumble at God’s blessing, easy to nag for everything that I don’t have, it’s easier to let down my spirit and be yielded to the flesh! But when the Holy Spirit abides in us, he corrects us molds us and makes us become faithful in small things! If we don’t heed to correction we will end up like the servant with all things taken away from us! It’s a conscious choice we need to make to be faithful in every little thing – our everyday jobs, our responsibilities, our relationships!

Faithfulness is about shutting the voice of De Matanza and acting on what Jeongsin speaks!!

Piece 6: Goodness

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Goodness – a very generic word it can include whole host of things under its umbrella. To understand GOOD you need GOD since GOD is GOOD! From where did Good evolve?? As a child, my parents probably would have said good job my girl!! When I started crawling, then walking, then speaking and so on, infact exactly the way God said its Good when he created everything each time. So what does it mean to be GOOD?? Is it something done with perfection, or action at its best??

My parents during my childhood encouraged me to do some acts and forbid me to do the others (Of Course!! Every parent would do the same!). I got rewarded for doing things rightly and punished for doing it wrong.. I moved to school and I found teachers doing the same – a stick for mistakes and a carrot for good work! And the theory of duality – of good and bad, of sticks and carrots, of rewards and punishments continues all our life..

I got into college and while everyone thought to themselves they could freak out, have fun, have boy friends, drink make merry, enjoy their youth I thought they were horrible sinners and I was GOOD. In my opinion being good was being naive – bunk classes and sit and chat instead of attending classes, go home, watch tv, eat and sleep, well I was good because i went to church and attended prayer meetings, fasted and prayed!! I’ve repented for my skewed thoughts, well its easy for me to blame it on my growing conditions! What an irony!! Our society has grown cold and we have our minds trained to immediately judge people and their acts as good and bad! I agree I’m none to say who is good and bad, but how do I know who is good and bad???

Its my observation that every individual defines good and bad based on their experiences, values, beliefs and ethics, parental upbringing, conditions of growing up and finally their own tastes and preferences (could be genetic). I think its good to go to church, have fellowship with believers and I dont think church is a place where you give your weekly attendance, but for my hubby its completely different – Its about being on time and going every Sunday its a family tradition. Well, most marriages today are broken just because of this one fact – What is right for one is wrong for the other (I will take this as another post someday before i digress from the topic)

How can people bear the fruit of “goodness” if they don’t know what is good and bad?? One day I was walking on the road, and I saw a beggar, she asked me for money and my self religion tells me to give her some money – I ended up giving her a 10 rupee note and later when I pass by I watch her smoking beedi’s (Tobaco) and I felt i did a bad thing…. I’ve wrestled to understand what is good and the problem is most areas are gray!!

In my personal and professional life I’ve witnessed it is NOT possible even with bizarre permutations and combinations to say what is the BEST GOOD thing to be done, and there are times even when you know its good you just can’t do it!! How then can we be good??? and the answer lies in my theory of the circle!!

If you ask a bunch of people to say which is the starting point of the circle, it is impossible for everyone to arrive at the same point! It is NOT POSSIBLE, one would point to 45 degrees north on the circle, the other 23 degrees south west and so on and so forth. It is the same in today’s world – all of us can define our own GOOD and BAD. But then its interesting to note that you CANNOT draw your circle without a CENTER and that center is GOD!!

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Consider that the circle in green is all the GOODNESS in the world which flows from the the center that is  GOD himself! All of us varied as we are are lying on different arcs of the circle… For example consider different groups of people – the introverts, the pessimist, the optimist, the liberalistic ones , the conservatives! All of them may differ in their opinions and thoughts about how they can bring good to self and others. However I’m not advocating that one set is right and the other is wrong, or few are right and others wrong. All of them have some good in them and the good is to be defined from the center and not from their own centers.

And that’s where each of us as individuals have differing zones of good and bad, and a lot of shades of gray!! Therefore if we are to bear the fruit of GOODNESS – Our primary focus even before doing good to our self or to others is to have our focus on GOD – the giver of all good things! The next we to understand our insignificance and God’s magnificence which helps us not to judge others and focus on ourselves and helps us be better vessels to used for the Kingdom of God!

Be Blessed!

Piece 5: Kindness

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Every-time I was thinking of writing about kindness one particular incident from the Bible always hit me. However I was not sure if that’s the right incident that can inspire me to be more kind. Before I get to the incident I wanted to know what the bible says about it and what does the word kindness in itself mean. And not to my surprise, they both work in tandem!

The best verse I found in the Bible to help me understand the essence of kindness is – “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”. And Wikipedia defines Kindness as “a behavior marked by ethical and virtue characteristics, pleasant disposition, and concern for others”

The primary focus of being KIND is to have a “concern for others“. And in today’s world, we see lot of kind people with a concern for others. I see many people in the church doing a lot in terms of church mission activities which includes feeding the poor, visiting orphanages, old age homes, homes for the destitute, providing for the needs of the downtrodden etc.. However, many times such things involve an element of self delusion and this is something every Christian must be warned of. We do a lot of kind acts to receive honor and praise and be applauded by men.

And Jesus uses the appropriate words to warn us of this attitude in the following passage

Matthew 6: 1-4 “

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you!

Okay! Now let me get back to the incident from the Bible I’m being prompted for understanding the act of “Kindness”. Remember Jesus hanging on the cross and seeing his clothes being shared among the soldiers and being mocked??? That grievous moment in life after carrying the heavy cross all the way to Golgotha, after being stripped, whipped and wounded. He’s bleeding and his suffering body is hung to that cross with just a few nails. Gosh!! that sight must have been terrific, I wonder how Jesus Mother would have felt? Even as I write this my heart aches to know how our dear Lord suffered to fulfill God’s will in his Life!

Battling with his life, Jesus cries out with pain the first statement on the cross – Father forgive them for they do not know what they do. Can you beat him on kindness??? Man, he is dying and he is concerned for a few soldier souls!!

I’m not sure how many of us are truly concerned about dying souls.. Well, the act of kindness driven by the desire to save their souls is the ultimate need of today. That also brings us to another fact that the act of kindness is not just for the undeserving, the poor, the destitute, the widows etc… Everyone around needs KINDNESS, they may be hurt, sinful, or in deep mess.

Today, If I have to be KIND to someone its not because I’m good but because I want them to see Jesus through me, experience his love and be forgiven and SAVED!! And this is the attitude that will help us to serve everyone round us with KINDNESS and thereby we can fulfill God’s will. Isnt that what God wants – that all men be saved and none perish??

Be Kind, Compassionate and Forgiving!!

Piece 4: Patience

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Patience is a virtue, fees are exorbitant!

I’ve not found an ideal model of someone who is PATIENT but a perfect example of being IMPATIENT can be none other than me. All my life, I’ve been always running ahead of time, making numerous mistakes of all sorts, well I am growing 😀

Being a woman isn’t easy, when you have a home, a child, a full time job and other additional social activities, and that’s where I believe God has been extremely gracious…. And numerous times I’ve screamed I can’t handle it anymore, I can’t do it, I can’t be patient with this life where I have to be completely selfless (That’s what I maybe thinking but may not be the truth), always understanding and never understood (again from my perspective), always accommodating and never accommodated (my perspective).

While, talking about patience it is important to talk about self gratification. Most often, we are impatient with ourselves and others because “I” is at the center, we are so accustomed to our fact pace culture where everything has to be satisfied immediately. We are not used to delayed gratification, but the Good Lord says “Wait in my presence”.

Patience develops as we grow in the presence of the Lord, learning that He is Good, He is Able, He is in control and not ME. Patience is about trusting God and not Man!

God has his way of revealing himself to us and teach us patience. “We run this race of life looking forward to eternity and the speed limit is PATIENCE, we need to abide by this speed limit“. Its always thrilling to speed up, not so exciting to see others ahead of us and there is always a tempting desire to run past the speed limit and break the rules! Consequences can be as severe as a being killed – A SPIRITUAL DEATH!

I’ve a long road to travel, but PATIENTLY and I know its not going to be EASY. But I’m reminded of Paul’s words to the Romans – “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Since the day I began meditating on Patience, I’ve been very Impatient with people around me and that actually taught me one thing that Patience is BITTER but its FRUIT SWEET and its CHOICE! One good practice that I yearn to follow is to glance through God’s mercies, see how patient he’s been with someone rebellious like me and to be able to reflect the same patience!

Piece 3: PEACE!

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Well, its the third topic that I am writing on the fruit of the Spirit and I’m already feeling unworthy to write any further!! I think God wanted me to meditate seriously on the fruit of the spirit because it goes to show where I currently am and where God is taking me to. And I definitely have a long way to go!

Our little MIND and many THOUGHTS are the major forces behind our PEACE of MIND rather than our situations or circumstances. When it comes to me, I’m a person who thinks a lot and over and above all I’m a WOMAN. Why I say this is because, its a proven research that WOMEN tend to connect things and are said to think a lot (watch this video quite hilariously said – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XjUFYxSxDk). The marvelous skill of  connecting the dots, assuming, interpreting may do well for me as a Business Analysts but not as a wife, or mother or daughter in law :P.

Our little mind is capable of weaving a small truth in many layers of sludge that can take away our peace, leading to unnecessary worry which leads to fear and everything else but Peace!

Let’s take stock of what Jesus has to offer us –John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid!

It is a sure evidence for every believer in Christ that true peace is a a result of the HOLY SPIRIT dwelling in us!

Lets PRACTICE PEACE

Not with our STRENGTH

But by the Power of God!

Piece 2 – JOY

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It’s quite a difficult topic for me to write about, but I believe its God’s way of helping me spend time meditating about JOY as part of the fruit of the SPIRIT. I was at home the whole of yesterday and I tried to think about how JOYFUL I am as a person? And I was truly shocked to learn that I am not as JOYFUL as God intends me to be.

My life looks like this is, and I’m very sure my family would vouch for it!

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Being an emotional person, I’m prone to being moody and my emotions depend on my situations and circumstances, and that’s not being JOYFUL and this is a sure area of improvement for me.  As I glance through my life in light of God’s word and joy as the filter  I find myself confused between being HAPPY and being JOYFUL! And Yes, I’ve learnt there is a huge difference between being HAPPY and being JOYFUL! And it is quite evident that being Happy is not a fruit of the spirit while being JOYFUL is. So whats the big difference??

Happiness is more likely an emotion which centers around SELF, which is expressed as a result of single/few event/s or happening/s. When our SELF is satisfied we are HAPPY, we spread CHEER and of course a broad smile :). Contrary to this short lived emotion – JOY covers a lot of circumstance and situations and happenings, and is about being CONTENT and CONFIDENT in the LORD!

Honestly, as I’m writing this post I must confess that I need to grow in the JOY of the LORD! And its very important for every Christian man and woman to know this. Despite our shortcomings, our struggles, our anxieties, our trials and ETC ETC… if there is something that keeps us not just alive but kicking – its nothing but the “JOY in the LORD” reminding us of GOD’s GOOD PURPOSES!

Too cut the long story short –

“Be happy but above all seek JOY

Coz Happiness is because of what happened yesterday

While Joy is about our Glorious Resurrection with Christ

Happiness is about looking within and around

Whereas, Joy is about looking UP and BEYOND!!”

May the JOY of the LORD be our TRUE STRENGTH!!

 

Piece 1 – LOVE

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Love is just a four letter word, yet cannot be comprehended! The world has of course defined it in various forms, human beings from different race, culture, nation have all tried to define this word but have failed!

What does LOVE signify to us as a fruit of the Holy Spirit??

I will not call Love a fruit of the Spirit but its an element of the whole fruit! Why?? Because Love, Peace, Joy, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self Control are the nine elements which make the fruit of the Spirit. And it is not possible that we can just have one fruit and not have the other! When all these qualities are consistently growing in our lives, that’s when we can confidently say we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit! Well, What a challenge it poses to every Christian?

Well, back to our topic for today – Love! I must admit it is one of the most commonly used word without truly meaning it! In the language of English it becomes more complicated to understand the word Love, but Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love :

    • Agápe (unconditional love)
    • Eros (passionate physical love)
    • Philía (loving with your mind – loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity)
    • Storgē (natural affection mostly within the family

Having defined the four types of love it is important to know that “LOVE” as a fruit of the spirit is AGAPE. I’m sure we all could agree that its easy for us to love our family, love our friends, our spouses etc (Storge, Philia and Eros are all covered)

There can be numerous things we can do to grow in godly, unconditional love, some of the crucial elements are –

  • Source of Love: The biggest confusion about Love is – we all want to be loved undoubtedly, for instance when a boyfriend or a girlfriend says “I love you” what do they mean? Do they want to feel loved or do they want to sacrifice their love for the other? We all want to be loved, don’t we? The bitter truth is no one can love like God does.  I the race of expecting to be loved by others, many have be lost in the wilderness. The source of true love is God alone revealed in the person of JESUS CHRIST. We need to taste the love of God, his grace and his mercy. Though God’s love for us is great, though his mercy is new every morning, yet we take time to appreciate that Love of God. Until we appreciate we will not be able to extend the same love for others. (I John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love). The moment our eyes are opened to the Love of God, we are changed!
  • Sacrificial Love: Bible defines love in I John 3:16-17 (This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.) . We can love others when they are good to us, and the reality of how tough it is to love someone when all they intend for us is harm/reproach/shame is exceedingly difficul ! Yet, I’m convicted to love our neighbor is a commandment we’ve been given, because Jesus did the same 🙂 Not going to be easy though!
  • Weeding out Hatred: Before Paul lists the nine fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-26, he gives a list of acts of the flesh which are quite contrary to the fruit of the spirit. I’ve observed that when we do not have “LOVE”, we give place to our carnal nature to control us. That’s when we begin to show signs of hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions (conflicts), factions (as group create conflicts)and envy!! Some of them mentioned above come so naturally to us isn’t? I hate people who hate me, I do get angry and loose myself many times, I do envy others, but if I take St Pauls words seriously I will not do that again! (Galatians 5:19-21: The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God)

Its therefore important for me to be filled with love and grow in the unconditional love of God to be more like him and less like me. So that I can say with Paul its not longer I that live but Christ liveth in me! And live in hope that one day I will be on the other shore!

May we abide in LOVE! Be Blessed!

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