Brian Johnson | The Voice of Zion February 2023 - Home and Family Article --
Fruits of the Spirit are characteristics, traits, and actions of a believer. They are gifts given by God and are results of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ parable of the fruit tree is a good depiction of which type of fruits are good and which type are bad. Good fruits are desirable and we ask God to give that which is acceptable to him. “Even so every good tree bringeth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (Matt. 7:17).
It’s been said there is not a giftless child in God’s kingdom. Fruits of the Spirit are evident in each even if we cannot see them in ourselves. God gives to each one different gifts, according to His measure.
I recall my mother’s life. Her life of service was an inspiration to me. She endeavored to keep faith and a good conscience. She helped raise her siblings after her mother’s death and later raised us, her own children. As a sole caregiver, her faithful labor, dedication and love to others and her abiding trust in God were hallmarks that came from the heart of a believer.
To Mother, paying her dues was a priority and an obligation, but not a basis of salvation. She sent us children to Sunday school with a few coins for the collection as an example. Scripture says God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7) and she gave freely. When she was unable to meet her monthly dues, she cooked and prepared meals as a fundraiser. We children helped with house chores and with joy anticipated receiving company.
The doors of my mother’s house were open to all. She also went out to visit others frequently. Fellowship with believers was important to her. We are a flock of sheep, guided and fed by the Shepherd (Ps. 100:3). We are encouraged to gather all the more as we see the day approaching (Heb. 10:25).
May we, like my mother, live our lives as open books, revealed to all. The fruits of the Spirit come forth as gifts from God. We are thankful for these and we ask for strength to use them to serve others and to serve God. Our endeavor is often poor and faulty, as was my mother’s, yet God blesses the obedient ones. In His kingdom grace is found, and forgiveness for faults of the journey. Even in this we can serve one another.
Our Fruits Set Us Apart
Wyatt Kesti | The Voice of Zion February 2023 - Home and Family Article --
As we journey through life, believers tend to gravitate toward fellow believers for conversation, entertainment and comfort. Nonetheless, we encounter those who are not in God’s kingdom on a daily basis. Whether at school, work or in a grocery store, those in the world may see or feel something different about believers. Why is this? The fruits of the Spirit are present in each and every one of us.
I along with most others attended public education where interacting with those on the outside of God’s kingdom is commonplace. Often questions came up, such as: why don’t you watch movies or attend sporting events or drink alcohol or use contraceptives? Usually I answered, “I try to do things that will edify my faith.” I tell the one who asks that doing such activities will hinder my walk of faith. Frequently the response is accepted cordially, but occasionally the individual does not understand or appreciate the response and criticizes or even ridicules me. Possibly their conscience is pricked as they try to defend their own lifestyle.
I am now in the workforce and questions about my lifestyle continue. I have found it is good to be upfront with new coworkers about my faith instead of evading questions. At times I have evaded a coworker’s questions about my lifestyle, but that makes it more difficult to explain later on.
In my profession, interacting with the public occurs during every hour of my day’s work. The field of law enforcement requires me to communicate with those of varying morality. In speaking with people who live a very immoral lifestyle, it may be easy to judge their choices and actions. However, Jesus teaches us, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matt. 7:12). This instruction guides me at work to treat everyone with dignity and respect, no matter the poor choices they’ve made in their life. As Jesus teaches, treating others with respect is one of the fruits the world sees in us.
God blesses those who are obedient. It is important to not hide those fruits, the gifts of the Spirit, that set us apart from the world.
Questions for Discussion:
The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. How do these fruits manifest in a believer’s endeavor?
What is the role of the Spirit in producing these fruit?
Why do believers feel unsuccessful in showing any fruits of the Spirit?
If we thought we were good or that we did good works, what would that say about our life of faith?
The first fruit is love. What kind of love does this refer to? How does Jesus say we should love?