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From www.ya-at-rpc.blogspot.com

Here they are, the Fruits of the Spirit,  along with a lot of excerpts  from Fr. Mario’s handout.  ENJOY!!

LOVE

A Pharisee asked Jesus:

‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’  He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and first commandment.  The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments’   (New American Bible, Matt. 22:36-40)

Loving one another with an agape type love shows our love for God and to God.

JOY

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (NAB, Romans 15:13)

Know where the joy comes from, it comes from God.  We must be responsible to exhibit joy in our lives and to depend on the Holy Spirit for the power to exhibit the joy that God has given to us.

PEACE

Peace requires an intense effort because:

We still live in earthly bodies which require us to choose each day whom we will serve.  Even though we have been saved by God’s grace and are a part of the family of God, we still have to make a conscious decision each day as to whether we will serve God or chase after what the world has to offer. 

We live in a world that offers earthly things, temporary pleasures but at a high price:

  • work harder, go faster
  • make more money, spend more
  • satisfy material cravings
  • climb the corporate ladder whatever the cost

God’s mercies are new every morning. He knows your heart and He knows your needs. Take courage, no matter what circumstances surround you, no matter what your status in life, no matter what type of troubles you face, the Peace of God that passeth all understanding is there for you.

I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.  In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world. (NAB, John 16:33)

When we come to Him in prayer with thanksgiving, He promises peace that surpasses all understanding.  He promises peace.  We must choose to accept that promise and take God at His Word.  We must appropriate that peace in our lives.  In other words, we must examine our life to see what is causing us anxiety or worry or loss of contentment.  In every circumstance, every situation you can choose panic, chaos, worry, speculation or you can choose peace that comes from God.  Whenever you identify an area in your life that is causing anxiety or worry, confess it to God in prayer and then apply God’s peace to that specific area in your life.

PATIENCE

The following verses deal specifically with patience (perseverance, endurance), let us take a look to see if we can gain a better understanding of this concept, “patience” and what it means to a Christian in his or her daily walk:

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. (Romans 5:2-5)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. (2 Peter 1:5-9)

Patience = Long Suffering…

KINDNESS AND GOODNESS

At first look, you may think that kindness and goodness are the same thing.  Let’s look at the following definitions to see if we can distinguish the difference:

Kindness.- having a good or benevolent nature or disposition; desiring to do good to others; the sincere desire for the happiness of others (the thinking)

Goodness.- moral excellence; virtue; generosity; the activity calculated to advance kindness (the doing). 

It has been stated by a published author “kindness is the sincere desire for the happiness of others.  Goodness is the activity calculated to advance that happiness.” Kindness is the thinking, the thinking of others.  Goodness is the doing.  If kindness is the thinking then goodness is the doing.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. (Luke 6:35)

It is easy for us to be kind to people who are kind, to people who are loving, to people who are just plain nice!  That is simple.  It is the latter part, the “because He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked” that is difficult!  This latter part tells us  that WE are to be kind and good to believers and unbelievers, to the loving and unloving, to those that we may feel do not deserve it.  

We are to be walking by the Spirit and not by the Flesh.  How do we do that?  Only through the Power of the Holy Spirit!  

You might say, “I just don’t have what it takes!”                             

Yes, you do!   

When you received Jesus Christ as your Lord ans Saviour you were given the power of the Holy Spirit.  You were given all that you need.  He is the author and perfector of our Faith.  He will be faithful to complete what He has started in you.  You will not have need of anything.  You have been blessed with every Spiritual Blessing in the Heavenly places.  That’s what it says in Ephesians 1:13-14:

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory.

So you can have the assurance to know that anytime there is an opportunity for you tho be kind, go ahead and calculate the activity required to advance the happiness and joy that God has given you; the power that you need is there and available through the Holy Spirit.  He has not left you alone there to figure it out by yourself.  The question is:

Will we be obedient to follow through? Will we be obedient to do the the “doing”?  If you are trying to do it on your own, with your own flesh, you won’t be able to do it.  What we have to depend upon is not ourselves; not our own resources, but realize that when God calls us to do something, to extend that goodness that is necessary, that He will enable us to do it.  He will provide everything that is needed to accomplish His will. 

FAITHFULNESS

Call upon God in prayer and ask Him to help.  “When I called, you answered me, you made me bold and stouthearted.” Psalms 138:3

Be Honest.  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”  Luke 16:10

Rely on God’s Strength.  “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

Fight self-indulgence.  “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”   I Corinthians 9:27

Eliminate laziness and idleness.  Also begin at home.  “She watches over the affairs  of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  Proverbs 31:27

Be Faithful in all things.  “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!’ ”  Matthew 25:23

GENTLENESS

Meekness, Strength, the ability to be yoked, guided by Christ!  All this is Gentleness.  All this is far from Weakness.

In the midst of this power is gentleness.  We should never confuse gentleness with weakness.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

What better time to receive the gentleness of Christ than when we are burdened, heavy laden, weighed down by life’s pressures; demands of the family, job pressures, finances, not enough time in the day, etc.

 Does the word “rest”  in the preceding verse mean to lay down?  I don’t think so.  “Rest” is not an inactivity,  “rest” is an inward tranquility while one performs necessary labor.  The Lord promises inner tranquility to the weary and heavy laden who come to Him while they are engaged in necessary labor. 

Meekness is not occupied with self, what belongs to it, what is right by it or how it should be treated.  According to Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words – “It is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercise of it are first and chiefly towards God.  It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting…. it is only the humble heart which is also the meek, and which, as such, does not fight against God and more or less struggle and contend with Him.  This meekness, however, being first of all a meekness before God, is also such in the face of men, even of evil men, out of a sense that these, with the insults and injuries which they may inflict, are permitted and employed by HIm (God) for the chastening and purifying of His elect.”  

SELF CONTROL

THOUGHTS

Self control of your thoughts means entertaining in our minds only those thoughts that are acceptable to God. 

How do we know if our thoughts are acceptable? Let’s look at what St. Paul says in Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

If you find your mind on anything other than the above, what do you do?

For though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Notice the process, it consists of three distinct steps that we as Christians are instructed to do:

  • Measure (Philippians 4:8)
  • Demolish (II Corinthians 10:5)
  • Replace (Philippians 4:8)

Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Jeremiah 17:9-10

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?  I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The bottom line is that God knows our heart, our mind and our thoughtsLeft to go its own way, the heart of man can commit some terrible acts as Jesus described in Matthew 15:18-19.  The Psalmist asked God to search his heart and examine his mind to reveal whatever was found to be offensive.  We Christians have God the Holy Spirit living within us to reveal to us whatever is offensive.  Jesus said in John 14:26:

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Our responsibility is to not only listen to the Holy Spirit, but then to act upon His revealing to us what is offensive and against God.  What should our action be?  It’s the three step process listed above:  Measure, Demolish and Replace.

EMOTIONS

Emotions that need to be controlled include anger, rage (hot temper), resentment, self-pity and bitterness.  Some may experience explosive feelings like anger while others may tend to withdraw and simmer as in the case with self-pity.  But in either case, these emotions are displeasing to God and self-control must be exercised with emotions just as it is with the body and mind.

Uncontrolled temper.

Better a patient man tha a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

To have a temper that requires control is not a mark of ungodliness; to fail to control it is.  Uncontrollable temper damages the self-respect of others, creates bitterness and destroys relationships. 

In addition, we should be slow to anger when we are wronged or when we perceive that acts of wrongness are being committed by others.  Take note of what the psalmist had to say about God in Psalm 86:15

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

This verse emphasizes that God is abounding in love and faithfulness.  God can be provoked to anger but it doesn’t happen immediately.  We should strive to be more like God, slow to anger, compassionate and gracious to others.  The next time you feel your anger is being kindled against someone, try praying for that person rather than becoming angry with them.  Is there a time when it is acceptable to be angry? For the answer to this question, let us look at Mark 3:1-5:

Another time He went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.  Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched Him closely to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath.  Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, ‘Stand up in front of everyone.’ Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent.  He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.

Jesus, God the Son, went to the synagogue on the Sabbath.  There were those there, probably Pharisees, that were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus.  But Jesus asked them a question that demanded them to confront their own heart.  It was a chance for them to do a self evaluation, maybe even question their legalistic views of false worship and then see their need for a Savior.  Unfortunately, their stubborn hearts prevented them from doing this and they remained silent.  Jesus, God the Son, was trying to communicate with mortal men and they refused to listen to Him.  Jesus became angry and distressed at their stubborn hearts. 

There is a time for anger but only after we have exhausted all other avenues that God has given us to restore the relationship – compassion, grace, love, faithfulness, prayer, understanding, kindness, gentleness, etc.  Be careful when getting angry and remember what is said in the following verses:

Sing to the LORD, you saints of His; praise His holy name.  For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:4-5)

Ephesians :26-27

In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

James 1:19-20

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Other uncontrolled emotions like resentment, bitterness, and self-pity aren’t as harmful to others as they are destructive to ourselves and our relationship with God.  Resentment, bitterness and self-pity build up inside our hearts and eat away at our spiritual lives like a slow cancer.  All of these sinful emotions have one thing in common, a focus on self.  We put our disappointments, wounded pride and shattered dreams on thrones in our hearts which then become idols.  We nurture resentment and bitterness and then wallow in self-pity.  We do all this thought God has recorded the following assurances of His faithfulness for us in the Book of Romans:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Romans 8:35

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble of hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Romans 8:37-39

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God will not fail us nor forsake us.  But we choose to be defiant and think on those things which do not come in line with Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

By failing to adhere to the principles outlined in Philippians 4:8, it is not only destructive to ourselves but it is also destructive to our faith and dishonors God.

Self control is key. We must strive to grow in our Faith and Godliness.  Sound judgment is the beginning of self-control and sound judgement must be based on the knowledge of God’s Word and His standard for our bodies, thoughts and emotions.  Sound judgement enables us to make an accurate estimate of our needs in the area of self-control.  Romans 12:3:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

The battle of our thoughts and emotions begins in our hearts and minds.  We must learn to take thoughts captive and destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the Knowledge of God – to the obedience of Jesus Christ.

 

We must persevere in our battle to choose what is right, not only in actions, but in thoughts and emotions.  We must call upon the Spirit of God to help us in our time of need realizing that we cannot accomplish this without His help, leadership and guidance.

 

 

 

 

 

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