Hey y’all, hope you are having a good summer! Chris and I are plugging away at our church and seeking God for the calling He has placed on us. Hope this letter finds you well and you enjoy this month’s letter!
The Fruit of the Spirit: Mirroring the life of Christ
- Prayer Requests and Praise Reports
The Fruit of the Spirit: Mirroring the life of Christ by Angie
“22 God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23 gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 24 And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. 25 God’s Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. 26 But don’t be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.” Galatians 5:22-26 CEV
I grew up around family that were negative most of the time. Whether they were believers or not, they struggled in the area of bridling their tongue and encouraging others, which caused me to grow up with a negative mindset. I became very sarcastic ; I don’t necessarily think all sarcasm is bad, but mine had a ugly undertone because that was a form of joking in our family; and even when it wasn’t joking, it wasn’t uplifting anyone. Thankfully, God dealt with me on this and helped me to see I needed to renew my mind daily, and only allow my speech to be one that uplifted others and brought Him honor. However, in the last year I have become slack on being mindful of what comes out of my mouth, and I have allowed other people to influence me. I would compromise around my peers at church, thinking if I obeyed Jesus they would say I was becoming too serious with my faith. In this month’s post I want to clear up some misconceptions people have of who Jesus really is, and show how as we walk in the fruit of the Spirit we will be a living testimony to unbelievers.
What are the fruits of the Spirit?
Jesus walked in love everywhere He went. He showed unbelievers he wanted to be involved in their lives, without getting into sin. He went to dinner with homosexuals, prostitutes, and dirty politicians. He didn’t carry around signs saying he hated them and they were going to hell; and he absolutely didn’t think He was better than them because he acted a certain way. If we are to share His message with others, we need to love, and by our love they will see a difference and want what we have.
Joy is not a feeling, it is an action. When you are having the worst day possible, and you are ready to rip someone’s head off, you choose joy! When you can’t pay your bills because of either not being able to find a job, or not being paid your worth, you choose joy! When you are lonely and wonder if you will ever get married – or things are not going good in your marriage and you have been obedient to the Lord, as well as respect your mate -, you choose joy!
This isn’t a feeling as much as it is an action. Now, I am not talking to single moms, moms who stay at home, or those dealing with anxiety – you need to obey the Lord, ask Him to give you strength, and meditate on scriptures that speak about peace. I am speaking to those who are not fully walking in the calling God has for you, or are disobeying God in certain area(s) of your life that scripture has made plain to you. We all fall short of this at times, but when you are constantly living a narcissistic lifestyle only doing what feels good in the moment, not taking responsibility – then you need to repent and seek God about having peace in your life. Unbelievers criticize us because they don’t have true lasting peace in their lives, and then they look at us and don’t see a difference….or we are worse than them!
Ok, I don’t know if you need this, but I struggle with this so much! There are so many times I want to run ahead of God, and He lovingly puts His hand on my shoulder and has to tell me to wait. I have noticed though, the biggest testimony we can have is by showing others how much we are willing to walk in patience in our lives. I mean if more believers would show patience in traffic alone, we wouldn’t have some of the problems we do on our roadways today…and I am speaking to myself too – I tend to get frustrated at the ten miles under the speed people and those who do not know what a blinker is. So I understand where you are coming from, trust me!
What really is kindness anyhow? Well, kindness is simply being good to people regardless of how they treat you. It is going the extra – mile and not asking for anything in return. I know if at least half of us did this you wouldn’t be seeing as many wars and such….this is a big problem, and sadly it is hugely related to those who claim to be Christians. We can not tell others about Jesus if we have a bad attitude, call people stupid, and walk around like everything we do is everyone else’s fault. I have to sometimes ask God to forgive me for this because I tend to call someone stupid if I see they are not using common sense or someone treats others unfairly and gets away with it.
Goodness simply means you need to treat others with respect. Because saying, “Yes ma’am,” “No ma’am,” “Yes Sir,” “No Sir” is considered “old – fashioned” sometimes I forget to address my elders properly. I miss the days when I was a kid and men would open doors for ladies, or speak respectfully to those older than them. Now days, people feel you owe them something or they have a right to speak however they please. As a believer we need to walk in respect of others and put others first. By doing this not only are we mirroring our Savior, but we are treating others with high value – what they are worth deep inside, and how God created them.
This goes back to the busy thing I spoke about earlier. Being faithful means you follow through with something you are doing, and you are a person of your word. This means you live with conviction and integrity. As the Bible says, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.” (Matt 5:37 ESV) I grew up with certain family members that said yes when they felt like it, and no when they didn’t. These people never stuck to their word, and they acted as if anyone who got upset over that should, “get over it.” You must be a person of your word, otherwise no one will trust you.
To be gentle means to have sympathy for those around you, and to find ways you can alleviate the pain they are experiencing. For example, if you see a single mom who is struggling to pay her bills, work two jobs, and can’t afford daycare, then instead of thinking how sad it must be for her, do something. You can either offer to watch her children, surprise her with groceries, or offer to help with getting her bills in order. All you need to do is ask if you see someone struggling, and then pray about the right thing to do.
- Self – Control:
This is the final fruit of the Spirit, and I think most people struggle with this, if not all at one time or another. Everyone needs self – control! When we don’t have self – control, even the biggest, oldest person looks like an irresponsible child not getting their way….and frankly, when you act like this – which I have a time or two -, you just look really, really stupid. This is the most common thing I hear from unbelievers about people who call themselves Christians. Someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus won’t want anything to do with Him or other believers if they see you yelling at your wife; screaming at traffic; or not taking care of yourself, your finances, and your home. They especially don’t like it when your kids are out of control and instead of disciplining them properly you decide to abuse them: with your words, emotionally, and never show them what a good father looks like. God says in His Word Fathers are not to treat their children harshly…why you may ask? Because He knows moms can be condescending at times, but at least most know to speak kind words over them and to love on them. Dads on the other hand can be harsh, negative, and even ugly at times unless they allow God to shine through them. Without having a right relationship with the Lord, most Fathers may provide for their family financially, but that is where the role stops. To their children, they are nothing more than a beast and a warlord ruling over them with an iron fist; and they can’t wait to get as far away from home as possible so they don’t have to be around that environment any longer.
Now granted, I have seen a lot….and I mean a lot, of women who act like this and the dads are loving, caring, and strong men of God. But men, can you please do us a favor and step up to the role God has given you. If your wife is a complainer, has a controlling spirit – basically thinks if it wasn’t her idea or she isn’t the center of everything then you and the situation is wrong -, or speaks and acts with a condescending tone, then I suggest you go to God in prayer and speak to her about getting counseling. Unless this is the case, men show us wives and children what a Godly husband and dad looks like so we can have a healthy home environment and we can be everything God has called us to be without thinking someone – or worst yet, God – is mad at us and we are a complete failure! So now that we know what the fruit of the Spirit are, how do we use them?
How do we use the fruit of the Spirit?
In Colossians, Paul writes about putting on the fruit of the Spirit like you would clothes in the morning. Read these passages in the Message version:
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline…and regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” – Col. 3:12, 14b
So just like we would put on our clothes for the day, Paul is encouraging us to put on the fruit of the Spirit. How? By getting up early – however early is for you…I am a housewife so since I don’t work 4am is my early – and spending time in prayer with God, declaring that you will walk in each of these fruits – even BEFORE your mind has a chance to think about it!
So how do we mirror Christ in a world that is bent on pleasing themselves and saying yes to compromise? By walking in and choosing to Love others; have Joy, Peace, Patience; being Kind and respectful of others; being Faithful in following through and being a person of your word; having compassion with others; and using Self – Control in every situation and with all people. This is how you will share the message of Jesus and how they will see who He truly is! Let’s stop saying we live for Jesus and do it! I encourage you this month to find at least one person you can share the love of Jesus with simply by walking in the fruit of the Spirit. If you are bold enough use as little words as possible….you will be amazed at what the Lord will do!
Praise Reports & Prayer Request:
Angie’s mom is doing better, for those who didn’t know she had a total hip replacement and even though they normally say a person can be down for at least six months, that doesn’t stop her from jumping the recovery up a bit. Please be praying they figure out why her blood isn’t at the level it needs to be. They say she is supposed to be at 2.1, however it is continuing to drop which means her blood is thickening when it shouldn’t.
As stated above Angie’s mom could use some prayer regarding her blood thickening for no reason. We would really appreciate your prayers over this. Thank you
Chris’ job is putting a lot of demands on him and causing him to work a lot of overtime. I am thankful he has a job, but it is to the point he doesn’t have time for anything else. We would appreciate your prayers on this subject and hope he is able to have some more free time soon.
That is all for this month, please have patience with us as we work to get these letters out to all of you at a decent time. Our hope is to bring these out to you once a month at the beginning of each month. God has spoken something into our hearts, but we don’t feel led to share it yet, so please keep us in prayer as God moves us into a new direction and would open the right door for us to walk into the calling He has for us! Thank you again for all your prayers.
~Chris and Angie Frantz~