Episode 57: The Holy Spirit's Fruit in Our Lives, Part 2

Peace to Live By Episode 57: The Holy Spirit's Fruit in Our Lives, Part 2 - Daniel Litton
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       I am continuing our discussion on the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5. Last week we considered the first three fruits in that passage, which are love, joy, and peace. Today, we will consider the next three, which are patience, kindness, and goodness. Just as last week’s fruits I think were pretty interesting and insightful, today’s fruits are just as interesting. They might seem basic, but really there is a lot to them, and there is much to consider. My goal and hope, in this study, is that as we learn more about these fruits, we will seek to cultivate and develop them in our lives as Christians. We want to be becoming more like Jesus, and a good way for us to do that is by cultivating these fruits. Remember, Christ modeled these perfectly in his life, and we want to strive to do the same.

       Let’s go back to Galatians chapter 5 before we get started, and let’s re-read the passage again. So, turn in your Bibles or tap in your Bible apps to Galatians chapter 5, and let’s go to verse 22. Now, as I stated last week, it is good to consider this chapter from verse 16 to its end, in thinking about the Fruit of the Spirit. So, if you didn’t get a chance this week, I would encourage you to read this passage. But let us today go to verse 22:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24, ESV).

Now, let us consider these middle-three fruits, and try to gain a better understanding of them.


       Patience is one of those characteristics that people are either ok with or have a real difficult time with. Some of us are good at having patience, and some of us need a lot of work in this area. The reality is, a lot of us don't like to have to wait for anything. We want whatever we want right away. And really, like it or not there is a root of pride in us when we don't want to wait. There is the feeling that, ‘I am too important to have to wait,’ or ‘I deserve what I want right now.’ These are often the type of thoughts that roll through our minds when we don't want to wait.

       We must understand, though, that we are all going to have to wait at one point or another for something in our lives. That's just the way life is for people; that's just the way it works. And that’s why the word ‘patience’ exists. Some people are waiting to find the right person to marry. Some are waiting for a promotion at their job. Still some are waiting to have the child they so desperately want. Whatever it is, the need is deep on our hearts. It is something that we are constantly bringing to the Lord’s attention. We want him to act, to help us, and yet he is waiting for the time in which he wants to do it, and his time isn't obviously our time.

       When it comes to practicing long-term patience, probably the best passage I can take you to is found in Romans chapter 4. Let's go ahead and turn there. Romans chapter 4, starting in verse 18:

“In hope he [Abraham] believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (Romans 4:18-21, ESV).

This passage is personally my favorite on this subject of patience. There are some things in life that we know God is going to give us, but we just don’t know when he is going to answer our prayer with a yes and provide the need. And for some even, God has promised us a certain, specific thing. He has given us insight into something that he is going to do, but he just hasn’t told us when he is going to do it. Yes, God often operates this way and did this quite a lot in the Bible.

       Sometimes it seems that all hope is lost in a situation, and that there is really nothing to hope for. That’s what it seemed like for Abraham and Sarah in having a son from their own flesh. Abraham was elderly, and Sarah had been unable to have children. But since God had said what was going to happen, Abraham took him at his word. Paul said “he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (ESV). And that’s the model all of us should be following when we find ourselves in this type of situation. Now, we know that Abraham did try to fulfill the promise of God through Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant (see Genesis 16). But we need to remember that we must wait on God to act, and not try to act out of our own flesh and our own ways to make something happen. That’s being impatient.

       I am going to tell you a secret to having patience. Yes, waiting for something can be really hard, but it is true that we can enjoy our lives while we are waiting for whatever it is. Did you know that? Just because you are waiting for the next season of your life to begin, or the next chapter, that does not mean that you should stop living and wait. Waiting is an active thing. We are to wait for sure, but as we wait we can still enjoy our lives in the process. We don’t have to wish-away our current season in order for the next one to begin. As a matter of fact, we can enjoy our now time and look forward for our desire or need to come. We can have hope our provision is coming because God is good and always provides what we need. And we can confess this hope to ourselves and to God. I believe God likes it when we do this. You will often hear people say something bad that hasn’t happened to them, and then say, “Knock on wood.” People believe in the negative aspect of confessing bad things for themselves. But we should be repeating to ourselves and God things that we want to happen, and have confidence that they will. We should expressive faith in our words, and not fear.

       But patience isn’t just a long term thing. There are many things in life we have to, and should, be patient about on a daily basis. Indeed, having and displaying patience is supposed to be part of our character as we become more like Jesus. Sometimes we have to utilize patience with those whom we are around, whether people in our families or people at work. Often times people don’t act just like we want them to, but act in a way that causes us to become impatient with them. And problems develop with situations that require patience. We need to realize that things are not always going to be roses and cherries. Things aren’t always going to go the way we want them to go. Again, this is just how daily living is in our fallen world. Jesus said we would have to deal with tribulation, but remember he is always with you and will help you with difficult situations that arise.

       Recently I had a situation where I had to remain patient and utilize faith in order to see the problem through (remember, faith and patience often go hand-in-hand). I was in Florida this past January, and I was leaving to come back home here to Ohio on a Saturday. It just so happened that I was departing on the same day that Winter Storm Jonas in New England was reaping havoc. I kept seeing the news about the storm on Thursday and Friday, but I kept positive and believed the problem would not affect my flight back home. I figured since I was flying to Atlanta and then to Columbus that there would be no problem for me. When I went to leave for the airport Saturday morning, I saw that my flight had been delayed by twenty-five minutes. I thought to myself, “No big deal. It’s probably not even related to the storm.”

       When I got to the airport and got to the gate, everything was still on track for the short delay. We all boarded the airplane and took our seats. Right before takeoff, the Captain came on the intercom and stated that the flight had been delayed for another hour. He stated that Atlanta had snow and that the delay was because there was no clearance to land there. Now, I knew this delay was going to cause me to miss my connecting flight in Atlanta, but at that moment I decided to stay positive and not lose my peace and hope. On my phone, I opened my Delta app to find my connecting flight to Columbus, which I was going to miss anyway, had been cancelled and that I was rescheduled to fly out of Atlanta Sunday morning. But I stayed calm and believed everything would be ok, that I would get back home on Saturday. Sure enough, there was a button in the Delta app that allowed me to look for other flights, and there was one departing at 3:30 from Atlanta to Columbus, and I selected that flight. Now, when I got to Atlanta, I saw my 3:30 flight had been delayed until 5:30. But I didn’t get upset. I decided I would enjoy my time in Atlanta. I went and found a nice restaurant and had a nice, big lunch. I treated myself well. And then I got some work done on my laptop as I waited for my flight home.

       Now, by utilizing patience and having faith, this allowed God to work on my behalf and make things go a lot better than they could have. When I was on the airplane in Tampa, after the captain announced the delay, there was a guy next to me with his wife (I’m assuming) who got all worked up and started prophesying for himself negative things to come for this current flight and his connecting flight. He said, “This is only the beginning.” That was a negative perspective and getting all worked up was not going to help the situation. I could have caved to those around me and became upset myself, but I had to choose not to. And, it wasn’t easy. When I was in Atlanta waiting for my 5:30 flight, people kept coming up to the counter at the gate trying to get on my flight. There must have been 30 people on the waiting list. I had gotten on this flight because I had noticed Delta had canceled my Atlanta connecting flight and rescheduled me for Sunday morning. But I got on this Saturday afternoon flight because I had noticed the button to look for other flights, and selected one, which Delta graciously let me do. God had drawn the change to my attention and allowed me to make the change for Saturday I believe because I kept my patience and faith. Many others were not as fortunate to get home on Saturday.

       There are going to be situations in our lives when we have to choose patience over being impatient, negative, and complaining. Rather than get upset, we need to exercise control over our emotions, and choose to be at peace in the midst of our storm. We can get upset with God and ask why we are having to deal with whatever it is we are dealing with, but that is a prideful attitude. We need to accept the situation and go with the flow, seeing it as an opportunity to utilize patience, faith, and endurance. When we stay positive and remain hopeful, full of faith, God will help us through whatever it is. He will help us personally by utilizing his angels to our aid. Our circumstances will be much better for us, and we will feel good about our proper reaction to the situation.


       Kindness is something that I think comes easier for us, as American Christians, than it does for some others in different parts of the world. Our society often thrives on being kind to one another. We are taught at a young age to be kind to one another. We are told at the dinner table, for instance, to say thank you when someone passes something to us. We were taught to say thank you in a lot of situations. Most people are considerate toward the feelings and needs of others, and even at times, overly considerate. Some folks can even have the problem of being too kind toward others, and by so doing let people take advantage of them. But I think that kindness is an easier trait for most of us to master than that of patience.

       The Apostle Paul has taught us, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32, ESV). Part of kindness then involves being empathetic toward others. Now showing empathy doesn’t mean we are to excuse or even ignore sins in others, that is, big sins. We should not use kindness as a way to not deal with sin. But as members of the body of Christ, the church, we should seek to work on putting ourselves in others shoes, and understanding not only our own needs but also the needs of others. We should listen to our fellow brothers and sisters when they have problems, and we should come alongside them, providing prayer and good words toward them as benefits them. We should have and display a caring attitude.

       One way not to be kind is to be harsh or sharp toward others feelings, and the things that they tell us. We are unkind when we act like we don’t care about their needs. We are unkind when all we want to do is focus on ourselves and the needs we have, and not take turns in caring for each others needs. Unfortunately, it is true that some people only want to talk about themselves, and they only seem to care about things that affect and pertain to them. This is a form of unkindness. People who have this problem need to start showing care for the needs of others. Jesus taught us that we are to love our neighbors. We aren’t loving them if we never ask about how things are going for them and ask how we might pray for them. We aren’t loving them if we don’t listen to them speak and exercise patience in doing so. Even if deep down we don’t feel that we care that much, we still should try to really care.

       The church, or a smaller group of people, can also show kindness toward others by helping them out with the needs they have—by providing those needs. Churches will often help the community in which they reside with different things. People go down and feed the homeless, visit the elderly, and show care for orphans and widows. Here are some things Jesus said about kindness: “For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward. Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:41, 42, ESV). So God does want us to help our fellow church members, and he wants us to lead people in the right direction, to be kind.

       I would say though, and advise, that it is good for us not to become legalistic about our kindness toward others. We should do things for others because we really want to, not because we feel that we have to. If I do something for someone else because I feel I have to, I am not doing it with a right ‘heart’ attitude, and therefore I am doing it out of obligation or to stay true to keeping a rule. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-9, ESV). The more we give, the further God’s grace will be lavished upon us. And God makes sure we have everything we need as a church so that the church can then offer more and more good works toward others.

       The Apostle Peter has told us, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8, 9, ESV). Times are going to come when someone does something that we don’t like, something that is against us. And at that moment, we are going to have a choice to make. We are going to have to choose to be kind toward the person, and not retaliate or return whatever they did to us with an evil of our own. God’s wants us to show kindness toward another with love, even when the person doesn’t deserve it. Remember, there have been times when you have done things against others yourself, and you have had to rely and hope for their kindness. By being kind to each other, it causes us as a group to be blessed.


       Part of the Christian life is living in a way that is overall good, a way that is like that of the Lord Jesus Christ (becoming more like Christ). We are to display goodness in character, and to be good at all we do. We work heartily, as unto the Lord, with good effort. Indeed, goodness is part of the definition of a Christian. We are truly good in God’s eyes because of what Jesus has accomplished for us by his dying on the cross. By trusting in Christ’s sacrifice for us, we have been made right in God’s sight. God looks at us through rose-colored glasses, as some have said, seeing the blood of Christ when he looks upon us. This means God sees us as perfect, as sin-free. Our definition for each of us then comes from our position in Christ, that we are completely sanctified in him, by his blood. We are not defined by who we are in this world, by what we do for a living, or by who we are friends with. Christ is our definition. Recall, the Apostle Paul said, “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21, ESV).

       Paul told the Romans, “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another” (Romans 15:14, ESV). So, when Paul said the Romans were “full of goodness,” he used two different things to establish that fact. He said that they were, first, “filled with knowledge.” One way we better ourselves, become more good, is by learning more and more about the Word of God, by reading our Bibles and retaining what we read. I am not saying that we should just legalistically read our Bibles everyday, but we should try to retain and remember what we read so that it will affect our lives in a positive way. Some people choose to do their devotions in the evening rather than the morning because they are half-asleep for a while after they get up. If they read in the morning, they probably aren’t going to remember much of what they read. And it can be good to read an easier-to-read Bible translation so that you can understand better what you are reading.

       Second, Paul said the Romans were “able to instruct one another” (ESV). Now this fact is important because it shows that the church members individually were growing in familiarity with the Word of God and could help each other out by leading one another in the right direction. Now, this is not an excuse to become critical of one another—for we should never do that. When we become critical of one another, it just causes negativity and bad emotions to develop between people. And people don’t want to be around a brother or sister who is overly critical. That kind of person is no fun to be around. But by knowing the Word, and by living it out before others, by our goodness we can help one another and give good advice when the occasion arises. A church that isn’t founded in the Word of God isn’t a good church at all. We don’t want to be following the ways of this world, acting no different than those who are outside the church. But we want to display a quality of goodness.

       Another part of goodness includes being well-meaning toward others, and being charitable, again willing to give our time and even resources to help others and to help advance the Gospel of Jesus. It is true that we can use our wealth, our money, that God has provided us with to be a blessing to others. We are to make friends for ourselves by means of our wealth in this world. We can use our wealth to witness to unbelievers, both those whom we know personally, and those whom we do not know personally—those of whom are from afar. We can give helpful materials to others who need it, and we can give our time to help them where they need help. The Bible says that when we go home to be with the Lord, when we leave this life, the people we have shared the Gospel with who have believed will receive us as their friends in Heaven, and they will receive us in their homes (see Luke 16:8, 9, ESV). Indeed, there is great eternal reward to leading others into relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

       But our goodness should not just be external, but it should come from within in, from our hearts. Recall that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for having a good outward appearance, while at the same time their inward states were sinful and hypocritical (see Matthew 23:27). We never want to harboring sin within us, accepting it, playing with it, or excusing it on the inside. And Paul said we are to think about good things, and to cast down any imagination or thought within ourselves that is contrary to God’s Word. When dealing with a besetting, reoccurring problem within our minds, sometimes it takes constant attention to gain victory and power over the issue. It can take a lot of fighting in the beginning to bring something gone astray back into order. You may spend the first several days or week casting down the problem thought, and that may be what you spend most of your day doing. But we have to begin somewhere. If we are going to better ourselves, we need to fight the good fight of the faith and get our minds into total obedience to Christ.

       In 1 Peter 3, the Apostle Peter talked about wives, by their actions and witness to their unbelieving husbands, actually winning them over to God. It was their external goodness that made the difference. Let’s turn over to that passage and consider it. 1 Peter 3, starting in verse 1:

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening” (1 Peter 3:1-6, ESV).

It is interesting how Peter said that the unbelieving husband can be “won without a word” (ESV). That’s pretty impressive, and it would definitely take a godly woman of good, noble character to display Christ like that. And Peter also touched on the fact that women should not let their beauty only be displayed with their outward clothing and jewelry, but that really their beauty should come from within, on the inside, inside their hearts. When women do this, and really I think when any of us are not just displaying our goodness on the outward person, it makes God happy.


       In conclusion today, we know that God loves us if we are a Christian and that we are good because of what Jesus accomplished for us. But I want to point out that God even loves those of you who are not Christians. He shows his love to the whole world everyday as he takes care of it, giving all of us things we do not really deserve. I want those who are not Christian today, or who are not practicing Christians, to realize that even though God loves you, you still need to come into a personal relationship with him to be truly free. God showed his love for everyone some 2,000 years ago by having Jesus die on the cross of all sins of all time. He did that because each of us is born with a sin nature, and we have to accept Jesus' perfect sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, and to be truly made right with God. You see, Jesus can make you free from sin’s power today. He died on a cross and rose from the dead by God's power so that anyone can be forgiven and set free from sin.

       By believing in Jesus for the forgiveness of the wrongs you have done in your life, you can be at peace with God today. He will forgive any and every offense for anyone who comes to him in agreement with him. There's no need to continue living with the weight of your sin on your shoulders. There's no need to live with regret about anything wrong you’ve done in your life. God can take that burden off your shoulders, and you can be made right with him. Not only will you be in a good relationship with him, but he also freely gives eternal life to whoever will believe in him. There will be no hell in the future for those who accept Jesus. There is no more condemnation for them. They are free: free to live and have a new life. We, as Christians, will be with God forever, and all trouble, fears, and problems will be removed from us when we enter the next life.

       If you would like to accept Jesus today as your personal Lord and Savior, then just follow my lead in this simple prayer:

God, I have messed up in my life. I have sinned against you, and against others. I have not lived up to your righteous standard. But I understand that through Jesus I can have forgiveness for my sins, that the weight can come off my shoulders. I want to accept Jesus' sacrifice on my behalf, and I believe that he rose from the dead. I turn from willingly doing wrong today, and count Jesus as my Lord. Please, change my life and make me new. In Jesus' name, Amen.

-Daniel Litton