Fruit of the Spirit

January, February, March 2010

Want to learn more about Fruit of the Spirit? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.

Lesson 1: By Their Fruit (John 15 & 16, Luke 6, Acts 2)
Would you love it if you could call Jesus on the phone and discuss with Him whatever is on your mind? Uncertain about how to handle a situation? Just speed dial His number! Christians sometimes lose sight of the fact that Jesus sent His Spirit to be with us after Jesus returned to heaven. We cannot live a proper Christian life without the power of the Holy Spirit. This series of lessons is about the result of having the Spirit in our life. Let's dive right into our study of the work of the Holy Spirit!

Lesson 2: The Fruit of the Spirit is Love (Deuteronomy 6, Matthew 22, 1 Corinthians 13)
A song says "love is all around." If true, it sounds wonderful, right? Imagine a world in which every one showed a loving attitude to you. Love is a top priority in the Kingdom of God. But, what it means, and how we show love are difficult issues. Not difficult because God is less than plain on the subject, but difficult because of our selfish hearts. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn more about the connection between the power of the Holy Spirit in us and love!

Lesson 3: The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy (Philippians 4, Luke 15, John 15 & 16)
Is life a little bit discouraging? You get up each day and go through the same routine. Then you go to bed. The next day you do it all over again. Sort of like a rat on a treadmill. Would you like a little more joy? Our lesson this week reveals how a Christian can have joy not only in everyday life, but also in difficult times. Let's jump right into our study and discover the Bible's secret to joy!

Lesson 4: The Fruit of the Spirit is Peace (Romans 5, Ephesians 2, Matthew 11)
Galatians 5:22 tells us that another fruit of the Holy Spirit is peace. Is your life peaceful? Are you at peace with your spouse? At peace with your children? At peace with your boss? At peace with your health? How valuable is peace to you? What would you pay for it? What do you think it would take to bring peace into your life? Let's jump into our study of the Bible and discover what it teaches us about obtaining peace!

Lesson 5: The Fruit of the Spirit is Patience (Exodus 34, Romans 15, James 1)
Galatians 5:22 tells us that another fruit of the Spirit is patience. I have lots of things to do and I do not like to waste my time unless the goal of my activity is to relax and "waste" time. How about you? Do you see pointless wasting of your time as a gift from God? What if I told you that "longsuffering" is another way to translate this word patience. Do you want to be suffering? While I was doing more research on what the Bible really meant by "patience," what I found were texts on endurance. The New Bible Dictionary defines patience as "restraint in the face of opposition or oppression." That sounds like a cross between suffering and endurance, rather than wasting time. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more about God has in mind with the gift of patience!

Lesson 6: The Fruit of the Spirit is Kindness (2 Samuel 9, Matthew 5 & 11)
Galatians 5:22 tells us that another fruit of the Spirit is kindness. How much do you appreciate it when people are kind to you? In the rough and tumble of life, I notice and appreciate kind people. If you continue reading beyond the list of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians, you come to Galatians 6:7. That verse tells us that we reap what we sow. By being kind to others, we cultivate kindness towards us. The question is, how do we become kind? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more about God's gift of kindness!

Lesson 7: The Fruit of the Spirit is Goodness (Mark 10, Romans 3 & 7)
Last week, I heard a speaker talk about the time after you end your schooling. In general, I liked being in school - especially college. It was fun to learn. It was great to be in charge of your own schedule. When grades came out you had feedback on the quality of your work. What happens after that? The speaker asked us to imagine that after college we were actually expected to do something with what we learned! Imagine that! If you regularly read these lessons, you are in "college." We are learning about what the Bible says. Our study this week is about actually doing something about what we learn from the Bible. Let's dive right in and learn more about goodness!

Lesson 8: The Fruit of the Spirit is Faithfulness (Matthew 25, John 16)
Imagine parents whose children repeatedly rejected them. The children even went so far as to claim their parents had died (when they had not) and then asserted that they were children of another couple! One day the real parents lost their lives rescuing their ungrateful children from a fire. That is a picture of faithfulness. That is the picture of what our God has done for humans. As followers of God, what does He expect of us when it comes to being faithful? Are we called to be firefighters? How do we get to the point where God calls us (Matthew 25:21) a "good and faithful servant?" Let's jump into our study of the Bible and find out!

Lesson 9: The Fruit of the Spirit is Meekness (Matthew 11, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 3)
Raspberries are my favorite fruit. Although I like all common fruits, I faintly recall an exotic fruit I did not like because of its bitter taste. If I had to rank the fruits of the Spirit, meekness would not be my raspberries! Consider Jesus' statement in Matthew 5:5 that the meek will inherit the earth. How can that be right? I thought it was the aggressive and hard-working who were successful. I've never read a self-help book that suggested meekness as the road to success. A further problem with the idea of being meek is that most translations (including the NIV) translate the Greek as "gentleness," rather than meekness. What does it mean to be "meek" when dealing with the world? What does it mean to be "meek" when dealing with fellow Christians? Let's explore these mysteries and this unpopular fruit by diving into our study of the Bible!

Lesson 10: The Fruit of the Spirit is Self-Control (1 Corinthians 9 & 10, Colossians 3, Romans 5)
For just a moment contemplate Galatians 5:22: "But the fruit of the Spirit is ... self-control." Isn't this a logical contradiction? The "Spirit" is the Holy Spirit, God's Spirit. If God is giving me control, how can it be called "SELF-control?" Does the Spirit give me big muscles and then send me off to control myself? Clearly, the people who argue that my works are important, are on to something here. What, I'm not sure. As always, let's dive into our study of the Bible and try to figure out what this self-control stuff all about!

Lesson 11: The Fruit of the Spirit is Righteousness (Ephesians 5, Romans 3 & 5, 1 John 2)
Each week we have been going through the list of Spirit fruits found in Galatians 5:22. Last week we came to the end of the list in Galatians, so you might be wondering where we found yet another Spirit fruit? We found it on the "light tree!" Ephesians 5:9 says "for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth." In the grocery store, the fad for some time now has been "light" food. This is the food that is supposed to be more healthy for us. Let's jump into our study of the Bible once again to find out what it means to have a "light" spiritual fruit, the fruit called righteousness!

Lesson 12: The Fruit of the Spirit is Truth (John 14 & 16, 1 Corinthians 9, Romans 14)
Toby Keith sings a song containing this line, "I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." Is that your view of life? Something unpleasant has happened and you wish you had never heard about it? Or, is knowing the truth always better? The Bible presents an amazingly truthful account of its Old Testament heroes. This suggests that it is always better to know. On the other hand, Paul seems to suggest that being completely open is not always the best approach. In my life, truth comes in two packages. One is truth about God, salvation and the operation of the universe. The other is truth about my life and the truth about the lives of others. I'm sure I want to know the truth about God. As to the truth about me .... Let's jump right in and explore what the Bible has to teach us about truth!

Lesson 13: The Fruit of the Spirit, Christian Character (Matthew 6, 2 Corinthians 3, John 15)
Have you ever heard of "hurry sickness?" In the United States we have all sorts of illnesses which are not considered a traditional illness. Hurry sickness is one of these fake illnesses, and I have it. I'm always in a hurry to finish whatever it is I'm doing. Get it done, move on to the next task. Whenever I'm driving, I'm in a hurry. We will be driving to the airport to pick someone up and my wife will tell me to slow down because we will arrive too early. I know this is true, but find it hard to accept that advice. This is the last in our series of studies about the fruits of the Spirit. Our study of the Bible this week suggests that the quality of our journey, rather than hurrying to heaven, is of most concern. Let's dive into our study and find the cure to spiritual hurry sickness!

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