GALATIANS 5:22-23 (NKJV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Hello TTP family! It’s time for another insightful chapter in our exploration of the book of Galatians, focusing specifically on Galatians 5:22. In our previous blog post, we embarked on an illuminating journey through the initial three components of the nine-part Fruit of the Spirit. We carefully examined these attributes, understanding how they serve as undeniable signs of the Holy Spirit’s active presence and influence in the life of every believer and we also highlighted that even though you might not be seeing a full measure of the fruit in your life, it is a potential reality and a sign of a life fully surrendered to God and our earnest prayer is that this blog series on the fruit of the Spirit serves as an avenue to inspire you to cultivate a deeper relationship with God and experience a transformative journey that encompasses every aspect of your being.
Today, our adventure continues as we eagerly delve into the next three components. If you missed the first blog where we touched on love, joy and peace, kindly read it here. We are excited to continue this discussion, so without further ado, let’s plunge into the depths of wisdom waiting to be uncovered.
“The Fruit of the Spirit is … Longsuffering”. The Apostle Paul uses the word “makrothumia” , which comes from “macros” which means great and “thuo”, which means sacrifice. This word suggests patient endurance of wrongdoing without taking vengeance, or, put positively, steadfastness and tenacity of purpose.
Its corresponding Hebrew phrase, “erekh” means “long of nose”, an idiom used to picture the slow venting of air through the nostrils which is characteristic of someone who is slow to anger.
God is described as longsuffering so often in scripture, you might know the popular phrase “slow to anger” and this is what the Holy Spirit seeks to help us become. Let us take a look at a few scriptures to understand the importance of long-suffering for the believer.
In chapter 1:19 of his book, James advises us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. This is because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. As believers who have the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to produce the righteousness that God desires, but this requires us to cultivate long-suffering and remove anger from our lives. Ecclesiastes 7:9 cautions against being easily provoked, as anger resides in the lap of fools. Proverbs 22:24 instructs us not to make friends with hot-tempered people or those who are easily angered. As followers of Christ, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, and we cannot do this effectively without being long-suffering. The good news is that we do not need to attain these attributes one by one in varying measures and strive for perfection. They come packaged as one Fruit and it comes with the Holy Spirit and we see the relevance of it here, where the various aspects of the fruit overlap and help make our becoming like Christ, easier.
“The Fruit of the Spirit is … kindness”, The Greek word “krestotes” refers to the disposition of kindness towards others, which results from a tender hearted and compassionate nature. As believers in Christ, we are called to exhibit this divine attribute in our behavior towards others, just as God has shown kindness towards us. In Colossians 3:12, we are told to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. This implies that kindness is not just an outward behavior but an essential aspect of our character that should manifest in every area of our lives.
Additionally, Jesus taught us in Matthew 7:12 to treat others as we would want them to treat us. This concept also known as the “golden rule” reinforces the idea that kindness should be an intrinsic part of our behavior towards others. A kind person prioritizes the welfare of others and exhibits empathy when necessary. They provide aid and exhibit politeness and goodwill towards everyone. Individuals who are kind do not exhibit hostility, malice, or jealousy towards others.
Moreover, we are also called to love our enemies, do good to them, and lend without expecting anything in return (Luke 6:35). This type of kindness is not limited to our friends and family but extends even to those who may have wronged us. The scripture may sound illogical, but it serves as a reminder of our inability to exhibit this aspect of the fruit independently.
Lastly, kindness being evident in our daily lives helps to show others how Jesus will treat them if they get to know Him. Kindness is often seen as a trickling down of God’s love for us and should be shown to others to demonstrate God’s love for them. But is it far-fetched to expect that we be kind like God is? It sounds so, but that is why we must not physically strive to do this or else we will start to realize the unworthiness of man and get frustrated. Reliance on the Holy Spirit is key.
“The Fruit of the Spirit is … goodness” Have you ever pondered the difference between kindness and goodness? At first glance, these two words may appear to be synonymous, but Galatians 5 enlightens us on their distinction. Let’s explore this concept together. The Greek word for goodness is “agathosune” (ag-ath-o-soo’-nay), which appears only four times in the New Testament. It is defined as “uprightness of heart and life,” suggesting a deeper sense of moral integrity than just being kind or generous.
While kindness is often associated with acts of compassion and generosity, goodness is often seen as a more fundamental quality of character, reflecting a person’s underlying moral and ethical principles.
This benevolence is seen as greater than doing the right thing out of a sense of duty because love anticipates the needs of others and acts with compassion. One might wonder, what exactly is goodness? It is the presence of God in a person that makes them good. In Genesis, God declared that everything He created was good. Goodness is not just about the Holy Spirit helping you give; it is about the Holy Spirit changing you.
Goodness is truly desiring to help others and it does not condone or tolerate sin. It is characterized by doing the right thing and challenging others to do the same, even if it may be uncomfortable. Goodness is decent, honest, moral, honorable, virtuous, and full of integrity. Good people not only do the right thing but also make things right. The result of this transformation is the glorification of God. As Matthew 5:16 states, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
We have explored three essential components of the fruit of the Spirit in this blogpost: longsuffering, kindness, and goodness. Together, they form a powerful trifecta that exemplifies the character of Christ and demonstrates the transformative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. May we be encouraged to embody long-suffering, kindness, and goodness, not only in our interactions with those closest to us but also in our encounters with strangers and even those who may mistreat us. By doing so, we become conduits of God’s love and agents of His grace, spreading His light in a world that often desperately needs it.
In our next blog post, we will conclude our exploration of the fruit of the Spirit by examining the final three components: faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These attributes further enrich our understanding of how the Holy Spirit shapes us into Christlike individuals and empowers us to impact the lives of those around us.
Until next time, may the peace of God dwell within you, and may His blessings overflow in your life. Shalom
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