1 Corinthians 13:4-8
"Love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, not proud, does not dishonor others, not self seeking, not easily angered, keeps no records of wrongs. Does not delight in evil, but rejoices with truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, preserves. It never fails." (paraphrased)
Love is a choice, not a feeling. Yep, I said it, and I believe it. I know I probably just ruffled some feathers on some of you, as I know people personally, who will promise that they "can't help who they love". While I can't get into that on this blog post, for a couple of reasons, I can tell you that I have never had to question not loving someone back, when it comes to dating relationships, it is very difficult to choose to not love someone. That's another discussion for another day!
Love as the Fruit of the Spirit is talking about, is more than just loving your significant other, but about loving your friends, family, and even enemy. What? Love my enemy? You read me, sister!
Love tends to show itself, kind of on purpose. If your loving on someone else, you should be seeking their happiness. Love allows us to choose to put aside our own wants and often times, needs, to put the other person first. (Philippians 2: 1-3) If your a mom or a wife, you know this better than anyone!
You, as a maturing Christian, should cause no harm, never on purpose! (Romans 14:1-15) Meaning more than just physical harm, but understanding that your strength in your faith may be stronger than another's, and in situations you may be strong about, others may be weak. Have respect for your neighbor while they too, are growing!
Example: If your best friend has turned to a vegan lifestyle while you enjoy a good steak with a side of dairy, don't be boastful of how much better you think your food is than hers, be understanding and accepting of her choice, and she will either return that respect, or will one day learn to have the same respect. Maybe, because you showed her how to love that way!
Psalm 16: 8-11
"... You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
I have not read a verse in Psalms that I don't love. Well, I have not read a verse in the Bible, that I do not love, but Psalms has always been one of my favorite books!
The word 'joy' translates in the Greek language to gladness and delight; meaning, a feeling of gladness, based on your current circumstances. This is something that I, personally, have struggled with a lot, here lately. Learning to find joy in all aspects of our life just makes life easier. Is it easy to find joy everyday, in every situation? Not always!
In today's world, a world that is ugly and mean, society tends to be far from joyful, and when it seems to have joy, it doesn't last. The world has made it normal, to not have joy, and to question those who choose to create their own joy! The world's joy is usually based on physical circumstances or material items. Let's face it, society is happy when it gets the things it wants. That doesn't last.
One of my favorite movies is "The Great Gatsby", (the newer one, with Leo in it), being based off a great book, it can be a very thoughtful movie with deep lines and quotes, if you listen. One specific line came to mind while I was researching and writing this, "All the bright, precious things fade away...and they don't come back.". See? Deep. That's why the world can't keep joy. It relies on happiness from sources other than the One who is joy.
Cling to God. As we search him day to day, we will experience the happy and full heart that he promises us. (John 15:4-11)
"You will keep perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust you."
Peace comes from what or who is centered in our life and our mindset. Just like joy, you can't rely on anyone other than God to give you peace, or anything for that matter. Peace comes from within, from Him.
If you have Him in your heart, peace is totally possible, under any circumstances! You can reject the chaos of your surroundings (of the world) and embrace His peace. No, I don't mean by being oblivious to what is happening in your family or in the world, but here are some things I do to help me center my spirit around Him, not only helping me find joy, but giving me needed peace.
Psalm 37: 5-7
"Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes." (paraphrased)
Patience is so rare these days, one reason is we as a society (me, included) are spoiled. I went there. We are so fast paced, and spoiled with instant gratification, it makes us take the simple things for granted and forget how to be patient. This is another thing I am working on, not like the patience of Job patient, but I would like to be a bit more understanding- patient.
Okay, let me explain. I often, as hard as I fight it, loose my patience with my beautiful, oldest daughter, usually close to her bed time, like other children (I hope), she begins to play twenty questions, and is all the sudden starving to death, with a wonderful case of the whines. She is tired, I am tired. Her daddy is usually cleaning up whatever project he was working on outside, and her baby sister is turned up for her last "hoorah" before bed. (When I say turned up, she is either rolling all over my bed "eating her toes", or she is squealing at the top of her lungs while running full speed, recklessly into anything in her way, if she could hang from the ceiling fan she would!) I loose it. It takes everything in me to not scream at them. I am not naturally a screamer, in fact, my husband says I am the opposite, he says I mumble. It takes work and PATIENCE with the girls, shoot, with my husband, too, but they all three are worth it.
Patient people put up with most circumstances and people with the most care. Usually. I mean they are still perfect, every one is going to have their days. These patient people. who I want to be more like, display endurance, long suffering and perseverance.
That's the kind of patience I want. When I am spending time with my kids, I want to be more understanding of the situation of everyone is tired and fighting going to bed. Or when were at a store and the oldest is crying because I will not carry her in my arms, I want to be more understanding of maybe there is something that has triggered her anxiety, making her need to feel safe in my arms, close to me. When I am working with confused patients, I want to show them that I can stand strong with them, help them and encourage them.
Remember, God is patient with the biggest task ever. He is the most patient person ever as He waits for His people to seek Him. He knows that we come to Him on our own time, and with our own pace. He watches us mess up and loose faith, questioning Him, but He is patient as we sort it all out on our time, with His help, of course. When we do come to Him, He is so grateful.
Kindness & Goodness
Ephesians 4:32 | Ephesians 2:10
4:32 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you."
2:10 "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
The characteristics of kindness and goodness are so close together, they might as well be room mates! People with kindness and goodness in their hearts are good morally, have integrity towards others. The goodness is an action, and it shows God's goodness and kindness towards us. A kindness he demonstrated by giving us salvation (Titus 3:4), and is something He will always show us (Ephesians 2:7)
This is a way that we are to let God shine through us, so that others may see His goodness and kindness. Its way of sharing His love.
"... '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!"
Faithfulness requires us to be reliable and trustworthy, in all aspects of life. Work, marriage, friendships, parenting, you name it. Being faithful can be one of the most difficult things to do, but its a calling, its submitting to His will, letting Him do His work, and obeying His commands. He provides to us that are faithful!
Don't loos patience in your faith, do not give up. When you think He is not at work, He is, you just can't see what road he might be smoothing for you, what opportunities He is creating just for you, His faithful servant!
1 Peter 3:4
"Rather, it should be that your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
Gentleness is right up there with humility, as in it is "grace of the soul". When you first meet a gentle person, you might see them as weak, but in reality, they are the opposite, their strength is in full control. Gentle people are not self-assertive, they don't throw their power around, and they think of others in all things.
Gentleness goes a long ways with creating unity and keeping peace, not only in the Spirit, but in your life at work and home. You know that old saying, "You catch a lot more flies with honey, over vinegar"? Well, that might not be the exact wording, but you get the idea. Being gentle and calm in a potentially hectic or dramatic encounter can save a lot of heartache.
Also, when I was reading about gentleness, I could not help but think about my dad and my great-grandfather on my mom's side. From a young age, I have always thought of them as "gentle giants", still do. My great-grandfather, Gus, was tall, smart, good looking and funny, and would take care of you even it meant putting himself in danger. I really think he thought he was superman, but, even with that, he was always gentle, calm, but his calmness is usually what kept him from putting himself in danger.
My dad, Robert, is quiet, reserved, funny, handsome and muscular (especially growing up, he was always lifting weights, that’s where my love for weight lifting came from!) and knows the exact thing to do or say to keep calm in hectic situations, especially on a professional spectrum, being he is a successful manager, he is my go to when I need advice with resumes and what not. As a child your dad should always be a role model, a hero, and I feel bad for kids who don't get to grow up with that, like I was blessed to do so. Robert is always calm, and gentle, wouldn't hurt a fly. I mean, have you seen him? He totally could throw down, especially in his younger years, but now, he will walk away from confrontation, keeping his head level and keeping the respect he deserves from those that matter, most that encounter him.
2 Timothy 1:7
"For the Spirit of God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self discipline"
Finally, we made it to the last fruit! The last, but equally important fruit, that rounds out our fruit tray, or garden!
Self control, well, it is so hard. So. Hard. Difficult doesn't even describe it. It's dang HARD! The struggle is real on trying to stay on a healthy lifestyle. My mirror and jeans tell me to eat a salad with grilled chicken, but my brain says make it tacos, instead. Y'all! We love tacos so hard in this house. So, I compromise and eat a taco salad, no chips or shells.
The point here is, we have to have self control in all the things. But, where I compromise and make a healthy taco themed salad, there are things or occurrences that we shouldn't compromise on. Like, "Lusts of the Flesh", for example, that's not something to compromise on. I know, I know, its 2019, people don't have the same beliefs on that anymore... well, it's not about having beliefs, its about having self control to do what is right, which is listed in the Word, not wrong.
Saying no to wrong desires, but YES to Him, to the Spirit, creates a beautiful and bountiful fruit, or, as I look at it, a great future blessing!
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