“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”- St. Paul the Apostle
We looked at character last week; saw how it is formed, and then some facts on that. Today and in the weeks ahead, we want to turn our attention on what constitutes a good character. I am going to use Paul’s letter he wrote to the Galatians in the Bible as my template.
In the Christian circles, one of the common terms is fruit of the spirit. What is that? It is when one becomes a Christian and relies on the Holy Spirit, a divine helper, to shape his conduct into a Christlike one. As Christians, our role model is Jesus Christ, who was the embodiment of these virtues. The first three we will look at concerns our attitude.
1. Love– in the Greek culture when this letter was penned, love had three different connotations: romantic love, shared goodwill (friendship) and familial love (as pertaining to parents and children especially). Paul didn’t have any of these in mind, but talked about a superior kind of love called agape in the Greek which means universal love and loving like God. Out of love, will all the attributes listed alongside flow. Each one of the attributes we will look at has its base in love. This kind of love is unconditional and has no hidden motives or strings attached. Let me end with this quote by Paul on love which explains it better.
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 HCSB
2. Joy- it has to do with having a disposition of a calm delight and cheerfulness. It is deeper than happiness which depends on the happenings around you. Joyful people don’t necessarily need external happenings or indicators to be merry. It is from within and radiates outwardly. A joyful person rarely gets moody. How do you know you are joyful? When you can easily let go of grudges and forgive easily. Forgiveness is a result of inner peace and calmness.
3. Peace- anybody who has an attitude of joy has peace, they are interwoven. So, what is peace? It is a state of inner tranquility. It is more than being a peacemaker. You can be a peacemaker, but if you don’t have inner tranquil, you are truly not at peace. Peace is a rare commodity today; people are searching and looking at the wrong avenues for that. From my personal experience, one of the best ways to experience peace is through prayer
“Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NCV
I hope this scripture will encourage you to pray. You may ask, “how do I pray?” It is just like talking to a friend. There is no superstition about that. God hears and answers prayers! Peaceful people are confident and hopeful. You lack peace if you fret a lot and always pessimistic. How do you handle interviews? How do you deal with unexpected emergency situations? How do you handle pressure? Does a failed project get the best of you and make you fold? I pray peace upon anyone reading.
As we step into this new week, let us challenge ourselves to developing a good attitude. Our attitude will determine our altitude indeed. Don’t beat yourself up and throw your hands in despair if these are lacking. No one is perfect including this writer. We are all “work-in-progress”. Be rather encouraged and go all out!
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Till I come your way again…
Peace & Love