Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Galatians 5:22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

To start, I’d like to do the same thing I did Friday and break down each of these traits so we can focus better on how we can apply them to our lives.  I will once again provide references that I encourage you to look up on your own.  And I once again refer you to last post’s disclaimer regarding my lack of thorough knowledge of the Greek language.

Love – Greek word agape, meaning to love specifically as God loves – a love involving sacrifice and goodwill.  Therefore, we must get the power to love in this way from God Himself.  See 1 Corinthians 13:1, Matthew 5:43-48.  Such as: exhibiting God’s love to people who annoy you or have hurt you.
Joy – Greek word chara, meaning joy, rejoicing, cheerfulness, gladness.  See Hebrews 12:2, Matthew 25:21.  Such as: even when not able to rejoice in your circumstances, rejoice in God – praise Him for His gift of eternal life, because “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
Peace – Greek word eirene, meaning peace, quietness, rest, tranquility.  See John 16:33, 1 Corinthians 14:33.  Such as: not being consumed by worry about finances, war, medical problems, etc.; maintaining your sense of assurance that God’s will is best.  Peace is a mindset, not an emotion.
Patience – Greek word macrothymia, meaning endurance, perseverance, longsuffering.  Such as: waiting for God’s timing, not getting impatient with others for slow growth, foul-ups, etc.  See 2 Timothy 4:2, James 5:10.
Kindness – Greek word chrestotes, meaning moral excellence, gentleness, goodness, kindness; this word, too, is often applied to God – meaning, we must exhibit the same loving, sacrificial kindness that He exhibited to us to others.  See Ephesians 2:7, Titus 3:4.  Such as: (see love), doing good deeds for others, even those whom you dislike.
Goodness – Greek word agathosune, meaning virtue, active goodness.  See 2 Thessalonians 1:11.  Such as: Specifically, serving others, doing good deeds for them – not just treating them kindly, but doing kind things for them.  We are to be “servant of all” (Mark 9:35).
Faithfulness – Greek word pistis, meaning faith.  Such as, staying faithful to God/the faith (especially), because you believe in Him fully and choose to act on it.  This includes loyalty to others out of servitude to God, because you believe they are His special creations.  See Matthew 23:23, 3 John 1:5.  Such as: doing what God’s Spirit tells you, doing what His Word tells you, not breaking confidences of friends.
Gentleness – Greek word praytes, meaning mildness and gentleness.  Such as: reproving others gently (we’ll spend the next entire post on this concept, when we focus on Galatians 6:1).
Self-Control – Greek word egkrateia, meaning self-control, temperance.  See: 1 Corinthians 7:5, 7:9, 9:25.  Such as: possessing enough self-control to resist temptations, and to plan in advance to avoid situations (such as perhaps bars, parties) where you know you will be tempted to sin.

Verses 24 and 26 re-emphasize that we should be dead to our old, fleshly selves (verses 19-21), hating that dead person and not welcoming him/her back.  Just as God is our source of life (24) we should walk in that life, not engaging in fleshly acts, which are self-destructive and kill us.  Galatians 6:8 “For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption [Greek word phthora, meaning perishing, destruction, and by implication death], but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Today’s discussion starters:
1- What encouraging Bible verses can you provide that relate to these admirable traits?
2- How, specifically and in the modern world, can we exhibit these traits?

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