John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
Put yourself in the place of the original disciples. You’re walking along daily with Jesus. The Son of God is not only your teacher, but your friend. You spend time with the one person on earth who has lived a perfect life and never committed a single sin. But then, just when you think things are going great, He tells you He’s going to go away. He’s going to die. What do you do with that?
We can’t blame Peter for his reaction to Jesus’s news. When he swore it couldn’t be so, Jesus rebuked him and we, living so far removed from that moment, are quick to judge his stupidity. But let’s be honest, we would most likely have done the same thing Peter did. If Jesus lived right here among us, if we thought He was going to establish His kingdom right here and now, we’d have tried to keep Him around too. But Jesus pointed out that it was actually to our advantage that He go away. How can this be?
When Christ came to earth as a man, He emptied Himself of His divine prerogative. He, as a human man, could only be in one place at a time. In the brief time He was here in the flesh, He could not be omnipresent. He could not be with every single person at once. But by sending the Holy Spirit (who, by the way, operated in Christ at all times), we could have God present with us always. If God was still present in the form of Jesus in a historic place and time, we wouldn’t be able to experience His divine guidance unless we were right there with Him. But the Holy Spirit is our helper whenever and wherever. His power operates in us and through us to the glory of God.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the spirit is…kindness
Kindness is hard to come by in today’s society. Even kind acts are sometimes done out of selfish motives. But if we are to truly bear the fruit that God has in mind, we must act in kindness out of love, not out of selfish ambition. Our motives matter a lot to God.
It’s true, that we are often rewarded for our kindness in this life. This, however, should not be our objective in doing kind things for others. Our main focus is to bring glory to God through our actions. Whether that is helping the poor, tutoring children, reading to our own kids, or whatever.
Kindness, again like so many attribute of the fruit of the spirit, comes out of love and it related to the other fruit. Without joy, we will not be able to show kindness because we will not be in the right state to do so. Without patience we will never be able to show kindness because sometimes we’re required to show kindness to those that are hard to love.
Show kindness from your heart, and show the love of God the Father to those who don’t know Him.
1 John 5:6-12 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Are you ever afraid to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone? Are you ever timid to tell what you’ve seen and heard concerning the Son of God? Don’t feel too bad, you’re not alone. But we’re all called to share the Good News. It’s our job to proclaim it to all the world. But there’s more good news, the results don’t all rest on us.
The thing about being fearful when it comes to witnessing is that most of the work is actually done by the Holy Spirit, not by us. There’s no reason to be shy about sharing when we realize that we’re just a vessel used by God to reach other people with His message. He works in the heart of the person who hears the gospel and He works in you and me when we’re telling them. The Spirit testifies and He does it in the hearer and through the teller. Does that make you feel more at ease?
When you submitted your life to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit made His home inside you and you are a walking, talking testimony for Jesus. The Spirit declares the Good News. We just need to be available to make it happen. There’s no need to be afraid. It’s not all up to us how things turn out. It’s just our job to speak up and let the world know that Jesus is the hope for all mankind.
Ephesians 5:17-18 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit
Wisdom comes with experience. We have to have lived a while and walked in certain circumstances to really gain wisdom. It doesn’t come free and it doesn’t come from an easy life lived in luxury.
Likewise, we can’t gain wisdom through means like getting drunk. While that may seem like a statement that goes without saying, it should be pointed out that lots of people think they’re pretty smart when they drink too much. It’s not the way to go to get anywhere that matters.
The way we should really look to get understanding is through seeking God’s will. If we allow Him to fill us with the Holy Spirit and to work in our lives, we are much better off than if we allow other things to fill us. The true path to enlightenment is through submission to God.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the spirit is…patience
Patience is never a subject that Christians want to hear a message about. We’ve all experienced praying for patience, only to have the worst day ever. This may be where the saying “Be careful what you wish for” came from. It seems that when we pray for patience, the Lord gives us some training.
But we should all strive to show patience, so that others may see that something different in us. We must be the ones in the frustrating situation who are keeping a cool head. This is an open door to witnessing to nonbelievers. When we keep our cool, even though everyone around us is losing theirs, people may ask us how it’s so. We must walk through that open door.
If we are to bear fruit as a witness to our Savior, we must have patience to deal with all things that come our way. If we do not have patience with nonbelievers, we will not show them love. If we do not have patience, we will not show kindness in a world that lacks it. Without patience, there is no self-control, and so on and so forth.
To bear any fruit of the spirit, we must exercise patience.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the spirit is…peace
Love…joy…and now peace. The fruit of the spirit begins with three very related attributes that a Christ follower should exemplify. Related because the first leads to the second, and the second leads to the third. Without love, we would have no joy; and with no joy, we could have no peace. This means that, indirectly and directly, we cannot have peace without love.
Peace is a byproduct. If one merely strives for peace, but does not achieve the other fruit of the Spirit, peace will not be reached. Much the same can be said for the remainder of the fruit. And it all starts with love.
Peace can be a very elusive thing in our time. With our world constantly growing more busy, one can barely find the time to think about peace, let alone obtain it. It doesn’t help that we’re told from every source around us that we should only look out for ourselves and our own pleasure. The lie of the world is that we will gain peace by seeking the things of this world and thinking only of selfish ambition. But peace will never be reached in this way.
True peace, the kind that Christ promises, cannot be caught by trying to catch peace. No, it is a byproduct of a Christ-centered attitude and heart. When we follow after the will of God, when we love others, when we help those in need, when we exemplify love and have joy, we will get peace. The peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7) will be ours if we seek the Lord first and foremost in our lives.
Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In Christ, the many promises of God to His people, the Jews, came to pass. He encompassed all that God had chosen to reveal to man. In the Holy Spirit then, all of the promises of Christ to His people, the Christians, were fulfilled. Jesus had told His followers to go and wait for Him after He had resurrected and reappeared to them. He promised if they waited they would receive power.
And so they waited. They hid, really. They were all together in one place on that day, the day of Pentecost. And when they received the Holy Spirit they all were given the power to speak in languages they didn’t know, for the purpose of evangelizing to others in his/her own tongue. Those who heard them were amazed that these uneducated men were able to speak many languages. Some scoffed, some mocked…but they listened.
As they listened, the previously timid disciples who were in hiding boldly came out among them and preached the gospel. Peter delivered a sermon that brought around 3,000 to Christ that day. It wasn’t a “here’s how to get a better life” sermon, or even a “Jesus loves you” speech. Peter simply pointed to the truth through events that had taken place and then let the conviction of the Holy Spirit do its work in the hearts of the people. They heard it and were “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). Then Peter gave them a chance to respond, which they did.
The work of the Holy Spirit in believers on Pentecost is the same power He employs today in us. Things may not always be so drastic as to see thousands of people saved in one moment, but His conviction in their hearts and His work in us to be bold in speaking the truth is still very real, just as it was for Peter and the eleven. He may not ever urge you to speak in tongues or to preach in front of a massive crowd, but He will empower you to do God’s will in whatever situation you do find yourself in.
To God be the glory.
Matt’s most recent devotion for the website Coping Through Christianity
Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God
What a precious gift salvation is from the Lord! Yet even in this wonderful news there is more. Not only has God saved us and freed us from sin, but He’s adopted us! He didn’t have to do that for His enemies, and yet He did.
But we all run the risk of falling into doubt, don’t we? We doubt His love for us, we doubt the forgiveness we’ve received, we doubt that we’re truly His. And it’s there that we see that the gifts just keep pouring in. He’s done all these things for us and still there’s more.
In those times of doubt we find that we have a Comforter. It’s the Holy Spirit who bears witness to our spirits that we are indeed children of God, adopted by the Father of Lights. Yes, He is our loving Daddy who would spare nothing for our sake. He never wants us to forget that or to lose sight of it. He keeps giving by reminding us through the Holy Spirit that we are His and He is ours. Great news.
Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
There are two types of people in this world. There are those who are led by the Holy Spirit and there are those who are lost. There are no other options. When left to our own wisdom to guide ourselves, we get nowhere. Only by the Holy Spirit can we talk in the way God has for us.
To some, this may seem a ridiculous notion, pointing to the achievements of secular mankind who has not consulted God or been Spirit-led in their discoveries throughout the ages. It is an interesting observation, however, those who think that mankind has the potential to know all there is to know, thus disproving the existence of God, are disregarding the fact that God created all there is to discover. The achievements of man are of no eternal consequence.
But those led by the Spirit are children of God, adopted into His family. We have been the recipients of the greatest gift of all time: God himself. There is nothing of greater eternal significance. It doesn’t matter what we accomplish in this temporary life in regards to greatness because true greatness is only found in one place. It is God’s to give.