But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
The King James says it this way:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance
I have my own interpretation of some of these words (without consultation of the Greek or any commentaries). Longsuffering is patience. I like faithfulness instead of faith. Faithfulness denotes reliability and dependability. And meekness? That’s humility.
Wouldn’t you like to hang out with somebody like that? I would. Wouldn’t you like to be somebody like that? I would.
We have developed a kind of shorthand for this list. Love, joy, and peace. Sounds good, Sounds right. Just kind of rolls off the tongue. But love, joy, and peace can’t stand on their own. As hard as we try they will just kind of evaporate unless we also have encouraged patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control.
I’ve been thinking about this list a lot lately. The more I think about it the more a run into it in other places.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
I Timothy 6:10-11
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
In this continuing nightmare of a political season (Is it ever not a political season anymore?) I have a hard time finding the fruit of the spirit. In Christians. In myself. At odd times I find myself caught up in anger and fear and doubt. Just listening to the rhetoric, the tossing about of accusations will get me off track.
I’ve been going through the epistles in my daily Bible reading lately and I am impressed with how often I find that theme, that theme of love and joy and peace, of patience and gentleness and kindness. The early Christians did not try to change the world through political influence. Their only concern was to stay as close to Jesus as they could, to follow His teachings, to try to live like He lived. They only wanted to see the change in their own lives and to allow the world to see that change. And in doing that they changed the world, didn’t they?