• ‘But the fruit is love …’

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    BETTINA CARLOS

    This is the common answer I receive from spiritual mentors and disciplers when I ask them, how do I know if a believer is true? “It is by the fruit they bear.”

    I love learning and listening about the Holy Spirit and Fruit of the Spirit because I know that by cultivating [the tree]for it to bear fruit, I am able to plant the same seeds in my child so she too will bear the very seeds I planted. Because as most say, “the fruit does not fall far from the tree.” I pray to grow into a good tree that will bear good fruit.

    Bible-believing Christians need to intentionally discern between feelings and leadings of the Spirit because feelings is flesh and is thus “the world” and Spirit is from God.

    Galatians 5:16 instructs us, “We must walk by the Spirit so we will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

    We must be filled and controlled by the Spirit to live this life the way God designed it. As we walk with the Spirit and yield to it and deny the desires of our flesh, we start bearing fruit. We manifest them. It is seen in our lives in particular ways, such as in our manner and content of speech, our actions, as well as response (not reactions) to situations.

    I am blessed to receive help from my mentor, Pastor’s Wife Heunice Ongl define each fruit of the Spirit – just when I thought I already bear all except for one, I realized I still lacked most. The fruit we bear in our lives, our children see and copy. May they only emulate the good and right things they see in us.

    Love is a sacrifice of self. You have not loved until you have given up something without asking for anything in return. The Bible has reiterated the bearing of having love in all things and doing all things with love. Love being the reason (John 3:16). Love being the greatest commandment (Matt 22:38). Why do you think love is the first fruit if it is not the most important (1Cor 13:13)?

    Galatians 5:22-23 enumerates the fruit of the Spirit

    Joy is a sacrifice of praise. When everything is down but you choose to give your praise to God and worship Him that is joy for it is not determined by happenings (like happiness). You can have joy and peace in any circumstances because you know that God is with you (regardless whether you feel Him or not – Isaiah 14:10 and Matthew 28:20) and He is in full and perfect control, though you may not understand (Isaiah 55:8-9).

    Peace is a sacrifice of trust. You have a choice: to give in to your feelings or to trust God. You show trust in God through prayer. When you pray, you demonstrate your dependence on Him. It is through prayer that we lift up our concerns and worries to God and in return He gives us peace (Philippians 4:6-7). Praying is an expression of surrender – releasing your cares into the hands of God. And when you pray, you invite peace to come and rule your life.

    Patience is choosing to do nothing as a response to a stressful situation. It is the ability to quietly wait for a very long time. We ask and pray before taking any action. Our 911 must be prayer. The first thing we need to call in emergency situations is God, contrary to what others do when they make prayer their last resort. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3. Having problems? “Call God.”

    Kindness is choosing to plan to do something. Our actions must always be godly – loving and selfless. But it is not our nature because as humans, we are naturally selfish. To be kind is to choose to do good and show concern to others.

    Goodness chooses to do everything. A truly good person does everything to shower God’s blessings to other people. It is a pressing desire and burden to serve others. John Weasley put it best: “Do all the good you can by all the means you can in all the ways you can in all the places you can at all the times you can to all the people you can as long as ever you can.” Now tell me if you knew goodness.

    Faithfulness is choosing to do it. That which is right and just and best, no matter what, regardless of your mood and feelings. Faithfulness is when you choose to do good despite the difficulties. It is looking to God for strength to do what the flesh resists (like asking for forgiveness); as well as resisting what it desires (such as lust, anger and greed).

    Gentleness is choosing to take it. It is accepting what is hurled at you and responding in a meek, submissive manner as it is the only way God would have us respond. Gentleness is the strength of faith that enables one to endure unkind behavior of people – surrendering and releasing them into the hands of the Lord. Gentleness is also pertained as “quiet strength within” and described as “velvet-covered steel.” As women, let us bear 1Peter 3:3-4 in mind and always have and aim for a gentle and quiet spirit. PS: this is not in any way close to passivity.

    Self-control is choosing “not to do” when temptations surround us. It is refusal to succumb to the pressures of this world. It is resisting to give in to emotions because what is more important is how God will feel about our choices. We aim to please God and that involves controlling our selfish, sinful tendencies. Self-control is looking to God for strength and having the boldness and grace to say “no” to whatever we need to reject.

    When we walk in the Spirit we are choosing to submit to God’s sovereignty. It is allowing He who is in us to work on our character so we can live for Him and glorify Him through our lives. As parents, we want our children to live lives that not only we, but God will be proud of.

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