Wednesday, February 29, 2012

God’s Joy

I said earlier that growing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is about finding and putting on God’s attributes.

So what do we know about God’s joy?

God the Father takes joy in his creation.
“… and He saw that it was good.” etc.
Both Old Testament and New Testament are filled with God’s pleasure at his creation, and his love for us.

God the Son takes joy in his work in our salvation.
Jesus talks about this as being his purpose.  To come and seek and save the lost, and to give his life for is people.  This was not easy for him, but it was his joy.

God the Spirit … helps us find our joy.

  • And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit
    (Acts 13:52)
  • For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
    (Romans 14:17)
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    (Romans 15:13)
  • You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit
    (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

Joy is often connected to Holy Spirit in the Bible.  It seems that when we walk in His way, and trust in Him, his joy will find us.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Joy is…

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, …
(Galatians 5:22)

What is joy?

Is it more than just happiness? 

We are often told in the Bible to be joyful, or full of joy.  But what do we do when we are not happy all the time?

I think Joy is about being content, not being happy. 

Joy is finding God in every situation.

Joy is about faith… faith that God is with you.

What do you think Joy means?

Monday, February 27, 2012

How do we love?

So how do we show love for others if love is so important?

We all know John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  However I think we sometimes conveniently forget 1 John 3:16.  “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Love is by nature self-sacrificing.  Laying down your life is not about dying for someone else, it is about living for them.  Laying down your life means letting go of the throttle hold that we have on our own rights, our own interests, our own wants, and choosing to lay that down, and take up the interests of someone else.

It is not about thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.

If we love, then the other Fruit of the Spirit will come naturally.  If we don’t know how to love, then we need to focus on the other Fruit, and love will come naturally.

  • If we are kind, we show love.
  • If we are patient, we show love.
  • If we are good, we show love.
  • If we are gentle, we show our love.
  • If we are self-controlled, we can show love.

(You see where I am going with this?)

Love is not a feeling, it is an act of our will.  The only way to show love is to do something loving.


Sunday, February 26, 2012



No posts on a Sunday. 

Stop and listen to what God has to say to you from the week.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Growing Love

How do God and the Holy Spirit help us to grow fruit in our lives?  By putting us in situations where we are tempted to act in the opposite way.

So how does he grow love in our lives?  By putting unlovely people around us.  It is easy to love just those people who love you back, or to love only those people who are lovable. 

Loving a cute puppy is easy, but can you love an ugly stray?
Loving your family is easy, but can you love the person who annoys you most at work?
Loving orphans is easy, but can you love beggars on the street?

It is not always easy, but that is how we know it is of God.  That pain we feel is God stretching us, and teaching us to leave behind all unloving behaviour and attitudes.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8)

Who should you be loving today that you find hard to love? 
How should you be showing love today that will hurt or stretch you?

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Greatest of these is love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Why is love such a big deal?

Because love is what makes us who we are as Christians.  It is the reason the Christian church is called to reach out to a hurting community.  We were saved because God loved us, and we are called to show that love to others in return.

There are many secular organisations that are better equipped to feed the hungry, so why are we called to do it?  Because we are showing His love when we do it.

There are many people who will help others, but we do it because we are called to love them as well.

We are called to love, because we were first loved.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.
(Romans 13:8-10)

Our love is what sets us apart from the world, and what makes us more like God.  Because He is love, if we have love for each other, we show God’s love to those around us, and become it as well.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Love is…


Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

It does not say that God loves, or God is loving. It says that God IS LOVE.  It is his nature, one of his key attributes.

We spoke the other day about the Fruit of the Spirit being our attempt to take on the nature/attributes of God.  Well, this one seems to be the biggie.


If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7)


I read somewhere that a useful (and scary) test is to try and replace the word “love” with your own name, and see how you make out.

  • Sharkbait is patient.
  • Sharkbait is kind.
  • Sharkbait does not envy.
  • Sharkbait does not boast.
  • Sharkbait is proud.
  • Sharkbait is not rude.
  • Sharkbait is not self-seeking.
  • Sharkbait is not easily angered.
  • Sharkbait does not keep a record of wrongs.
  • Sharkbait does not delight in evil.
  • Sharkbait rejoices in the truth.
  • Sharkbait always protects.
  • Sharkbait always trusts.
  • Sharkbait always hopes.
  • Sharkbait perseveres.


So, how well did you do?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit

Lent is not about giving things up, or taking on extra work for yourself.  Lent is about drawing closer to God.  It is about learning to live by the Spirit, and keeping in step with the Spirit.

So this year, for Lent, I thought I would focus on a famous passage of scripture: The Fruit of the Spirit.


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 
(Galatians 5:22-25)


We are told in scripture to be Holy, and to be perfect.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
( 1 Peter 1:14-16)


We can not do this in our own strength.  So I think of the Fruit of the Spirit as being God’s attributes, that we can see in our own lives.  In essence growing the Fruit is done by putting on God’s love; God’s peace; God’s faithfulness and so on.  It is about learning to become more like Him. It can only be done by the Holy Spirit, and through the Holy Spirit.

Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at what each of these Fruit mean, and how to show it in our lives.