Galatians 5:22-23 (Post 3)

In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul lists the nine characteristics of a Christ Follower who is living in the Spirit. They are called fruit, and every believer should demonstrate each one in their life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Today we’ll look first at the third fruit of the Spirit – peace. This peace is peace with God, peace with people, and it is a positive peace, filled with blessing and goodness – not simply the absence of fighting. It is a higher peace which surpasses all understanding.

Barclay explains “The ancient Greek word used here for peace is eirene, and it means not just freedom from trouble but everything that makes for a man’s highest good. Here it means that tranquility of heart which derives from the all-pervading consciousness that our times are in the hands of God.” The early Christians really knew and loved the joy and the peace of the Spirit. Two very common Christian names in the early church were Chara (Cara) and Eirene (Irene). Peace is an attribute that many struggle to find today, and we won’t find it looking in ourselves or anyone else beside God.

The fourth fruit of the Spirit is patience or longsuffering. It means that one can have love, joy, and peace even over a period of time when people and events annoy them. God is not quickly irritated with us so we should not be quickly irritated with others. Luther explained “Longsuffering is that quality which enables a person to bear adversity, injury, reproach, and makes them patient to wait for the improvement of those who have done him wrong. When the devil finds that he cannot overcome certain persons by force he tries to overcome them in the long run… To withstand his continued assaults we must be longsuffering and patiently wait for the devil to get tired of his game.”

And then comes the fifth and sixth fruit of the Spirit – kindness and goodness. These two are closely connected. Kindness is selfless, compassionate and full of mercy. It is shown greatest when we practice loving our enemies. Closely related is goodness. In the Greek, the word goodness, “agathosune,” means “an uprightness of heart and life”. The key difference between kindness and goodness is that kindness mainly involves being generous and considerate, and helping others whereas goodness involves righteousness in action or doing what is right. These are two virtues that the Spirit should demonstrate in our life as we touch people in our patch.

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