“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
As followers of Jesus, we’ve all had the feeling of grasping for one of these fruits of the Spirit while wondering if we had a single one to give. A reader once wrote to me, “I think I have plenty of each of the fruits when I don’t need them. It’s when I’m in a trying situation that I discover the fruit I need is the one I’m short of.” I’ve always loved this woman for her honesty because we can all relate to her sentiment. I have patience in droves when everything is going my way. I’m the kindest person I know when people are treating me well. I’ve got humility for days when no one is challenging my pride. You see where I’m headed here…fruits are not fruits until they’re tested.
Which leads us to another challenge: What do we do when we’re trying to heed Paul’s advice to wear these fruits, yet we have very little compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, or patience growing in our hearts? Not to mention, when we study these fruits we realize that each has a powerful meaning, and Jesus embodied all of them (perhaps another post for another day). In other words, when Paul asks us to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, he’s asking something extraordinary of us. This way of living and being around others isn’t something we can simply will ourselves into. I tried to do this for the longest time until Paul’s opening line grabbed my attention: “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved…”“When I truly believe I’m significant to my Savior, the fruits flow more freely from within me.”Click To Tweet
For most of my life, I’d inadvertently leaped straight over these doctrinal principles, not realizing that these truths are the very basis for being able to love one another with the fruits of Jesus. And oh the difference this has made.
TO BE CHOSEN
The Greek word for chosen is eklektos. It means picked out, chosen to obtain salvation through Christ. When we sit in the reality and mystery that God chose us before the foundations of the world to be His adopted son or daughter (Ephesians 1:4-5), our heart can’t help but soften and enlarge. When I truly believe I’m significant to my Savior, the fruits flow more freely from within me.
TO BE SET APART
In addition to being chosen, we’ve been made holy. The Greek word here is hagios, and it means to be set apart for God, to be exclusively His. The word can also mean sacred, unlike or otherness, different. When we’re grounded and settled in the reality that we’ve been set apart for special and sacred purposes within God’s Kingdom, the fruits come more naturally. When we’re secure in our calling, the posture of humility and the ability to cheer for others will flow more freely.
TO BE DEARLY LOVED
Some Bible versions say beloved instead of dearly loved. Both express the deep and beautiful meaning of the Greek word agapao, which is an active love. It means “to be fond of,” “dear,” “precious,” and “costly.” Growing up I sometimes felt more tolerated by God than I did precious to Him. As though I’d barely made the cut as His child. But Paul boldly declared that we are His beloved in Jesus Christ. We won’t be able to effectively embody the fruits of Jesus without first knowing how dearly He loves us.
Simply put, we often try to live the fruits of the Spirit in hopes of being chosen by God, loved by Him, and set apart by Him, when in reality it’s the other way around. Because we are chosen, made holy, and set apart, we are now able to bear the fruit as Jesus has taken up residence in our hearts. While sanctification plays a part in fruitful living, and sanctification takes time, the fruits of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience are always accessible to you, because Jesus is the embodiment of them all. And He loves you dearly.
Would you like an excerpt of Kelly’s Finding God Faithful Bible Study?
Click HERE to sign up and it will be delivered straight to your inbox.
This post originally appeared on lifewayvoices.com
When you don't make the list—whatever "the list" is—it can be hard on your heart. The bittersweet result of not being picked, while painful, can also reveal hidden pride or an oversight of contentment that comes from doing what the Lord has called you too. The people...
When stepping out in faith, I’m the person who’s looking for the open door. I want the specific answer, the “thus sayeth the Lord” moment, the talking donkey. I want to know my step of faith is grounded in the Lord’s direction. The “open door” tends to be one of the things I look for. But is that always the right criteria?
Not only is Jesus the Source of our faith, but He’s also the Perfecter of it. Maybe it’s just where I’m at in life right now—a little low, a bit tired, disappointed in some areas, hurt in others—that makes me want to shout from my couch “praise Him!” I’m relieved to know that the perfection of my faith doesn’t rest with me but with Him.
Right now, you may need an intercessor to go between you and your parents, your boss, your spouse, your professor, the judge, the president. But you also need an intercessor all the way to the very top—all the way to God. There’s simply no intercessor more important in heaven or on earth than the One who can stand on your behalf before God. The author of Hebrews tells us that His name is Jesus.
Shame is nothing new, but in recent years it’s stolen the spotlight. Shame is everywhere you turn. We carry around shame because we don’t feel like we measure up, because of past abuse, wounding words spoken over us, rejection from someone we loved or looked up to. We also bear it as a result of our own doing—the actions we’ve taken, or didn’t take, that have caused us shame are more than we can bear.
Every week leading up to Easter, I'm sending out devotions on the Person of Jesus. If you'd like to receive the rest of these devotions in your inbox, you can sign up here. Key Verses Hebrews 2:10-18 “For in bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was entirely...
A couple of years ago, I did the Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory. I drank only water and ate essentially lettuce and rice for 30 days. (I checked the rules and coffee didn’t count as water, so I almost died.) During that fast, I needed some direction and had pressing aches in my life that I wanted the Lord to address and fix. But during that time, I sensed Jesus saying, “Don’t seek the fix; seek My face.”
I had just woken up when the following alert came across my phone: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” It’s amazing what mental gymnastics one goes through when a message like this comes through. I processed the...
Happy New Year, friends. If you’re anything like me, every last Christmas tree needle has been swept from the house, the gnarls of Christmas lights are tucked away in boxes, and you just found a stray ornament that didn’t make it into those boxes—one that will...
It’s funny how a single word in Scripture can tip the scales with the weight of a boulder, even a word as seemingly insignificant as a pronoun. Especially when you need it. The other morning I came across a familiar plea of the Psalmist’s, “Lead me in your...