Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 3): Peace

Hello, friend! Welcome to my blog. I hope you’re doing well! Today I’ll be continuing in the Fruit of the Spirit series, and this time we’re talking about peace.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 (bold added)

What does peace mean exactly?

It means freedom from sadness, a calm state. To help you understand how we receive that from God, I’d like to tell you about a man who found peace in his life because of Him.

Prisoner Turned To Peace

Louis Zamperini was a Prisoner of War (POW) during World War 2 after his plane crashed into the ocean and he was captured by the Japanese. For years he suffered in camps run by the Japanese, struggling with hard work, little food, and constant tormenting from the soldiers and officials.

He survived the POW camps and returned to the United States. However, he was still haunted by his experiences at the camp. He had trouble sleeping at night without nightmares and turned to alcohol to help push them away.

His wife, Cynthia, got to the point of demanding a divorce when he couldn’t seem to stop his nightmares and problems.

Then, one night, Cynthia came home from an event she had gone to with a friend and told Zamperini she no longer wanted a divorce. He was shocked and confused, what had happened?

Cynthia had been to a Billy Graham Crusade and had decided to forgive Zamperini, and she soon prodded him to come to one of the Crusades as well. He was reluctant, and the first time he went, he left before it ended. The second time he went, however, everything changed.

That night after the Crusade, Zamperini accepted Jesus into his life. He went home and poured out all of his alcohol and went to bed. For the first time in years, he slept without nightmares. He was no longer tormented by memories of cruel soldiers. He knew Jesus had forgiven him and he could live as a changed man.

Zamperini went on to preach to the Japanese, several of them were soldiers who had hurt him when he was a prisoner, and he forgave them. Zamperini found peace because he heard of what Jesus did on the cross.

Peace In Other Things

We don’t have to have been through a series of traumatic events like Zamperini was to experience peace. Just knowing the Gospel can give us peace.

Paul lists out the armor of God in Ephesians 6. In those verses, He says that,

And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

Ephesians 6:15

Wynter Pitts has some more great words in her book, God’s Girl Says Yes,

It doesn’t matter how big or small your problem is. When you feel yourself starting to worry about something, pray and ask God to help you experience His peace.

Wynter Pitts, God’s Girl Says Yes

In Philippians Paul also says,

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:5-7

Since Jesus was the Ultimate Sacrifice and paid for our sins, we can be with God. And because we know this, we can have peace and trust Him with anything and everything.

The Song 

Here’s a song that relates to our topic today. 

Fear No More – Building 429

The Challenge

Our challenge in response to this is to cast all our worries, anxieties, and fears on Him whenever we need to. This probably sounds a lot like last week’s challenge, but that’s okay! I struggle with praying consistently so having another prayer challenge won’t hurt.

Here are some prayer poins:

  1. Thank Jesus for what He did and how we can have peace in Him.
  2. Pray about your worries and fears.
  3. Finally, close with thanking Him for what you and your family have been blessed with.

Short Announcement

Before I end this post, I wanted to let you guys know that I will be taking a short break from posting from this point until mid-September. However, there will be a new podcast episode on James coming out for Sisters In Christ soon!

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading today’s article about peace! I hope you enjoyed and were encouraged. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my email list to receive three exclusive articles, notifications when I post on the blog, and my monthly newsletter!

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Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 2): Joy

Hello, friend! Welcome to my blog. I hope you’re doing well! Today we’ll be continuing our series called the Fruit of the Spirit. Last week, we talked about love. This week, we’ll be talking about joy. Let’s get into it!

Happiness vs. Joy

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 (Bold added)

When you read this verse, what do you think it means when it lists joy as one of the fruits of the Spirit? Does it mean we need to be happy all the time?

Yes, but not in the way you think. Joy is more permanent than happiness, but it’s not finding joy in worldly things. I can be happy about that chocolate cupcake; I can be happy about the vacation I’m going to take; I can be happy when I talk to my friends. But the joy talked about here goes so much farther than that. 

Wynter Pitts puts it well in her book, God’s Girl Says Yes:

The circumstances of our lives will change all the time, but we can have joy in our hearts because God never changes.

Wynter Pitts, God’s Girl Says Yes

The joy we receive from God is so much better than a funny conversation with our friends or an enjoyable vacation. It’s permanent, eternal, and everlasting. When we love God and seek a relationship with Him, our hearts can overflow with joy.

Happiness can end in an instant. I could drop my cupcake; the vacation could end; my friends may decide they don’t want to be my friends anymore. But that joy in God? That will always be there.

Joy In Suffering

That joy can even carry into hard times. Several writers of the New Testament even say to rejoice in suffering. 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved with various trials.

1 Peter 1:6

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

Romans 5:3-4

When the world leaves us in the dust, Jesus is always by our side. He’s there, and He loves us. We can plead, cry, praise, and thank Him. Whatever the circumstance, He’ll always be there.

And because of what He did for us on the cross. Living, dying and rising again so that we could be with Him, He is our eternal joy.

So we can joyfully say with Paul:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

Philippians 4:4

The Challenge

I challenge you, this week, especially to dive into prayer in finding that joy (again, like last time, I will be trying to do it as well!). Try wrapping these things into your prayer(s):

  1. Thank Jesus for what He did for us.
  2. Ask for joy in God and your relationship with Him.
  3. Ask for your joy to overflow in everyday life.

Try to pray every day, but don’t just say it, commit to it. Write it on a notecard and stick it somewhere you’ll see it during the day. I wouldn’t recommend phone notifications because those rarely work for me. I see the notification and then slide it off my screen and it’s gone! But if you work well with phone notifications, go for it.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading today’s article about joy! I hope it was helpful and encouraging for you. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my email list for notifications when I post, three exclusive articles, and my monthly newsletter.

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Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 1): Love

Hello, friend! Welcome to my blog. I hope you’re doing well. Today we are beginning a new series on the blog called the Fruit of the Spirit! In each post, we’ll talk about one or two of the fruits mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 and have a challenge to apply them during the week! To start it off, we are discussing love.

I’d also like to note here there are so many more aspects of love that I can only scrape the surface in this article. However, I hope this article still gives you a general understanding of what godly love really looks like.

Why Love Should Be First

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 (bold added)

I like Paul’s placement of ‘love’ here. It’s right in the front, as it should be. Love is probably the most important fruit to have. Why is love the most important? Because Jesus said it himself!

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:37-40

All of the law comes after these two commandments, and they both include love. Loving God and then loving others will help us live the rest of the law as well. For example, God tells us not to steal. If we love someone, are we going to steal from them? I hope not.

Often people, both Christians and non-Christians, can agree that we should love others, but Christian love is different than worldly love. Natasha Crain points this out in chapter 10 of her book, Talking With Your Kids About Jesus:

Christians strive to love others given God’s standards. The secular world strives to love others given self-defined standards.

Natasha Crain, Talking With Your Kids About Jesus

What are God’s standards? We’ll talk about that next.

The Standard For Love

Jesus speaks about love in Luke 6:27-36, read those verses by clicking here and then come back to this article. 

Here are a few things Jesus said about the people you should love:

  1. They’re enemies
  2. They hate you
  3. They abuse you
  4. They strike you
  5. They take away from you

This is a very high request, but such a good one. In the rest of the passage, Jesus talks about how it’s more beneficial to love those who hurt you. If you love someone who’s nice to you, nothing changes except for having a comfortable relationship. If you love someone who hurts you, you can show them what it means to really love, convict them, and bring them to Christ. In Romans 12, it says:

To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Romans 12:20

Nevertheless, loving those who hurt us is hard, and it’s going to take some time and patience for us to get it right. Only God can change our hearts to love, and we have to ask for His help when we feel like we can’t.

Love Leads To The Other Fruits

Another beautiful passage about love is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Paul says,

Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

We already touched on this when we talked about Jesus and the greatest commandments. However, these verses hone love in on the other fruits of the Spirit as well. We automatically can identify patience and kindness (verse 4), peace in not being resentful (verse 5), and joy and faithfulness (verse 6).

Love is so important for us to grow in our faith; Jesus is a perfect example of love. God loved us so much that He sent His one and only son to die for us so that we could be with Him. Not only that, but we were God’s enemies. We were dirty, evil, unloving sinners that didn’t deserve a thing. But God said, “I’m going to love you anyway, and I’m going to save you because I love you so much.” 

He did save us, and He had to make a huge sacrifice to do so. But, thank the Lord, He is risen and if we believe we are saved!

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

That doesn’t mean we aren’t still sinners and that we won’t ever sin again, but because of God’s love for us, we should try to be imitators of Christ. We should be trying to walk in love as Jesus did. We can try to follow all of the other commandments and produce other fruits, but if there isn’t love, it’s nothing.

It’s only when you choose to surrender to Jesus and let His love for you spark a love for Him that a desire to serve God and live for Him will matter.

Sara Barratt, Love Riot

Paul says it himself earlier in 1 Corinthians 13:

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:3

It is only with love that you can continue this series with me. It is only with love that these other fruits will mean anything to you. And I know, there will be days when love is hard. Love for God will be hard, love for others will be harder, but we can make it through this. We can love.

The Challenge

So, how do we apply this new knowledge about love? 

  1. Ask

Ask God for both a stronger love for Him and what He did for us and for a better love for others. Pray to Him, get down on your knees and beg if you have to. Just ask.

  1. Analyze

I challenge you this week, after you ask God for love, to read the book of 1 John. I will be doing it as well, since I also need to work on my love. It’s a short letter from John, the disciple of Jesus, and it has 5 chapters. Not every one of those chapters will be about love, but all of it is helpful. You can split it up in the days of the week or you can read it in bigger chunks. Do it at your own pace. If you don’t have a Bible, you can read chapter 1 here.

After you read, don’t just close your Bible and forget about it. Ask questions like, “What does this tell me about God? How can I apply this in my life?”

  1. Act

This is the hardest part, and even as I’m writing this I know it’s going to be a challenge for me as well. However, we need to do it. We (and especially I) can’t speak the word but not do it. So here it is. Two different ways you can act in love this week.

  • A. This week, when you pray for love, also pray for those who have hurt you. Who has been mean to you? Who treated you unfairly or tore you down? Pray for them. 
  • B. With people closer to you, send some messages. Text that friend who you haven’t talked to in a while and tell them how much you appreciate them and would love to talk with them. Send something to a family member and thank them for their love and care. In daily life, be patient and humble, not insisting on your own way.

Think of it as Valentine’s day in July, except it extends for a week (and hopefully for longer than a week) and instead of expecting things from others, we will be giving to others and expecting nothing in return. It’s going to be hard, but it’s also worth it. I know that, especially with my siblings, it’s hard to be loving and kind all the time. But if we have God’s help, we can do it.

Finally, here’s a song that reminds us of the importance of love:

“The Proof of Your Love” – For King & Country

Final Thoughts

Thank you for joining me today for the beginning of this series, the Fruit of the Spirit! I hope you enjoyed and will try out my challenges with me this week. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my email list to receive three exclusive articles, notifications when I post, and my monthly newsletter that will be going out next Friday!

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Have a blessed day,

~Caroline