Mentioning the fruits of the Spirit may bring to mind gluing word labels onto cutouts of apples and pears during Sunday school. While seniors may not have understood the words as children, the warm community around Bethesda Gardens lets them experience these fruits firsthand. For many, it's been a while since their first introduction to these nine virtues, so here is a refresher using verses from the NKJV Bible.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
Jesus demonstrated how we can put this virtue into practice each day when he washed the disciple's feet. Putting others first can be hard when we are tired or busy, but it lets us share His love with those around us.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. Psalm 5:11
Joy can be defined as an emotion caused by having what we desire. Though happiness is often fleeting, joy that comes from knowing God provides a lasting foundation of hope and comfort that enables us to truly live regardless of our circumstances.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11
Forgiveness can be difficult to grant and to receive, especially if the hurt has remained for many years. God calls us to forgive because we were forgiven. By obeying this command, we can experience healing and true peace.
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6
Patience takes a deliberate choice. Though its hard during frustrating moments, remembering God's patience towards us can help give us strength to show grace to others.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; Colossians 3:12
Kindness goes hand in hand with the other eight fruits. The simplest way to share kindness is to live by the golden rule and let God bless others through us.
O my soul, you have said to the LORD, "You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You." Psalm 16:2
Paul laments that doing the right thing is a constant struggle. He also points out that the way to winning this inward battle is through Jesus, who intercedes on our behalf and helps us in our weakness (Romans 7-8).
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; Luke 16:10a
Keeping our word and being consistent lets other know they can depend on us. This trust deepens our bonds with loved ones and adds weight to our words when we offer encouragement or share Christ.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Gentleness and humility help believers remain calm even in tense situations, which lets them use their words to promote peace and unity (Ephesians 4:2-3).
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32
Believers regularly wrestle with temptation, but the Bible promises that God always provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13) and that He rewards those who overcome (James 1:12).