In our discussion of the manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit, we have come to kindness. This word could hold two possible meanings: fraternal affection or tender concern. The difference between the word meanings are subtle, yet present. In fraternal concern, we feel a desire of well-being towards our friends and loved ones that surpasses the love we would feel toward a stranger.
We come now to the fourth manifestation of fruit of the spirit, and that of patience. I can say without a doubt this is a manifestation that is really missing from our current culture. Even the worst of parents can muster some love for their children and the most difficult person can see some joy in simple things of life, but our culture has long been moving toward lack of patience, mostly brought on by modern convenience.
Last week we looked at the manifestation of joy in our life with Christ. That joy, stemming from the love of Christ, will thus lead us to peace. This manifestation melts away the worries of life and leads us to be calm in Christ. Examine the advise Jesus gives us in the Sermon on the Mount:
Joy. This is a misunderstood principle in our modern culture. It is not happiness, but instead a deep rooted sense that is independent of life circumstances and fully dependent on our knowledge of God's truth that we are not in control of anything in our world, yet we know that our God, a good God, is in full control. Joy comes from knowing deep down that whatever circumstances the world wants to throw at us, we are able to stand in understanding that all will be made right in the end by a just God.
When I was a young man and not devoted to God, I had an intense hatred for all the world. I did not merely dislike the world, nor was I passively disinterested. Hate is a strong feeling, but it is the word that best describes my attitude toward people that I was forced to see in my daily living. The hurt that I experienced growing up finally manifested itself as general despise for anyone around me. All this changed when Jesus Christ saved my soul, and deep within my heart a seed germinated and that seed was the fruit of the spirit.
Our world is one of choices. We choose our education, occupation, and even those people that we follow as we live our life in the world. We can decide many aspects of our life as long as we are focused on the God who saved the world. We need not be missionaries as long as we confess Jesus before men in our daily lives. But as we make our choices we must consider who we learn from in our spiritual matters. Jesus talked about judging the fruit of spiritual teachers.