I just finished up my 1st Bible Study at my new church. I love Bible Study! What can beat studying God's Word for yourself and then coming together with other sisters in Christ and sharing what the Lord has taught each of us. It's definitely life changing! Well, this study was probably the best one I've done. We studied Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself - "Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit". It was Very Bible-saturated, Very real, & Very convicting! I just wanted to share some key characteristics of each fruit of the Spirit.
* LOVE - "Agape (divine love) always flows from what is right and best. It is not as much a feeling as it is a response. It is not fueled by the desire of its recipient; it is fueled by the need" (p.59).
* JOY - "Defiant joy is a joy that defies circumstances. Few conditions are more unique to a believer's experience and peculiar to the world than a joy that defies our pain" (p.93).
* PEACE - "The key to being filled with the Holy Spirit so that God's peace may be released within is a mind focused on Him. The peace of God sustains abundant life" (p.112).
* PATIENCE - "The practice of patience helps complete something lacking in us." As we patiently wait for difficult circumstances or people to change, God is working His likeness in us. "Convenience never produces character" (p.134).
* KINDNESS - God is right there in your suffering, grief, & despair. "You are richly loved, do not give up. Once you've had a true glimpse of God's tender heart, you will begin to understand that if the Savior says "no" to your cry, it is because He's saying "yes" to eternal kingdom profit" (p.139 paraphrased).
* GOODNESS - "The most foundational truth about God is that He is good. What God does is good because of the good it does" (p.155). He calls us to do good and to serve others so that they can experience God's goodness through us.
* FAITHFULNESS - "Faithfulness is believing the reality of a sovereign God. God created us to bring Him pleasure. Our calling is to please Him--to wake up every morning saying, "Yes, Lord." then live through the day to discover His questions" (p.157, 162).
* GENTLENESS - "The Greek word for gentleness is praotes. It describes the complete surrender to God's will and way in your life. It basically means to stop fighting God" (p.178). It's about having a teachable, humble, and submissive attitude.
* SELF-CONTROL (Definitely the most challenging for me!) - "The key to self-control is the refusal to allow our enemies (the flesh, the world, or Satan) to rule or hold us captive in any way. Self-control is the decision to remain within the boundaries of victory! (p.201,202)
Only in Christ, are we able to live beyond ourselves by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.