Dear John and Doves,Thank you John for your steadfast faithfulness to the call the Lord has given you. We will all cheer when you receive your reward!
In these disturbing days of waiting and watching, it gave me perspective to do an article I was asked to write. It allowed me to see the larger picture of what the Spirit is producing in us as He works out His fragrance in our struggles. I was deeply blessed to let the familiar words sink in as if they were heard for the first time. I pray this might encourage you.
The Spirit’s Fragrant Fruit
The Spirit’s fruit doesn’t strive to be fragrant, it just is. The life given up to the Spirit doesn’t struggle to produce fruit, but its fruit will become evident in the midst of life’s struggle. Like spring’s fragrant flower, the fruit of the Spirit appeals without effort, even though its bulb is born out of winter’s weariness.
Miles Stanford pointed out that to more deeply understand the Christian life we need not find profound new truths. We need to experience its simple truths more profoundly. So we seek to understand the simple truths of the fruit of the Spirit afresh. When Paul distinguished the life in sync with the Spirit from the struggles of self motivation, he described its qualities in penetrating terms. To experience that impact, the Spirit may need to remove the lacquered layers of familiarity in the words describing His work. May He restore and reveal His original intent as we explore His fruit described by Paul in Gal. 5:22-23: But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control (NLT).
God used a language with many faceted words to describe the work of His Spirit. Look up the references given to explore these words for yourself and discover their richness. Love: Agape is God’s essence pumped through our hearts as we co-operate with the Spirit
Rom.5:5, I John 4:16). It is especially effective in the cardio-vascular exercise of rejoicing in our sufferings. The strengthen! ing effect of that effort is a hope that does not disappoint. Joy: Our balloon like capacity for joy is increased by sorrow’s air, Vine’s Expository Dictionary tells us. Jesus held joy’s promise in His grasp while enduring the cross. Hebrews points out that He endured the indescribable because of the joy set before Him (Heb.12:2). Peace: Based on a word which means to bind, it is the resultant tranquility of mind found in accepting the merger made at the cross. Here “merger” is used in the legal sense of being absorbed as a lesser ! estate into a larger one. Patience: Here we see the shock absorbing effect of the Spirit that insulates us against the potholes of life. It is stability in sometimes dysfunctional settings that target you. It allows you to process from resentment or anger to peace without revenge. Kindness: A Spirit activated tender heart desires to meet others’ God given wants and needs in great gentleness. Built into the word is the joyous attraction others feel towards its giver. Goodness: This quality is the marching cadence of the one who walks in light. Its goal is truth, integrity and right standing with God on every avenue of this battlefield (See Eph. 5:9, II Thes. 1:11 and Rom. 15:14). Faithfulness: Here is the jeweled product of the Spirit in the persevering Bride. It is not the faith that she exercises but the end result produced in her by the Spirit. It is used by Paul in this sense in one other epistle in II Thes. 1:4. Gentleness: Linked to wisdom in James 3:17, this quality negates any harshness in our treatment of others whether they are deemed incompetent, irresponsible or simply in house. It is a requirement of leaders (IITim.2:24-26). Self-control: Because this work of the Spirit accomplishes what we often fail to achieve, it is both freeing and challenging. The co-operative Spirit empowered alliance needed here provides a protective barrier keeping out the assaults of the enemy (Prov.25:28). I Cor.9:25 uses the word to describe the athlete’s power over his own impulses and desires during training. . You can learn even more about these words with the help ! of resource books such as Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament.
This list of Spirit produced qualities emerges as a treasured dowry for the Bridegroom in the Bride. As the Bride has been brought through this embattled land, not only has she been soothed from her journey’s weariness by the fruit of the Spirit, she has also been prepared for her wedding day. She has been made beautiful in the process. She has not gained her beauty from theological renderings but from the Spirit’s work in response to her intense longing for her Beloved. She is now radiantly adorned by the fruits of the Spirit as a Bride without spot or wrinkle (Eph.5:27, Rev.21:2). Strengthened through her dependence, as the approaching Bride, she now joyously anticipates her full participation in the royal design.
What about you? Do you want the Bridegroom to rejoice in you as His beautiful fragrant Bride? There are steps you can take to yield more effectively to the Spirit’s work in you. Give up your effort to be humanly approved, in place rejoice in your eternal approval in the Beloved. Surrender the right to be right today in exchange for your approaching rule in the King’s land. Let this battle of affliction do its strange work on our character until the Beloved sees Himself reflected. Accept gratefully from the King’s heart prayer planted gifts of goodness and intervention. Know that we can trus! t Him wholly. Know that the events in the journey that strike at our peace are no surprise to Him. He knows what He will do about them. He has planned a hope and a future for you as His surrendered Bride (Jer.29:11). To that end, He awaits you with great anticipation as the fragrance produced by His Spirit in you announces your arrival.