Two great lessons yesterday: Fruits of the Holy Spirit & Why We Worship (Click to listen).
The fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25
) are a result of living a Spirit-filled life. If we look at the example of a fruit tree, we can easily tell what type of tree it is by the fruit it produces. The is true for us as Christians as well. We are known by our fruit, Jesus says (Matthew 7:15-20).
We discussed the first 3 Fruits of the Spirit, this week. Love, Joy, and Peace. Wow – what a list, just right there! Couldn’t we all use more of this fruit in our lives?
One of the many things I’ve learned in my “Upper Room” Bible Study class is that the way we define words is key to our understanding and application. <I’ll blog about this in the future>
Often our culture and life experiences define words for us. This can skew how we look at Scripture or apply it to our lives.
Love is a great example. Stop for a second and think about what pops in your head when you hear the word ‘love’.
Maybe a spouse, or a child. A feeling, a longing. Or maybe passion or a great love story comes to mind.
But its so much more than that, right? But hard to put your finger on, exactly. Well in our class we came up with this list:
– nurturing and protection
We also talked about what love is NOT – and how its often misused and twisted. It’s not just an emotional high, or a desperate longing (lust), or really extra liking something.
We then discussed if we are showing the unconditional fruit of love in our lives.
This can be a tough one… and a good example of this was brought up in that we are called to love our enemies (can you name a few?).
Some other good points to ponder from class:
– Put your name in 1 Corinthians 13, do we live up to this being true? (i.e. Crystal is patient, Crystal is kind…)
– We will always be in a constant battle as our flesh struggles with the good the Holy Spirit is doing in us
– Joy: doesn’t mean happy, but it is a condition of being. It is rooted in the ability to look ahead to the eternal and not the present circumstances. It’s origin is in the Godhead, and a relationship with God is essential as it is found in being a recipient of grace (Greek word for joy is chari (spelling?) which is a description and reference to God’s grace.)
– Peace: quiet, stillness, trust. Comes out of resting in a relationship with God. There is chaos happening all around us, which is the opposite of peace. As Christians, we have to trust in the ability of God to bring about order in our lives when all we can see is chaos (Colossians 1:15-17
– Shalom: has a deeper root than just peace. It means may God be with you, and may nothing be missing and nothing broken. We need to realize that our perspective may be that things are missing and things are broken, but in God’s perspective we have all that we need and we can rest in this peace. (wowzer is this one a challenge!!!)
“Strong’s Concordance defines it’s meaning as ‘completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord
‘”- Jeff’s Jottings
LOTS of good things to ponder from class – I could write at least 5 more blog posts just from this one lesson. And I might do so at some point in the future. But – the one topic that kept coming up OVER and OVER in our class and in Pastor Jeff’s sermon:
Where is our focus?
Is it on our present day situations? On a task we need to complete? On something in our past? Future?
Maybe its on our job, or our finances, a loved one, or even on working on Church stuff.
I have to be honest with you. Yesterday, I was struggling to focus on what I hearing in class and in the sermon. My mind was going crazy! If it wasn’t for the fact that I made a commitment to write this post today, I don’t think I would have taken the time or mental energy it took, to write down the notes I needed to write this post!
See, I was helping coordinate 2 events right after church – and one was REALLY up in the air! (Let’s just say I’m not sure I ever want to try to get the guest of honor to a surprise party again – wow can that be tough!!!!)
Over and over again though the point that kept coming up was how important keeping our eyes focused on our relationship with God is to everything in life.
If we want love – we’ve got to focus on the real meaning of love – and that is only found in Jesus. (1 John 4:8)
If we want joy – our focus has to be to be on eternity and the grace we’ve been given through Christ death on the cross.
If we want peace
– we have to focus our eyes beyond the chaos
that surrounds us to the One who is able to calm the storm
, and who has promised to always be with us
, trusting that good will come from the chaos surrounding us
Pastor Jeff’s sermon was about the results of our focus being in the right place: Worship.
It’s not just about showing up Sunday morning, singing a few songs and listening to a message and then going on our way.
Worship is about celebrating all the things God has done for us! Celebrating his love for us, the grace He’s given, and the chaos He is going to bring us out of!!!
But do we live there? Is our focus on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who are seeking to live out a relationship with us?
Or is our focus on our jobs? Money? Family? The news? Politics? Health concerns? Our house or car?
So many things can and ARE stealing our focus off the ONE thing we should be focusing on.
Because of God we can rest in the assurance of Shalom: that God is with us (Matthew 1:22-23), and that nothing is missing or broken in our lives that God hasn’t intended to use for our good is some way (Romans 8:28).
We may not see it, and we may not like it, but God’s promises are true, so we can rest in it.
And when we allow ourselves to focus on Shalom – then we can truly worship and celebrate all that God has done for us!
So that’s the wisdom I gleaned from reflecting on yesterday’s messages. It honestly does take some time to rewind Sunday and process it all! But I’m glad I did – because in the very midst of the chaos I’m sitting in I need to focus on Shalom!
Shalom to you! May God be with you, and may nothing be missing, and nothing broken!
Did God give you some wisdom in your own Sunday Rewind? I’d love for you to share!