Clothe Ourselves with Virtue

<strong>Clothe Ourselves with Virtue</strong>

How can we clothe ourselves with virtue?  For that matter, how can we “put on love” as instructed in Colossians 3:14?  And note that Romans 13:14 tells us that we have “put on Christ,” as does Galatians 3:27.

And what virtues are we encouraged by God’s Word to put on?

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  (Col 3:12 NIV)

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  (Col 3:14-15 NIV)

Your love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to each other with mutual affection. Excel at showing respect for each other.  (Rom 12:9-10 ISV)

. . . with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love . . .  (Eph 4:2 NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (Gal 5:22-23 NASB)

Wow!  This is an impressive list of virtues and good traits to pursue and to practice.

In the natural realm, when we want to be clothed, it is a conscious act of the will.  Our clothes don’t fly through the air and attach themselves to us, right?  We have to physically maneuver ourselves into the clothes, and then button or snap or zip them into place.  And we have to choose exactly what items we want to wear each and every day.

As believers and followers of Jesus, we must be just as deliberate about what virtues we choose to use in every circumstance and situation in our lives.  We must decide to be peacemakers, just as we must choose to be kind, humble, gentle, patient, peace-loving, joyful, faithful, and self-controlled. 

As we make the decision each new day to follow Jesus, we must make the decision in every circumstance and life situation about how to react to our current challenges or trials. 

In answer to our prayers to Him, the Lord will give us the grace and power that we need to weave these virtues into our lives.  The Holy Spirit will guide us if we yield to Him in humility and obedience. 

The Holy Spirit is the only One who can teach us and transform us into the image of Christ.  And best of all, He can be trusted to guide us lovingly and faithfully.  Hallelujah!

God’s Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

God’s Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

When we understand and comprehend God’s perfect love for us, it drives out all fear.  Let’s see what the Bible has to teach us.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  (1 Joh 4:18 NIV) 

The perfect love that we receive from God is unending, unfailing, and persevering.  Glory to God!

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Tim 1:7 NKJV)

The spirit of fear is not from God but comes from not being able to trust God completely and comprehensively.  God has given us the Holy Spirit as well as the fruit of the spirit which includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  (see Gal 5:22-23)  The Holy Spirit is the spirit of power.  (See Acts 1:8)

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  (Rom 8:15 NIV)

The spirit whom we received when we accepted Christ as our Savior is the Holy Spirit.  (See Acts 2:38; Eph 1:13; Rom 8:16)  Once we accepted Christ as our Savior, we became children of God.

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  (1 Joh 4:12 NIV)

The Bible verse above reminds us that no one has ever seen God in His complete, divine revelation.  Even Moses only saw the back of the Lord in Exodus 33:18-23.  However, as we believers imitate the love of God for mankind, we demonstrate God’s love to humanity. 

The perfect love of God—which has forgiven and cleansed us of all of our sins—drives out fear.  It drives out the fear of eternal punishment, as well as the fear of what other people think of us.  It drives out the fear of the unknown because we know that God holds us in the palm of His hand and has provided all that we need for life and godliness.  (2 Pet 1:3) As we believers experience God’s love inside of us, it empowers us to live for Him and to love others.  As we mature and grow in grace and walking in the love of God, we model the love, forgiveness, and mercy of God toward all with whom we interact.  Praise God!

Self-Control Is Ours: Use It

Self-Control Is Ours: Use It

The dictionary definition of self-control is ‘the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.’    Another explanation of self-control is ‘restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.’

The Word of God talks about self-control and how important it is in the life of a believer.

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.  (Pro 16:32 NIV)  The Bible says that a person with self-control is better that a person who conquers a city!  Wow!

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.  (Pro 25:28 NIV)  The Scriptures compare a person without self-control to an unprotected and broken-down city.  This is a small insight into how critical our need is for self-control.  We leave our souls unprotected and open to assault and harm without self-control.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  (Gal 5:22-23 NKJV)  This is a list of the fruit of the Spirit available to all who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Self-control is one of the gifts provided to us by the Holy Spirit.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness . . . (2 Pet 1:5-6 NKJV)  This passage of the Bible teaches us how to diligently build upon our faith in Jesus Christ, which is the foundation for our lives.  There’s an order and a method to the process which the Lord wants us to know.  Each and every part of this process is important and very necessary to our spiritual lives.

One of the greatest points to remember about the gift of self-control is that its ultimate goal is to choose Christ over everything else!  Hallelujah!

Self-Control

Self-Control

Welcome!  The fruit of the Spirit includes self-control.  (Galatians 5:22-24 NIV)  Isn’t that wonderful?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24 NKJV)

When we accepted Christ as Savior, the Spirit of God made His home in our hearts.  The Holy Spirit is the One who enables us to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Our responsibility is to yield to the Spirit of God and to actually manifest this fruit!  It is quite exhilarating to do.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”  (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)  Consider the ways that you exercise the spiritual fruit of self-control.  Then praise the Lord for them!

Note:  This is a reprint of our blog article dated 08/20/2016.

Two Paths

Two Paths

In life, there are only two paths to choose from.  Please, recognize this statement for the truth that it is.

We may choose to live for God and the Kingdom of righteousness; or we may sink to serving satan who is the enemy of God and the enemy of all that is good and true, peaceful and holy.

The ancient Hebrew word for satan means “accuser” or “adversary.” Why would we want to serve the being who is named “accuser”?

My heartfelt question is “Why would anyone choose to serve the kingdom of darkness?”  Let’s look at what the Scriptures have to say.  I’m going to put the Bible verses in categories to help to clarify this study.

About the Kingdom of God & Jesus

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . .  (Gal 5:22 NKJV)

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  (Joh 10:10b NKJV, emphasis added)

. . . and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:7 NKJV)

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.  (1 Cor 14:33 NKJV)

About the Kingdom of Darkness & satan

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.  (Jas 3:16 NKJV)

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  (Joh 8:44 ESV)

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  (Joh 10:10a NKJV)

Warnings from Scripture

Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  (Eph 6:11 ESV)  We have to protect ourselves with the spiritual tools that the Lord has given to every believer.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  (1 Pet 5:8 NKJV)  We believers need to be vigilant and review our lives on a fairly regular basis so that we don’t allow even the smallest entry for the devil.

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.  (Rev 12:20 NKJV, underscoring added)  Know that the enemy will surely receive his eternal punishment which is described here.

Conclusions

The Bible informs us of key things we should know about the enemy and his realm.  In the kingdom of darkness, the atmosphere is full of envy, self-seeking, confusion, lies and every evil thing.  The beings who populate that realm enjoy killing, stealing, lying and destruction.  The future holds a grim reality for satan and for all who choose to serve him: 

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  (Rev 20:10 NKJV)  This is an eternal, never-ending punishment. 

The Bible informs us that Jesus came to impart life not only here on earth, but for all eternity to those who accept Him as their Lord and Savior.  That is why John 10:10 says “more abundantly.”  When we serve Jesus and His Kingdom, we experience love, joy and peace.  We become a member of the family of God.  And lastly, when we become a child of God we experience the peace that passes all understanding.  (Phil 4:7)  Glory to God most High!

Bearing Fruit

Bearing Fruit

The Scriptures remind us that, as believers, we need to bear fruit to the Lord.  Let’s see what the Bible says.

He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  (Joh 15:5)

Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  (Mt 7:17-19)

But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  (Mt 13:23)

But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.  (Lk 8:15)

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.  (Joh 15:8)

Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.  (Rom 7:4)

After reading these passages, it’s clear to see that as we abide in Christ, He causes us to bear fruit.  And the Christian life is intended by God to be a fruitful life.  Disciples of Christ bear fruit—that’s very clear. 

Good fruit is produced by the Holy Spirit.  Galatians 5:22 reveals the fruit of the spirit to us.  It is evidenced in a good character; by contributing to the world and the people in it; and by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others.  We can’t do any of this without abiding in Christ and staying closely connected to Him.  He gives us eternal life, and the fruit of the spirit is eternal fruit.  Glory to God!

Self-Control

Self-Control

Welcome!  The fruit of the Spirit includes self-control.  (Galatians 5:22-24 NIV)  Isn’t that wonderful?

When we accepted Christ as Savior, the Spirit of God made His home in our hearts.  The Holy Spirit is the One who enables us to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Our responsibility is to yield to the Spirit of God and to actually manifest this fruit!  It is quite exhilarating to do.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”  (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)  Consider the ways that you exercise the spiritual fruit of self-control.  Then praise the Lord for them!

We Serve the Prince of PEACE

We Serve the Prince of PEACE

Greetings and felicitations.  What type of an atmosphere do you carry with you? 

Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  (James 3:18)  The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace.  We must always sow [any kind of seed] in an atmosphere of harmony, reconciliation, and goodwill.

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  (Heb 12:11)  Chastening is linked to the fruit of righteousness!  Isn’t that a surprise?  Chastening is correction, and correction yields fruit when we have allowed ourselves to be trained (or changed) by it.  We receive a deep sense of peace as well as divine fruit when we submit to the Lord’s loving correction.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we carry peace within us at all times; and we should sow words of peace, as well.  This is fitting because Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  (Isa. 9:6)

The Spirit of wisdom would suggest that we yield to a human opponent or antagonist, because in James 3:17, the Word says heavenly wisdom is pure and peaceable!  

We must allow our actions to be guided by the Holy Spirit who lives within each one of us   The Lord has given us the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal 5:22)  Peace is a fruit of the spirit, and since we have peace within each one of us, we must:

  1. sow (spread, plant, scatter) peace and
  2. make (create, formulate, generate, produce) peace.


Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
  (2 Cor. 5:18)  To reconcile means to reunite people to each other or to resolve disagreements among people.  As believers, we should be dedicated to peacemaking and reconciliation, as well as forgiving those who have injured or offended us.

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.  (Romans 12:18)  Carry an atmosphere of peace, sow peace, and allow peace to reign in your hearts at all times, because we are empowered by the Prince of Peace. 

God bless you!