I am so excited to dig into the very first part of our series on the fruit of the Spirit, specifically how we can use Galatians 5:22-23 as a guide to pray boldly and sincerely for anyone in our lives. We are diving this week and we're going to make our way through the various traits, in concordance with the ESV.
Here is the layout for this shin dig 😉:
Every week I'm going to kick off the blog post by sharing the two verses we are building this study around, so we remember where we've been and where we are headed. Since we are only taking this week by week, each post will be composed of two elements at a time. Each week, I will layout specific Scriptures and insights God revealed to me during my own time and study over these topics that I feel are instrumental in our task. My hope is that you spend sometime time over the week, either a little every day or all at once (you do you, boo!). Additionally, my vision for this was that each participant would WRITE down their prayers for their people, using the Scriptures we studied or whatever else God has used in regards to this study. I am going to try to keep my words SHORT (I know--I am just as doubtful as you are, HA!😆 But I am going to TRY) so that the Spirit has room to move and you are equipped to take the material and apply them to your own prayers closets and lives in whatever way the Spirit prompts you to do so.
Let's dive in!
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
I'm going to take a second to be real here. When I began this study there were some very tender relationships in my life. (As I am assuming are in yours too! At least one if we are honest ;) When I got into the Scripture we are going to work through today, it made me want to WEEP. Like, ugly cry in my kitchen. God did some tremendous heart-work through these first few verses to remind me who He is and how He feels towards me. Which, in turn, led me to a time of serious repentance on my part. Which supernaturally cultivated a change of perspective for these people and God's heart towards them. My prayer is that you experience the same. It was LIFE CHANGING. And it was only day one!
The Greek word for this specific type of love is "AGAPE". In Strong's Hebrew and Greek dictionary, it is defined as this: "Spoken especially of good will toward other, the love of our neighbor, brotherly affection, which the Lord commands and inspires."
Love that God commands.
Love that God inspires.
Matt. 5:43, 19:19, 23:39
John 15:13, 17:26
1 Corinthians 13:1
2 Corinthians 2:4,8
2 Thess. 1:3
1 Peter 4:8
1 Jn. 4:7
Questions for reflection:
Is there evidence of the kind of love inspired by Christ in YOUR life? What does that kind love look like? One a scale of 1-10, how well do you think you are doing on loving people well?
Mathew 2:10; 13:20, 44; 28:8
Luke 1:14: 15:7-10
1 Peter 1:7-8
(Here are some places that were discussed as the grounds for joy, the occasion for JOY. I found it FASCINATING.)
1 Thess. 2:19, 20
2 John 4
Here's what blew me away about JOY.
In the Bible, the most intense joy described is often located near a significant point of despair. It also is the one thing that make all else pale in comparison. JOY is the seemingly the key to eternal perspective--it is HOPE for really matters. I think it because of the hope that we have anchored in Jesus, and His victory that is ours by birthright. In JOY we have a tiny taste of heaven, of what our souls were created to dwell in.
It makes circumstances endurable. Trials worth sustaining. Good things better. Joy is the avenue to eternal perspective. Joy is not the same things as happiness. Happiness is fleeting, circumstantial. Joy is contentment despite circumstances, because of the anchor of hope we have in Jesus. Joy is gratitude for what God has done and what He will do.
It is JOY that shines the brightest in every dark season. Joy is the security in the promises of God and who He is. Joy has the power to change everything for us now, because Jesus changed everything for us on the cross.
Questions for reflection:
Where in your life have you experienced the most JOY? What is close to season of heartache?
How do you cultivate JOY in your life, without relying on happiness? Another way to phrase this would be how do you cultivate joy when circumstances are not "happy"?
How can you pray LOVE and JOY over people in your life? Write these down in your prayer journals. You don't even have to come up with your own words. PRAY THE SCRIPTURES over the people God has laid on your heart. Your friend. Your sister. Your neighbor. Your enemy. But don't forget to ask God to shine light in your own heart where you need Him to grow these things in your life as well. If you don't have that kind of love in your heart, ASK HIM to give it to you, and teach you to give it freely to others. If you can't muster up an ounce of JOY in your own life, ask God why. And ASK HIM to open the floodgates of heaven to rain joy straight into your soul. He's waiting to do it for you and for those He loves.
I'm praying for you guys! Let me know what verses guided your prayers this week! I would so love to hear what God is speaking to you throughout this journey. Remember, HIS Word will NOT return void!
Grace and peace,