Summary: Only the power of God can produce the character of God (Part 3 "Signs of Life")
SIGNS OF LIFE – THE MARKS OF VIBRANT LIVING
Galatians 5:22-25 (The fruits of the Spirit)
Part 3 – Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control
The Believer is to be a living example that there is a better way. That there is God’s power, a power beyond ourselves to help us be the people we were created to be. Writing about this very issue the apostle Paul said,
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him (Colossians 2:6-10).
We live in a Diet Coke culture where more often than not, things just aren’t the real thing. People let us down, go back on their word, break their promises etc
But God is different. God is faithful .....
a. In temptation
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV).
b. In protecting us from evil
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
c. In forgiving us
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)
And why is faithfulness such an attractive character trait for you to cultivate?
1. Because it singles you out as a Christian – it is a sign that Christ lives in you and you have an assured future with him in heaven.
2. Because you will be entrusted with greater influence and responsibility by God and for God in the world.
"His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:23)
Divine gentleness is not some mamby pamby, limp wristed nauseating attitude. Divine gentleness is about being strong – it’s strength under control.
For example ....
a. Divine gentleness means being submitted to God’s will
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29).
b. Divine gentleness means being teachable
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way (Psalm 25:9).
c. Divine gentleness means being considerate.
So why is divine gentleness such an attractive character trait for you to cultivate?
1. Because gentleness will keep you looking good without plastic surgery!
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewellery and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:3-4).
2. Because gentleness gives you greater influence.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
Divine gentleness is available to everyone who clings to Jesus.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him ....... For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority (Colossians 2:6-10).
Where do you need divine help to be more self-controlled? Eating habits? Spending habits? Sexual habits? Work ethic? Parenting skills? Language? Thought life? Exercise? Spiritual habits (prayer, bible reading, service etc)? Temper?
You will never make progress in any of these areas on your own – only the power of God can produce the character of God.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:3-8).
It is God’s purpose for you to produce the fruit of the Spirit and so be just like his Son Jesus Christ.
It was purpose for you before you were born - Romans 8:29: "He . . . predestined [us] to be conformed to the likeness of his Son."
It is his purpose for you now - 2 Corinthians 3:18: "And we ... are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."