By Randall E. Ricker
We have been going through a series of Bible studies where we consider memory verses. They are verses that we like to remember from the Bible. Maybe we memorize them or at least know where they are to help us as we prove what we believe and why we believe it. Also it would help us as we may have the opportunity to explain it to other people. The first two studies were on doctrines. I decided this third study will be on Christian living because there are memory verses, or at least verses in the Bible that we want to know what they are, and where they are that have to do with our Christian living. What better place to start than the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Turn to Galatians chapter 5 where the fruit of the Holy Spirit is listed. I consider this a memory verse certainly. Galatians 5, verse 22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith, humility, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
There are various translations for a few of those words, but I gave you the ones that mean the most to me as I read the Authorized Version or the New King James Version, which is what I am using right now. It is a very good verse to memorize. We should know what the fruits of the Holy Spirit are. Let’s go through them briefly.
First of all we have love. Turn to I Peter chapter 1 for a Scripture on love. While you are turning there, you may all remember that I Corinthians 13 is the Love Chapter which we often read. We are not going to turn to I Corinthians 13, but remember it is the Love Chapter where we can read so much on love. I want to go to a few others.
I Peter 1, starting in verse 22: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because ‘All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”
I like to remember verse 22 there. It says, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth though the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” It talks about sincere love of the brethren. That love is Strong’s Concordance #5360 (1995 edition), and it means to be a friend to, to have affection for. Then where it talks about fervent love, that’s #25 in the Strong’s (1995 edition) which is the agape love, as we like to call it. It means to love in a social or moral sense, a deliberate assent to the will as a matter of principle, duty, and propriety. We have also defined it as outgoing concern.
In verse 22 Peter is saying you had love as a friend, now have the agape love. It is taking it another step further. I Peter 1:22 is a good one to remember or at least know where it is.
Another one is in I Peter. It is I Peter 4:8. “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’”
Remember that last part in particular. Love will cover a multitude of sins. It can be covering other people’s sins. For example, if we know something about someone, we have love for them so we don’t gossip about them. Or it can cover our sins, too. When we slip up but overall our track record has been pretty good, we can go to God and ask for forgiveness for that sin. Our sin will be covered.
Another memory verse is John 15:13. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” It is referring to Christ in particular, but also to us as we are to be laying down our lives for our friends and other people. John 15:13 is a good memory verse.
Let’s go to the subject of joy. Turn to Proverbs 14. There is a verse to remember. Proverbs 14, verse 21: “He who despises his neighbor sins; but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. Do they not go astray who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.”
I would like to remember verse 21. “He who despises his neighbor sins; but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.” In other words, a person who is doing things for other people is happy. We are going to get joy from doing things for other people. It is not that something good happened to us. That’s fine if it did. We should get more joy in doing things for other people.
In Acts 20 the apostle Paul was talking to the Ephesian elders of the Church, giving them his last instructions. One of the things he found very important to say was this in Acts 20:33. We will start there. Acts 20, verse 33: “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
That’s the part to remember. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is better to give than to get, if you think of the give and get ways of life. That word “blessed” means blessed or well off. It has been called the word happy. We do get joy in giving more than in getting.
Let’s go back to John for the subject of peace. As we study peace, we are going to see a couple of verses that people have called definitions of peace. I think they were right when they said that. John chapter 14, starting in verse 25: “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” Here it is in verse 27: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
That is a definition of peace. Peace is not being troubled and not being afraid. That’s a peace of mind. That peace of mind is very important for us. We want to have peace between nations and peace between people in terms of not fighting, but also we want peace of mind. That is not being troubled and not being afraid. It is good to remember where that verse is.
Here is another definition that I have heard in Romans. Romans chapter 8, starting early in verse 5: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”
I have heard verse 6 called the definition of peace, too. “To be spiritually minded is life and peace.” In other words, peace is being spiritually minded. It goes with the other verse we read about not being troubled and not being afraid. We are not troubled and not afraid. Instead our minds are on things of God. It gives us great inner peace.
Here is one more on the subject of peace. This is in Psalm 119. Psalm 119 happens to be the longest chapter in the whole Bible. Turn to Psalm 119, verse 165: “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” In the Authorize Version it says, “nothing shall offend them.”
It shows one way to get peace. One way to obtain peace is to love God’s law. Then one result of having peace is nothing will cause us to stumble or will offend us. There are a couple of points on the subject of peace in a verse I think a lot of people would like to remember.
Now we will turn to the subject of longsuffering. Turn to Colossians chapter 1, and we will start reading in verse 9. For each of these verses that we might want to remember where they are, I like to start a little bit early in the chapter to get the context. Colossians 1, verse 9: “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy…”
I want to focus on verse 11 in Colossians 1. It says, “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.” There are two words that are very similar in meaning: patience and longsuffering. I went to the Interlinear Bible, and the first word for patience means endurance or patience in trials referring to things. You can think of being patient in traffic or being patient with something that’s broken. It is even being patient with our health.
Then there’s longsuffering with joy. That other word for patience means patience under provocation referring to people. It is patience under provocation referring to persons or people. That’s a little different because we are having to be patient with difficult people or people that we think are difficult. People may not be able to do the things we expect them to do or we need them to do or whatever it might be. This longsuffering is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and includes patience toward things and situations, and patience toward people.
Let’s go to Ephesians chapter 4, verse 1: “I, therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Let’s focus on verse 2. “…with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love…” There’s that word “longsuffering” that we are talking about. It talks about bearing with one another with love. This patience we have with people that I talked about includes bearing with each other. In whatever it might be, we bear with each other. We cut each other slack whenever we can.
The next fruit of the Spirit is kindness. Let’s go to II Peter chapter 1, verse 2: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the word through lust.”
I have heard verse 4 called the theme of II Peter. It is talking about promises and that we may be partakers of the divine nature. In other words, that’s what our reward is. We have had to come out of the world and a way of life that just is not right.
Verse 5 of II Peter 1: “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, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We are talking about the fruit of the Spirit. This is a little process that we can go through to bear more fruit, but let’s focus in particular on verse 7 since we are talking about kindness. “…to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” We are to have that brotherly kindness—that affection toward each other—and show it.
Next let’s talk about goodness. Turn to Matthew chapter 19 where we can read about goodness and what is good. Matthew 19, verse 16: “Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’”
The man is asking, what good thing should I do?
The answer is in verse 17: “So He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’”
That’s a good thing that we need to be doing: keep the commandments.
I will read a little bit further because it explains more. Matthew 19, verse 18: “He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
I would like to focus on verse 17 for a couple of reasons. For one, it shows that we are to be keeping God’s commandments, but it also tells us what goodness is. He says, what good thing should I do? In verse 17 He says to keep the commandments. That’s a good thing. That tells us what goodness is. Goodness is keeping the commandments.
Let’s go on to the next fruit which is faith. I would like to turn to Hebrews chapter 11. I think we should all try to remember that Hebrews 11 is the Faith Chapter. Hebrews chapter 11 is where we find all kinds of discussion on faith and then a lot of examples of faith. If we want to remember what the definition of faith is, start in verse 1.
Hebrews 11, verse 1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
That is the definition of faith. A little clearer translation could be faith is the support for things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. That to me is even a little bit more clear because we hope for things. We hope for eternal life. We hope for a reward. We hope for various things in this life that we need. Faith is what supports those things we hope for, and it is the evidence of things not seen.
We believe in God. We can’t see God. We can’t hear God. We can’t touch God, but yet by faith we believe God exists, so it’s the evidence. We can’t get the evidence from our five senses. We get the evidence from faith. I like to remember that verse for the definition of faith.
If you go to verse 6, there’s another important verse on the subject of faith. Hebrews chapter 11, verse 6: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
We have to believe that God exists. By faith we believe that God exists. We have talked about that a little bit already. Remember that He is also a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. We believe God will reward us, but we also see that we have something to do. We have to diligently seek Him. It’s not that we have nothing to do. That’s the subject of faith, briefly.
Humility or meekness as it may be translated is the next fruit of the Spirit. There are a couple of verses on that. Let’s turn to James chapter 4. We will start reading in James 4, verse 6: “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
If one wanted to remember a couple of verses, James 4:6 by itself stands alone. “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
It shows you how important humility is to God.
Verse 7 and 8 continue on the subject of humility and other instruction, too. James 4, verse 7: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
With humility we would submit to God and draw near to Him and clean up our lives.
The last fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Turn to I Corinthians chapter 9. Paul gives himself as a bit of an example here, but he is really talking about all of us and what we need to be doing. On the subject of self-control, let’s start reading in I Corinthians 9, verse 24: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
I like to remember where verse 27 is: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
We do have to discipline ourselves. We have to use that self-control. If we know it’s right, sometimes we have to force ourselves to do it. We have to realize also we could be disqualified from reward if we don’t follow through. It’s a reminder, too.
Then if we go back to Hebrews 12, we will find another verse on the subject of self-control. Turn to Hebrews 12:1 which comes right after the Faith Chapter. It’s almost like a continuation. Hebrews 12, verse 1: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to blood-shed, striving against sin.”
I’ll stop reading there. I like verse 1 in particular. Hebrews 12, verse 1: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”
We talked about self-control. We lay aside the weight. We lay aside the things that drag us down and things from our past lives. There may be problems that we have not overcome yet that we now need to overcome and lay them aside. Lay aside the sin that so easily ensnares us. Lay aside these things. Then we run with endurance. We run with self-control and with discipline, so that we can run that race. So there we have a Scripture on self-control.
We have given a number of Scriptures on the subject of the fruit of the Spirit. It’s just a few for each that I think make a good study and things that we can remind ourselves of occasionally as we try to grow and overcome.