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Fruit of the Spirit

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Fruit of the Spirit

MP3 Audio (9.59 MB)


Fruit of the Spirit

MP3 Audio (9.59 MB)

Are you bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life? What would society look like with these characteristics?




Good morning, brethren. It's good to see you all here. I don't know about you, but one of the first things I did yesterday after the rain stopped was to go outside and see how the vegetables were faring in the garden. There were a few casualties. Some may need some sticks to prop them up again.

How many of you out there also have gardens that you are tending. I'm not talking about flower gardens. I'm talking about gardens from which you can eat. I suppose you could eat some flowers, but primarily vegetable gardens.

It's something that our family's been doing since I was about as tall as a tomato sprout, and I've grown to enjoy it. I know some here in this room have had the experience already of eating a salad comprised entirely of produce from their garden leaving the rest of us who were maybe taken back by spring's sudden onset wondering, "Aw, what if? If only we had started sowing indoors just a little sooner, or, if only we had transplanted sooner. What if? What would our salads look like — if?" Instead of the little sprigs some of us have available to us now.

Well, tomorrow is the day of Pentecost, the feast of first fruits, and the anniversary when God gave His holy Spirit to the church. So, today, as we talk about harvests, the early harvest, let's review the fruit of the Spirit. That's part of our preparation for the holy day tomorrow. So today we'll review the fruit of the Spirit.

Let's turn to Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×

Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, (longsuffering,) kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Verse 23 — gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. So, this passage starts out - ...but the fruit of the Spirit...fruit is a singular word, like a collective noun, a pod of whales, a pride of lions, a gaggle of gagglers. It is not to be seen as individual fruits, but a collective. Some would describe it as like a bunch of grapes, and in this particular bunch of grapes, there are exactly nine grapes. But it's all part of the same bunch.

Another example I've heard to describe this would be like an orange, and when you peel the inside getting zest everywhere, I love the smell of a peeled orange, don't you? But when you peel that orange, you see inside nine distinct sections. It's all part of the same orange, and yet there are some distinctions as well.

Now again, fruit is singular and it contrasts with what Paul mentions in Verse 19 — works of the flesh. You see he's contrasting two separate things here, works of the flesh, fruit of the Spirit, singular fruit.

Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×
But the fruit of the Spirit is first love...and here the word he uses for love is agape. Agape love, the hallmark of God's people, those who have His holy Spirit is love, and ...by this shall men know that you are My disciples if you... know the secret handshake, if you can recite the kings of Israel in chronological order...if you have love one for another. That is the litmus test. God is love, as we see in scriptures. But what does love, or agape, look like? How is it expressed?

Well, we'd be ill-advised to look to Hollywood or any mainstream media, for a description or modeling of agape, of true love. So instead, we can turn to scriptures. Let's take a look at I Corinthians 13:4. We'll break into a thought here, Paul says —

I Corinthians 13:4. Love (suffers long) is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant, (is not puffed up,)

Verse 5 - or rude, (does not behave itself rudely,) it does not insist on its own way, (does not seek its own, is not provoked,) is not irritable, resentful, (thinks no evil;)

Verse 6 — it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, (does not rejoice in iniquity,) but rejoices with (in) the truth. What does love do?

Verse 7 — bears all things, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,

Verse 8 — love never (fails) ends. William Barclay talks about agape being a deliberate effort to never seek anything but the best for other people, even when they seek the worst for us. And many commentaries point out that the remaining characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit are all expressions of agape, of love itself. So the first fruit, first element of the holy Spirit is love.

The next, joy, the fruit of the Spirit is love, then joy, or cheerfulness, as it's sometimes translated. Now how often when watching television or movies do we see a portrayal of a Christian who is joyful? Typically, they have a look of at least moderate disdain on their face as they look at their fellowman, perhaps thinking suspiciously that somewhere, somebody might be having some source of pleasure.

And if they're not grumpy, there are portrayed as being joyful to the extent that they're almost nutty, that they're about the crack because there's some underlying tension because of their religiousness. Clearly there's something wrong with them so they're about to have some sort of mental breakdown. Are they portrayed as being joyful? Well here Paul was inspired to write that love, then joy, as being a hallmark of the holy Spirit.

Some translators describe this as enduring joy, enduring joy even in times of trials or difficulties that we all face which is completely different than happy go lucky, or ...foreign phrase... whatever that means.

Let's turn to the book of James 1:2 James 1:2My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;
American King James Version×

James 1:2 James 1:2My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;
American King James Version×
My (brethren,) brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. Is James suggesting that Christians should be sadistic? When we fall into trials, "Oh, goody, another trial! It's been seven days since my last trial, another one, wonderful!" Count it all joy...but I don't like trials. ...count it as joy, though. They hurt! ...count it as joy. Why?

Verse 3 — knowing that the (testing) proving of your faith works (produces) patience. It makes it easier knowing that there is an end in sight, but beyond that, that there is a purpose for that struggle, for the trial, and that is why we can count if all joy.

Love, then joy, makes peace. Peace. While I was going to technical school in Alberta, I had the opportunity to make a number of friends. It was a multi-cultural city, and no surprise the school was also multi-cultural. So I made friends with people from Hong Kong, people who had been to mainland China, Malaysia, all parts of the orient, and also immigrants from the Middle East, and I had the opportunity to have lunch one day with a fellow who was from Lebanon, and at the same occasion, with someone who was from Afghanistan. And I've mentioned this before, but I think it bears repeating.

In our conversation, I was curious to find out more about their cultures and their philosophies. And so I asked the question to them, "What is the definition of peace?" To find out what their mindset would tell me. I won't say which one said which, but one answer from one of the young men was:

"Peace is the absence of war." Which is a practical definition.

The other fellow said, "No, I disagree." He was slightly older. I'm not sure if he disagreed because he had more insight, if he was more mature, for whatever reason, he said, "No, I disagree. Peace is not just absence of war. Peace is absence of hate." Which is a much, a deeper, lasting condition. One is on the surface; one is deeper. He says, "Not the absence of war, but the absence of hate."

As we understand God's plan and see that God is working with all mankind at different stages, we are to a degree liberated instead of looking at our fellowman as competitors for limited resources of critical things like parking spots at the grocery store. We can look at each other as future brothers and sisters. That's the way we see one another at church services. But we also can see our fellowman, then, as future brothers and sisters.

And in that condition, doesn't that make it easier to have a more peaceful attitude towards them realizing that we, ourselves, would be in the same condition, have the same attitude, that we may resent seeing in them. And someday, God will work with them, give them His holy Spirit, and they will change.

So knowing God's plan, then, we can strive for peace towards our fellowman. It doesn't mean we'll get peace. But we should strive for peace.

James 3:17 James 3:17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
American King James Version×
But the wisdom that is from above is first purely pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to entreat, (willing to yield,) full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality (and) without hypocrisy.

Verse 18 — (Now) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. In this world, how many billions of people are there, over six billion? There are a number of war-torn regions in which there are soldiers acting as peace keepers. What is that percentage of peace keepers to the total population of this earth? It's a pretty small percentage, isn't it? Peace keepers are a small number.

How about a peace maker? I'm not talking about the side arm utility, but one who makes peace. How much more rare is a peace maker than a peace keeper?

On the other hand, how about peace breakers? Aren't they everywhere? And which should we be as Christians?

The next characteristic of the holy Spirit — patience. Patience. It's also translated as steadfast or forbearance. William Barclay writes that generally speaking the word here for patience is not in reference towards things, but towards other people.

In the New Testament, it's often used to describe God's attitude toward mankind in general, and towards the people He's working with. Patience. God is patient with us. Let's take a look in I Timothy 1:16.

I Timothy 1:16 — (However,) But for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering or patience...why?...(for) as a pattern to those being about (who are going) to believe on Him to life everlasting. Now Jesus Christ might show forth all patience as a pattern or template for those to follow. He was patient, and this verse indicates there is pattern for us to follow, to be patient with mankind, with our brethren, with our neighbors.

It's interesting how we look at a survey of prayers, maybe you've done this, I've tried to monitor, keep tract, of the type of prayers I pray and it's interesting to analyze it after the fact and think, "Okay, I was praying for good weather for the picnic that I forgot to pray about last week, so we need good weather now." Okay, well we can pray for good weather now.

In analyzing various other types of prayers and also I also catch myself praying for patience now. It doesn't work that way, does it?

There was a movie that had a portrayal of someone asking God for patience, and I believe the quote went something like this, "If you pray for patience, is God going to give you patience, or is He going to give you the opportunity to develop patience?" Which is going to be more lasting? Patience.

Adam Clark says patience is talking about bearing with the frailties and provocations of others. It's easy to be patient with somebody who doesn't bother you, right? It's much easier for me to be patient with my children when they're not home, leaving Legos all over the floor and making noise and I'm trying to do important things like watch the news. It requires patience when we have people working with us, bearing with their frailties and their provocations.

Ephesians 4:2 Ephesians 4:2With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love;
American King James Version×
. —
Be completely humble and gentle be patient...(with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering) bearing with one another in love. So here the instruction is in regards to relationships to one another. Be patient.

After patience, we have kindness. Kindness, it seems to me, is one of the main themes or sub-themes at the Feast of Tabernacles. It doesn't matter how many doors there are at the entrance of the building at the hall where we're meeting, whether we're going into the building or leaving, invariably, there is a line. And at the front of the line of a double door, you will find two people, both holding the door open, gesturing to the other person, "You first."

"No, you first."

"I insist, you first."

"No, please after you."

"Go ahead, please, be my guest."

Kindness gone amuck. Nobody gets in the building that way. But beyond that, there are stories, and we've seen, have experienced this ourselves, to others, or to us, where we go to a meal and then ask the server for the bill, and they say, "Oh, it's been taken care of. Someone has paid your meal."

They didn't have to, but what kindness that is, though. Or you meet somebody new, and "Let's go for lunch."

"Oh, great idea. My treat."

It seems like kindness just naturally abounds at the Feast of Tabernacles. The plenty just spills forth and shows itself in kindness. And be kind to one another, it says in Ephesians 4:32 Ephesians 4:32And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.
American King James Version×
. Be kind to one another. Tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God and Christ forgave you.

Another way of phrasing kindness is to give due regard to the frail or fragile nature of the human condition and the human need. Let's take a look at the book of Colossians. In the book of Colossians 3:12 Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering;
American King James Version×

Colossians 3:12 Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering;
American King James Version×
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender feelings of mercy, (mercies) of kindness, (humility) humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; and it continues. Be kind. Everyone we meet is facing some kind of struggle, battle, trial.

We met, my wife and I, a friend who we had not seen in many years recently, and we sat down to eat and we talked about oh, where we had been the last ten, fifteen years. And the individual brought up a unique story about going to a class. I don't remember if it was a business class, if it was a self-development class, but it was a meeting of people at a hotel or at a convention center.

And part of the introduction had a facilitator at the front of the room. There was a seat and desk for everybody in attendance. On the desk was a blank 3x5 card, a pencil and a brown paper bag.

The facilitator asked everybody who was there, "Do not write your name on that card. Instead, write some of the things, the main things, one or two at the most, of the difficulties you're facing right now, today." And so everybody did, write on that card what it was that was troubling them, that was heavy on their mind, we would refer to them as trials.

And when they were done, they were instructed those cards in the bag, close the bag up, to walk to the front of the room, put their bag on the table, and then walk out. After everybody had fulfilled this task, they were ushered back in to their original chairs and the bags had been scrambled. And the instructor then asked those present, "Please open the bag. Reach inside, pull out the card and read what's on the card." And of course everybody did, and read about what somebody else was facing in the room, some other trial or hardship.

Then the question was posed. "Who would like their own card back?" Of course everybody's hand went up. Everybody's facing a hardship. Everybody's facing something that reminds them of the fragility, that makes them fragile, and so we've got to be kind to one another. Some battles are immediately obvious, some are hidden, which is why we have to be kind.

After kindness, goodness. Goodness is not just abstaining from wrong but actively doing good, doing good. Christians are not allowed to be hermits. We could be, in a cave somewhere, isolated with the sports network maybe. I can get that in satellite connections in remote caves. But what would our checklist be like as a hermit? Let's see, I didn't steal today. There's only rocks all around. I didn't lie. A mountain goat went by and didn't ask me any questions, so I couldn't lie to the goat. I didn't cheat. How do you cheat a ground squirrel at poker? I didn't cuss. There's nothing to build, no thumbs to smash with hammers, so I didn't say anything I shouldn't. I didn't covet. Let's see, what else? I didn't give, I also didn't help, I didn't contribute, I didn't encourage, and the list goes on if we are in the mindset of what we don't do. There are all kinds of things we can omit. Goodness requires us to do something for other people, to other people. Let's turn to the book of II Thessalonians 1:11.

II Thessalonians 1:11. — Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of (this) the calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power. A number of months ago, when I was trying my FREE subscription to an online movie company, I watched the movie with one of my children. It was a foreign film, and the language was unintelligible. It was of a tongue that I had no concept of whatsoever. It did have subtitles, thankfully, unfortunately, I had to read the subtitles and read them for Mr. Junior who was in the room with me, and try to keep up with the dialogue that was on the screen, communicating with Mr. Junior, and try to stay in the loop. It was a mentally exhausting exercise. I have so much more empathy for translators having gone through that experience.

It was a very good movie, though. I enjoyed the movie. It was about a father and a son, the mother had tragically left the family through some accident health problem that really wasn't explained well, or it was explained while I was doing some additional explaining.

The father and the son lived in, quite frankly, squalor. The house was falling apart, the walls were crumbling, the stairs were crumbling, windows were knocked out, the neighborhood was in ruins, but the father worked there by the sweat of his brow and the blood of his knuckles to support his son. And he scrimped and saved enough to send his son to a private school, I take it, so he could get a good education. And at night they would eat food that was scrounged from who knows where, they would find an apple that was clearly past due, cut out the bad portions and eat the rest, and find scraps of meat from we don't even want to ask where, but they did exist. They did live.

And one of the things the father would tell the boy at the end of the day was get a good education, study hard, don't cheat, be honest and he capped it off always with "...and be a useful person." Be a useful person. And that struck me as totally opposite to what our modern culture, our modern western culture advocates, shows in mass media, that the individual should rise to the top and suck everybody below for all they're worth. Take advantage of the situation while you can. Turn into a sponge. Contribute nothing and take everything you can.

He said, "Be a useful person." Find a need. Fill that need. Contribute. Do good. Goodness. And many commentaries waffle between kindness and goodness, what's the difference. I appreciated one commentary that highlighted the difference between kindness and goodness. They said kindness is a disposition. Kindness is a disposition, but goodness is an action. To me that was very helpful to clarify the difference between those two.

After goodness, faithfulness. Faithfulness. We had a sermonette given not too long by Mr. Troy Phelps on faithfulness and part of his sermonette he wrote about a trustworthy elephant who was taking care of an egg. And why did he take such good care of that egg, I'll quote from the poem that he read for us, "...I meant what I said...I said what I meant...an elephant is faithful one hundred percent." He was an excellent example of faithfulness. And here Paul highlights faithfulness as one of the fruit of the Spirit.

The gospel account of Luke 16, starting in verse 10.

Luke 16:10 Luke 16:10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
American King James Version×
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least in unjust also in much.

Verse 11 — Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Verse 12 — And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? Faithfulness, reliability, trustworthy, this is a characteristic trait of Christians. It is what Paul is communicating to us, why he has included it in this list. Faithfulness especially towards other men. "I meant what I said; I said what I meant, an elephant is faithful one hundred percent." Let's turn to III John 5.

III John 5 — My dear friends, you are so faithful rather, my dear friend, he's talking to Gaius... you are so faithful in the work you do for other Christians even when they are strangers. (Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for brethren and for strangers.) John knew that Gaius was dependable. He could be counted upon and by extension, so should we. My dear friends, you are so faithful in the work you do for other Christians. Faithfulness.

Next comes gentleness. Gentleness.

II Timothy 2:24 — And the (a) servant of the Lord...the slave of the Lord...must not quarrel but be (gentle)...right ...all the time...no but be gentle to all.... Other translations read humility or meekness, gentleness.

I remember being at the hospital at the birth of my first child...why don't I just say it...my first son, and I recall being exhausted. It was a long labor, even for me. And when he was brought back to the room, the nurse was getting ready to change him for the second, third, fourth time, I don't remember which, but I thought, you know, she's not coming home with us. I may need to know how to do this myself, so I asked her, "Please show me how to do this thing you've been doing."

So she walked me through the steps, and then it was my turn to do it. And I remember picking him up for the first time. It's so awkward the first time, picking up a newborn, at least it is maybe for most men. It's like picking up a floppy egg. You're afraid it's going to break, but it doesn't have form and where to hold it, how to hold it, it took me a half hour to change that first diaper.

Yet when I saw the nurses handling the babies, they had no problem. I saw them picking them up with one hand, and expertly grabbing a diaper and putting it underneath and getting things covered up before water works were displayed. It took me a long time to figure that out. But the adeptness with which they exercised their gentleness amazed me.

At first it looked chaotic, like a chef making pizza. You know, and they grab the dough, and they throw it up in the air, and they catch it with one hand behind their back, and to me, that's what it looked like the first time I saw them handling the baby with one hand. But they knew exactly where to hold the baby, how to hold the baby, they weren't being careless. They were exercising their gentleness with precision.

Let's take a look at I Corinthians 4:21.

I Corinthians 4:21 — Here Paul is correcting the church in Corinth. Which do you (want?) prefer...Shall I come to you with a whip or rod, or in a spirit of (in) love and (a spirit of) gentleness? He could do both. He's asking which would you prefer? Choose one.

If the apostle Paul was going to visit me, I'd know which one I'd rather he come with. Please, no whips in my house, or rods. Check them at the door. Come in with the Spirit of love and gentleness, please be gentle with me. Should we also be gentle with others?

William had an interesting comment about gentleness. "Gentleness is the quality of man who is always angry at the right time, and never angry at the wrong time." That's a lot to live up to, isn't it? At least it is when you get woken up at 4 A.M. because someone was scratching excessively. Gentleness.

Self-control is the next characteristic. Self-control. Other translations render the word, self-restraint. This is not directed towards God. Do we need to be self-restrained towards God. Self-restrained towards men, or self-restrained to our self. This is talking about a mastery of appetites.

It's no coincidence that before we go to the Feast of Tabernacles, symbolizing the millennium, the last great day symbolizing the kingdom of God, we celebrate before that the Day of Atonement, and on that day we go without food and water for a full day. Staying alive is a drive, the most base drive of humanity, of living things, but of man in particular. To stay alive, to keep living, and what's the chief way of doing that? Food and water.

But God asks us to control that appetite, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. It is, after all what keeps us alive to be servants to grow, to increase our character. He asks us on that day, and if we want to grow further during the year as we go through a regular regimen of fasting, prayer and Bible study.

But we fast that day. We curb that appetite and we control it that day. It's symbolic of the self-control we have to have over other appetites that we would see referenced in Galatians 5:19-21 Galatians 5:19-21 [19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, [21] Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
, the works of the flesh. Those are among the appetites we have to control in order to get into the kingdom. Just like we must fast the Day of Atonement, control our appetite before we get into the fall holy day season of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day.

A number of weeks ago, Mr. Welty talked about the process that we go through after baptism and the laying on hands, receiving the holy Spirit to a corn seed that's planted in the ground. It takes time for that kernel to transform from the seed into an actual plant. And there's a time where you see characteristics of both.

When we start out, we are all carnal. Where God wants to see us end up is all plant. But in the meantime, there is a time period where we have both. But there is a continual process away from one towards another. Self-control and self-restraint are required for us to get to that stage with the indwelling of the holy Spirit. Let's turn to I Corinthians 9:25.

I Corinthians 9:25 — Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. (And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.) (Now) they do it to (obtain) receive a perishable wreath or crown, but we (for) an imperishable crown. Athletes go through intensive training. Their self-control is such that they wake their bodies, rouse their bodies up, early in the morning so they can stretch, do exercises, run around like something's chasing them. Go to the gym and lift weights.

Their self-control extends beyond that where they would abstain from coffee, from strong drink, from glorious, round-shaped, sugar-glazed donuts. Who can say, "No," to a donut? Especially a Timmy. But many do. They have the self-restraint not to because they have something greater in mind. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown.

I remember in high school, there was an individual who was in a class before me who was known to be a hockey player. He was also known to not drink at all. High school was such where there were illegal parties on many weekends. He was in the "in" crowd, but conspicuously absent, apparently. And when asked, "Why?"

His comment was, "Well, I want to be a hockey player someday. I want to play professionally. In order to do so, I have to watch what I put in my body. I don't smoke; I don't drink because I don't want that to affect my ability to play the game. I don't want it to affect my condition."

I thought that was remarkable. I think he was in the tenth grade at the time. And he had the ability to see that far ahead. It's important for us to remember the imperishable crown that we are working towards, training for.

I don't know about you, but one of the favorite shows on television in our house is watching funny videos. Let's not give away the title. Funny videos, Sunday nights. And I'm not sure how often they play this clip or clips like it, but I really enjoy seeing the clip of the dog staring straight ahead, moving nothing, not blinking, not twitching, and over the bridge of his snout rests — what? A doggy treat. And the dog is just staring. And only after the master gives the sign does he flip the bone around, 180, into his mouth, into his gullet within half a second.

But that dog was trained to have — what? Self-control. To wait for the voice of its master before having that treat. Self-control. The remainder of Galatians 5:23 Galatians 5:23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×

Galatians 5:23 Galatians 5:23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×
— ...against such there is no law. ...against such there is no law. Think how many hours, labor hours, are invested into creating laws, crafting legislation to limit, to regulate behaviors listed in the previous verses, 19-21. How much time is invested into apprehension of activities, the prosecution of activities, and yet still, how many hours is it? Hundreds of hours? Collectively?

Even just in our lifetime. In just the state of Ohio, the legislature with local courthouses, how many hours have gone into curbing, limiting, eliminating, those works of the flesh? Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, millions of man hours? A lot of time and energy invested into that process, and still our society is so lenient, still we have so many problems.

Against such, there is no law. Now what society would legislate against characteristics that we have seen in the fruit of the Spirit? Imagine the next time you're at the bureau where you get your driver's license, let's not single them out by name. While you're waiting line whistling calmly, patiently, you're tapped on the shoulder, and when you turn around, there is police officer with his ticket book writing out a ticket, saying, "I'm sorry but you were being way too patient. You need to be impatient like everybody else in this line. Here is your ticket for a hundred and fifty dollars. We'll see you in court." It wouldn't happen. We want these characteristics in our society. What society wouldn't? What would society look like without these characteristics? These characteristics are what societies want. Usually, someone else to start first, though, right?

To close, I'd like to read the last stanza of the poem, "If," by Rudyard Kipling.

"If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with kings nor lose the common touch.

If neither fools or loving friends can hurt you; if all men count with you but none too much.

If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run.

Yours is the earth and everything that's in it, and which is more, you'll be a man, my son."

Now Mr. Kipling probably didn't live up to the sentiment in this poem, and his children didn't either. Instead of "yours is the earth," how about "yours is the kingdom?" What God will say to the sons and daughters, who in this lifetime did bear the fruit of the holy Spirit.