There are 3 features of agape that I want to add to our last discussion:
Agape love is unconditional, sacrificial and generous.
Is the love you are showing unconditional?-Is it independent on the other person meeting some conditions?
Is it sacrificial? -Does it cost you something?
Is it generous?-Is the motive devoid of selfish gain?
If the answer to these questions is ‘Yes’,then it is agape.If it is ‘No’ then it is other forms of love:Eros,Phileo or Storge !
It is an inner feeling of gladness that comes as a result of a healthy relationship with God or a reaction to His promises or His deliverance.It is independent of external happenings/circumstances.
So,how do you know you have the fruit of joy?
You have joy if your feelings of gladness are based on the following:
1)Repentance of sin:Many wallow in unconfessed sin and still expect this joy.It is not possible! When you truly repent of your sins,there is an undescribable joy that wells up in you.King David knew this and prayed:”Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”-Psalm 51:11-12.
2)God’s promises and not man’s promises:
“I find joy at what you have said like one who has discovered a great treasure.”-PSA 119:162(ISV).
When your feelings rest on God’s promises youvexperience this chara,because God is faithful:God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?-Num 23:9 “…I sing for joy at the work of Your hands,forever I’ll love You, forever I’ll stand,nothing compares to the promise I have in You.”-@Chris Tomlin.
5)Giving to God:This produces this fruit in us;”They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity”-2Cor 8:2
6)Getting sinners converted:Those that evangelise and win souls into the kingdom of God usually exhibit this joy when they see the converts:“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.”-1Thess 2:19-20
It is a feeling of contentment, completeness, wholeness, well being and harmony of the mind irrespective of the external circumstances.
Shalom is a complete peace at all levels.Shalom is exclusively God’s.It can only be given to man by God.
WHEN DOES ONE HAVE THIS FRUIT OF PEACE
1)When you are contented in your mind that God is for you: Money,fame,wealth etc can’t give this contentment.Peace(cessation of hostility between you and God) gives you contentment:“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.Phil 4:12-13.What is this secret of contentment that Paul learnt? It is found in the previous verses:”Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”-Phi 4:6-7
2)When your behaviour/character to others is independent of your external circumstances:Life will throw so many things to make you lose your inner peace.You may lose some good friends,husband,wife,child,job but never allow all that to make you lose your peace! “I’m leaving you peace. I’m giving you my peace. I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don’t be troubled or cowardly.”-John 14:27.In other words,dont allow the troubles to trouble you! “Peace be still!”
3)When you grow/become matured in your knowledge of God:Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.-2Peter 1:2.The more God prunes the parts of you that bear little fruit so that you can bear even more,God multiplies His peace because your knowledge of Him increases.
Peace and joy are intertwined.Rarely can you have one without the other.So everything written above for ‘joy’ also applies for ‘peace’.
Like I categorised the fruit of the Spirit in Part 1,love ,joy and peace can only be imputed into our lives as a result of our relationship with God.This relationship with Him also puts me under His authority therefore:”He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful”-John 15:2.
Lets look at the acts of the sinful nature that become cut off when God inputs His love,joy and peace in us.Out of fifteen acts of sinful nature in Gal 5:19-21,eight of them are cut off from our lives when we produce the fruit of love,joy and peace.8/15 just like that:Hatred,discord,jealousy,fits of rage,selfish ambition,dissension,factions and envy.
Rather than tell people more about the acts of sinful nature,don’t you think if we concentrate on people getting the fruit of the Spirit is better? I think it is better.
Love unconditionally, sacrificially and generously.Let the joy of the Lord be your strength despite the circumstances out there and the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus(the Vine).
Stay blessed and rapturable.