I’m often the girl that likes to only do the fun stuff. Can you relate? One thing I’ve learned about being a Faithful Servant of the Lord is that it’s not always fun. It’s many, many things like joyful, peaceful, loving, and kind; forgiving, righteous, and obedient. There are fun moments that have come of these attributes, but fun doesn’t make the top of the list.
And that’s okay. When Paul talks about the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5, he encourages us to live by the Spirit, keeping in step with the Spirit. When we do, we will bear fruits (or Christ-Like Characteristics gifted to us by God) such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22 NIV)
I later learned that the type of “Joy” listed as one of these traits isn’t that laughable, fun kind of Joy, rather it’s the everlasting wholeness of God that brings our hearts an overwhelming kind of happiness. From that, can bear fun moments, but it’s not just about the entertainment. It’s about the fulfillment.
What’s great about this passage in Scripture is that in Ephesians 6, Paul shares again about the Armor of God. This armor was designed for us to protect ourselves against the enemy. The Bible warns us over and over that Satan is out to destroy everything God has ever created, including His children. One of our responsibilities as Christians is to be ready for his schemes. This Armor, Paul says,
“Put on the full Armor of God so that when the day evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” –Ephesians 6:13-17 NIV
As you can see here, there are several things to protect us and help us stand firm, even when we feel we can’t stand anymore, BUT the only weapon given to us is the Holy Spirit, which clearly states is the Word of God. If we go back to the first passage, Paul said we should live by the Spirit, keeping in step with the Spirit.
There’s no simpler way to say this: We should be living by God’s Word.
Sometimes this can be less than “Fun.” Living by the Word of God holds us far more accountable than we’ve ever held ourselves. The standards are raised when we are obedient to God and His commands.
Here are a few tips to begin Living by the Spirit Right NOW:
- Increase our prayer life.
The Armor of God technically only consists of the belt, the breastplate, the shoes, shield, helmet and the sword. However, in verse 18 (Eph 6:18) Paul adds “And PRAY in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Our prayer life strengthens the Holy Spirit inside of us, therefore strengthening our relationship with the Lord. It’s extremely important that you begin praying intentionally, and specifically. Take your requests to God. When you give Him that power, you become stronger.
- Start memorizing Scripture.
If I’m completely honest, I’m the worst at this, but I must admit it works. I can recall several years ago I found a verse I liked and made it my background image on my computer. It was literally there for years and I never fully grasped the meaning of it. I had only really memorized it because I saw it every single day. One day, it just “clicked.” It has since become my favorite scripture that I recite to many people going through hard times. “The Lord will accomplish what concerns me.” – Psalm 138:8
When we’re going through something emotionally and physically draining, we naturally enter a place of worry, guilt, anger, or fear. As Followers of Jesus, we need to understand, though it may be our instinct to go to that place, it’s ungodly to stay there. If we memorize Scriptures that are perfect for battling the Enemy, we learn to stand firm in the Word of God, using that sword to penetrate the enemy, disabling his schemes.
- When in doubt, Choose Fruit.
In John 15, Jesus says “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
Jesus is telling us that as Christians, we must maintain a relationship with Him. When we do, we will bear fruit. Throughout our lives, God will prune us (transform, sanctify, clean us of our sins) so that we will begin to bear more and more fruit as time passes. Remember, the Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. With these characteristics, we will prosper.
In times of doubt, always choose one of the Fruits of the Spirit. In a moment of temptation, choose self-control. When you want to act out in anger, choose to be kind or gentle. When you’re in a rush, choose patience. But mostly, when you’re looking for “fun,” make sure it’s the kind that brings everlasting joy. These little changes will absolutely change your life.
- “Devil Get Behind Me.”
Satan will offer you the world if you follow him. He offered Jesus the same in Matthew 4, and Jesus Told him, “Away from Me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” (Matt 4:10-11)
Jesus did the same to Peter when he suggested that Jesus didn’t actually have to die in Matthew 16:23: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
What’s so powerful about this statement is that when we tell the devil to flee in the name of the Lord, he leaves us alone. This gives God ultimate control over his destructive tendencies. When you’re having a bad day, or you’re feeling the enemy is attacking your life, tell him to Get behind you in the name of Jesus. This will keep our minds and our hearts aligned with the Holy Spirit. The devil will never win. There’s no reason to let him try.
Through these simple tips, I have dug more into my Bible. I became a sponge, soaking up God’s Word. I still don’t know all the Scriptures, in fact I’ve yet to finish reading the entire Bible. We’re all a work in progress and in different places with our walks with God. Don’t be discouraged because you feel you don’t know enough about the Bible to begin studying it. Start here, and allow God to begin plugging Scriptures, materials, and perhaps even Bible Study resources into your life. Your willingness to grow will never hold you back. He will open the doors for you to move forward.