Fruit of the Spirit
Fruit Prompts

This page contains the 'overflow' of a writing project I was commissioned to do on the Fruit of the Spirit. These daily prompts are meant to be one-a-day reflections for cultivating these all important virtues.
Love - Joy - Peace - Patience - Kindness
Goodness - Faithfulness - Gentleness - Self-control

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Love: God is it

Love is the perfect expression of God's character. It is God's love which enables us to love. And what a love this is! Compassionate. Merciful. Slow to anger. Unfailing. Love as great as the height of the heavens above the earth (and similarly impossible to fathom.) (Psalm 103: 8, 11) All our feeble attempts to love begin with God's love. But be encouraged for God has placed his love in our hearts. (2 Cor 1:22)

Love song

In Hosea 11 Yahweh sings a song to his beloved. In it we hear the longing in Yahweh's plea, his cry of pain as he longs for Israel to simply respond to his love.

I myself taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand.
But he doesn't know or even care that it was I who took care of him.
I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love.
I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him.
"Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go?
How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim?
My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. Hosea 11: 3-4, 8 (NLT)

What do you hear in the Lord's voice? What does it tell you about God's love for his people Israel? What does it tell you today about God's love for you?

A life of love

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." 1 John 4:9-12

What do you hear in the Lord's voice? What does it tell you about God's love for his people Israel? What does it tell you today about God's love for you?

Love's demonstration

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (Jn 13:34-35)

How do you hope to demonstrate love today? How has love shone through you?

Uncanny joy

Joy. Who wouldn't want this fruit of the Spirit to ripen in their life? The prophet Habakkuk left us quite an example to press into. In the midst of impending disaster he penned these words:

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." (3:17-18)

Think back to a difficult period in your life. Can you see the faithfulness of God in bringing you through the experience? What effect could choosing to rejoice in spite of the circumstances have on you today?

Song of praise

The whole of Isaiah chapter 12 is a song of praise. It's a response to the promise of Isaiah 11:1 that a Branch will grow out of Jesse's line. It's a promise of the Messiah. This short chapter is full of imperatives from the great prophet Isaiah. Give thanks. Declare. Proclaim. Sing for joy! How might you put one of these into action today?

Think back to a difficult period in your life. Can you see the faithfulness of God in bringing you through the experience? What effect could choosing to rejoice in spite of the circumstances have on you today?

Be joyful

The book of Philippians is Paul's epistle of joy. In every chapter Paul assures his friends that he is joyful in spite of his circumstances, and he charges them to be joyful also. How can we cultivate the fruit of joy? Gratitude offers a pretty certain path. You can read a reflection along with a gratitude challenge at Be Joyful.

The gift of peace

"I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

Jesus spoke these words as he headed toward Gethsemane and into the most trouble-filled hours of his life. Did his own words help him as he wrestled with his will in the garden, and as he suffered through his arraignment and crucifixion? As for the disciples, they hardly knew what had hit them until after Friday's horror was past. Peace? How does peace fit in this picture? Yet Jesus had said more about peace before they headed to Gethsemane that night. "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16: 31-33. How does this truth, affirmed by Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, encourage you today?

Perfect peace

There is a promise tucked in one of Isaiah's songs which I'm relying on a lot these days. "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!"

I like this rendering of Isaiah 26:3 (NLT), for the wording makes 'perfect peace' seem somewhat tangible. I see in this verse that I can actually do something to contribute to the peace in my heart. I can trust. I can fix my thoughts on the Lord. Not perfectly, but at least falteringly. My feeble attempts turn my focus toward God and it's there that God meets me. What helps you to experience God's peace?

Shalom

“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:17-18)

The Hebrew word shalom speaks of deep peace, of being whole and at ease, both externally and internally. It is an inherently social word. Though it can refer to inner peace experienced as an individual, it is much more than personal serenity or peace of mind. Shalom encompasses the well-being, wholeness and harmony that should ideally infuse relationships within a biblical community. What is something you could tangibly do to cultivate more shalom in your relationships and community?

Are you patient?

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry (Psalm 40:1). What is your gut response to David’s words? Does this verse stimulate faith within you or does it raise questions or resistance? When I read this verse I’m aware that I simply don’t wait very patiently. But how about if we replaced ‘patiently’ in the verse above with ‘waiting’? Waiting, I waited for the Lord... is literally what the Hebrew says. ‘Waiting, I waited’ gives a whole different tone to the verse. It also tells us something about David's posture in waiting.

Waiting, he waited. Actively. Expectantly. Waiting, we wait also. On the edge of our seats. Standing, looking at the horizon like the father waiting in hope that his son will return home. Anticipating in faith that God will come through, though we don’t know when deliverance will come. Counting on the Lord's faithfulness because we know he keeps his covenant promises. And perhaps that is what being patient means after all.

You might want to read Psalm 40, starting with ‘Waiting, I waited’ and consider how this idea of expectant waiting opens up the meaning of the psalm for you. You also might want to visit faithful waiting to read some personal testimonies on the subject. (While you're there, feel free to add a story of your own.)

Love is patient

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged (1 Cor 13:4-5).

These words from Paul’s timeless description of love also equally describe the virtue of patience...or the lack of it. When I am being impatient, these qualities often rear their ugly heads in my behaviour. 1 Corinthians 13 offers a mirror for how the fruit of patience and love are developing in our hearts. How about taking a look into this mirror today?

Job's patience

What does it take to develop patience? Have you ever prayed for patience and then wished you hadn’t? Patience is best developed within the refining fires of stretching circumstances, and who would wish for those!?

Job is the Bible character who embodies patience in the old rendering of the word: long-suffering. If anyone has suffered long and endured it, Job has. His long-suffering proved his faithfulness, another fruit of the spirit quite inseparable from patience.

I recommend a book on suffering by Michael Card, author of A Sacred Sorrow. It might change your view of tears, of Job, and of long-suffering completely.

The kind ones

The church fathers record that early Christians were spoken of as ‘the kind ones’. It seemed that people who didn’t know about the Christ but came in contact with his followers mixed up the Greek word for Christ, christos, with chrestos, meaning ‘kind’. What a lovely mistake! Belief in the gospel had so transformed the early Christians that they became renowned for the kindness they showed to others.

What do you think it would take for Christians today to be transformed into people renowned for their kindness?

Reciprocal kindness

Made alive with Christ because of God's great love for us. Recipients of the incomparable riches of God's grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:4-7). Can you fathom the extent of God's kindness expressed to you? What intentional acts of kindness could you do this week as an expression of your gratitude to the Lord?

Love hesed

He has shown you what is good, and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love hesed, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8). Hesed is a beautiful Hebrew word which is so rich with meaning that it’s hard to translate. Translators try their best to bring across the nuances which the word ‘love’ simply can’t contain. They employ words like: kindness, mercy, loving kindness, steadfast love, great love, loyal love, goodness and devotion. Insert your favourite word for hesed in Micah 6:8 and carry it around with you today.

The Good Shepherd

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep." (Jn 10:11) If we want to cultivate goodness in our lives, what better source can we look to but Jesus? What characteristics about Jesus would you like to emulate within your environment today?

Goodness thrives in the light

Being in the light means immersing yourself in goodness, righteousness and truth. (Eph 5:9) There is no fruit in the darkness, for how can fruit grow in the dark? Stay in the light. Walk in the light. Give to others in the light. Rest in the light. It is there in the light that your goodness will grow.

Faithfulness rooted in God

When you have grown weary and are wondering if you have the strength to stay faithful, remember this: Our God is too great to fail, but he is also not too great to care. That's a quote from The Incomparable God.

Poetic harmony

Such sweet harmony in this poetry, and surely something to strive toward ....
Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
Psalm 85:9-10

Gentle Jesus

Who could provide us with a better example of gentleness than Jesus himself? This characteristic is reflected throughout his ministry but one of the choicest texts is Matthew 11:28-30. Jesus' promise of receiving weary souls with gentleness provides a lovely, tangible assurance of his posture toward us. Thank Jesus today for his gentleness toward you.

Upside down virtues

The Greek word for gentleness is also rendered meekness and humility, and the terms are quite interchangeable. The New Testament presents an upside down kingdom where the humble are exalted, the meek inherit the earth and gentleness is a fundamental virtue. Pride and power have no place.

Meekness defined as 'strength under control, tinged with a spirit of caring' finds its inspiration in Jesus, and sure is different from our culture's concept of the term. How does meekness equalling strength under control speak to you?

A parable on humility

Picture the scene: With the temple as a backdrop, the temple courts are filled with worshipers…The camera closes in on a Pharisee, dressed in his finery and religious piety, standing to pray…Feel his self-righteousness and contempt for the despised tax collector who stands a healthy stone’s throw away…The tax collector, dressed also in the finery of a wealthy man, aware of the manner in which he became rich, humbly cries out for mercy…Jesus looks upon them both, wishes that the Pharisee would wake up to his blind pride and repent…and receives the humble tax collector as justified before the Father.

Definition of self-control

Greek view = Control of self by the self for self’s sake
Christian view = Control of self by the Spirit for the gospel’s sake

Spirit-control

It is important not to be duped into ‘Greek thinking’ in our Christian growth, trying harder and working smarter and going to great lengths to get our persistent habits and behaviours, addictions and compulsions under control. We have another power – from outside of ourselves – which makes victorious living possible.

By the light of the moon

For a 2nd time David had his enemy Saul in his grip. With Abishai, one of his ‘three mighty men’ at his side, David’s days of being a fugitive would have been history if he only he had ended Saul’s life. Yet he restrained himself – and Abishai with him.

They’d snuck into Saul’s camp and Abishai asks permission to run Saul through. Imagine the tension in the air. Wonder about what may have been running through David’s head. When David had suggested going down to the enemy’s camp, do you think he’d had other ideas than simply sneaking off with a couple of Saul’s possessions?

David was a model of self-control that night. (1 Samuel 26)

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a similar series:
The Inner Voice of Love
Refreshed!
my blog
Spiritual refreshment page





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