So, we have been looking at those nine virtues that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives, known as the Fruit of the Spirit. And these are located in Galatians 5:22-23, where the apostle Paul says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Now one thing we have learned about the fruit of the Spirit is that since these nine virtues manifest God’s character in our lives, we should see that character in the Christian’s life is a major part of what the Holy Spirit is meant to manifest in us. And the truth is, these nine virtues are the fruit that someone is truly living a spiritual life. Yes, as we’ve learned, these fruit are the tell-tale sign of whether someone is spiritual of not. No, it’s not how much we speak in tongues or how many miracles we see in our lives; it’s how much we genuinely love people and how much joy & peace we are producing in our lives. Therefore, the fruit of the Spirit are the fruit of true spirituality.
Now in part one of this series, we basically did an overview of these gifts and saw how one bears this fruit of the Spirit in their lives: We learned that the process of fruitfulness was God’s original design. And what Jesus did for us, was not place us back in the Garden, but place the Garden back in us—that is, He provided a way for us become spiritually alive again, and in doing so, the life in the Garden has become our inheritance. Therefore, we are meant to live free from that curse that the First Adam had given to him after his sin—that with labor and toil he would have to gain fruit from the ground. No, now we can freely eat the fruit from the trees in the Garden! But we still need to steer clear from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—that is, the law and trying to “work” in order to be fruitful. No, the Tree of Life—the Cross of Christ—is what has done the work for us. Now we can simply live a life of freedom, producing this fruit by His grace working in us. Amen!
Church, this is how the Lord has designed for us to live the Christian life. We are not machines that “work,” manufacturing this fruit. No, we are fruit bearing trees that organically produce fruit for the glory of God. It is not meant to be arduous or laborious. Rather it is meant to be free-flowing, natural producing of these virtues in our life because of Who we are abiding in and Who we have abiding in us. No longer are we to produce fruit through our labor and toil; now we produce fruit simply through abiding in the Paradise of His presence. Amen!
We saw that this is what Jesus described to us in John 15:1-8, when He taught His disciples the principle of abiding in Himself, the True Vine. In this parable, Jesus was illustrating to them (and us) what life is to be like in the kingdom—which is, simply a product of staying attached to Jesus and letting His presence produce fruit in us and through us.
You see, you never see a branch struggling to produce fruit. In fact, the way this planet operates is that a branch has sap pumped into it from the vine, which forces the branch to produce fruit. Therefore, there is no “white-knuckling” it involved in bearing fruit. The branch automatically produces fruit simply by abiding in its vine.
So, this is the foundation of what we are learning regarding the fruit of the Spirit—that this character does not “stem” from hard work, discipline and will power. No, it is produced primarily through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and through the new birth.
But what we learned is that there is a reason Paul called these nine virtues the fruit (singular) of the Spirit (lower case or capitalized “s”):
We saw that Paul used the term “fruit” singular, which I believe shows us that these nine characteristics of the Spirit are like a cluster of grapes, but the same fruit. Therefore, unlike the gifts (plural) of the Spirit, we cannot say this one has this fruit and that one has that fruit. No, every follower of Christ is expected to produce all nine of these virtues in their life.
We also learned that these are called the fruit of the Spirit because they are the fruit of a spiritually alive and Spirit-empowered life. You see, you could make a case that the fruit of the Spirit are the fruit of our newborn, recreated spirit just like you can say that they are the fruit of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within us. The reason being is because he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. So, if I am born of the Spirit and have been baptized in the Spirit, then the Holy Ghost and my reborn spirit are working together to produce this fruit. Amen!
Therefore, if we back up and consider the context of Galatians chapter 5, we discover that this fruit Paul is describing is the fruit of both walking in the Spirit (see verse 16) and being led by the Spirit (see verse 18). In other words, as we live our lives in the realm of the Holy Spirit and are led, directed and guided by Him, these nine virtues will be the by-product. Amen?
So, church, just like it was in the beginning when God set into motion the process of fruitfulness, fruit yields “according to its kind.” I like how the New Living Translation says this in Genesis 1:11. It says, “from which they came.” In other words, a fruit tree is only going to produce the fruit, and the seed in that fruit, from the seed from which they came. So, we learned that the reason it is called the fruit of the Spirit is because it is fruit that is according to His kind, or you could say, it is the fruit that came directly from the seed of the Spirit.
Therefore, with these nine virtues being called the fruit of the Spirit, they are attributes of God. Yes, saints, by possessing the fruit of the Spirit, we have love within us—but not only that; He is also joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. This is the nature of God, and therefore, is to become our nature as well.
So, we summarized all of this in three words—that in order to be fruitful, we must be “born.” We must “abide,” and we must “behold”: Yes, we must first be born again—receiving the nature that contains all nine of these virtues. Then we must yield to the presence and power of the Lord Jesus and His Holy Spirit to where the Lord is infusing us with the supernatural ability to exhibit these qualities in our lives on a consistent basis. That is the abiding part. And finally, we need to behold the One who possesses this fruit and let His example reflect in our own lives. Amen.
So, last week, we began studying these nine virtues, but not in the traditional order. We began with two of the fruit sandwiched in the middle of Paul’s list— the fruits kindness and goodness. And we first saw that these are sister fruits because they are so similar. However, we saw that there must be a difference if the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to mention them both as two distinct fruit of the Spirit.
I said last week that I see “kindness” as more of the attitude by which we do things for people. “Goodness,” on the other hand, is what I believe to be the action accompanying the right attitude that we possess. But my point was that these two fruit of the Spirit work hand in hand. However, here is what we must all agree on: both kindness and goodness are to be produced in our lives seeing as they are fruit of the Spirit. In other words, Paul is describing two virtues that we can see evidence of in one’s life and are not just what a person is versus what they do. No, every believer is called to both be kind and do kind things, to be good and do good things.
We saw that the dictionary defines the word “kindness” as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Therefore, I said that I see kindness as looking kind, being kind, and thinking kind—meaning, a person producing the fruit of kindness in their life has a kind look on their face, thinks kind thoughts in their mind, and regularly practices kind actions in their life.
And we saw this is exactly how God is kind Himself: Yes, God’s kindness was Him giving us His very best (see Ephesians 2:7). It is the manifestation of His kindness that helps people to change directions (Romans 2:4). So, kindness is not merely an attitude or an intention; kindness is a tangible fruit of God that we have all experienced.
We learned that “kindness” describes someone who is useful, manageable, or employed by the Lord. So, if we want to be used of the Lord, then kindness is a great way to do so.
We also learned that to be kind is to be motivated by compassion. And we constantly see Jesus doing the kind things that He did in the Gospels because of the compassion that moved Him. We saw from the example of the feeding of the four thousand, that in order to be kind and compassionate, we must be conscientious and considerate. Yes, we cannot only be wrapped up in our own world, only aware of our own needs. No, we must think about others and then, not just think kind thoughts, but act on them. Therefore, the fruit of kindness is an action, not just an intention. It ought to be our faith on display and manifested. Amen?
Then we looked at kindness’ sister fruit—the fruit of goodness—and learned that this fruit describes being “beneficial.” Therefore, it paints the picture of a benefactor, which would describe one who possesses great wealth. Therefore, I described bearing the fruit of “goodness” as us being more “generous, liberal and charitable with our finances, time, or energy” like a “benefactor” graciously gives of him or herself to bless others.
So, we learned from this that if we are going to be full of the fruit of goodness in our lives, then it helps to receive God’s goodness in our lives. In other words, the more we receive what God has provided, the “gooder” we can become by having the means to meet people’s need and grant their desires.
And again, we saw that our Lord and Savior Jesus bore this fruit of goodness as well: We are told in Acts 10:38 that He went about “doing good” and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. So sure, Jesus performed miracles and healed thousands of people during His earthly ministry, but what people don’t talk about as much is all the good that He did aside from those spectacular things. Yes, Jesus bore an abundance of goodness in His life and ministry along with the healings and miracles He performed.
You see, we learned that since Jesus had a treasurer, He must have had some money. And we saw that Jesus had a reputation for doing good to those in need at all hours of the day. So, Jesus was apparently bearing the fruit of goodness all the time!
And so, we ended last week by learning how both of these fruit do not come by accident. No, kindness and goodness do not just fall on us like apples out of a tree. Like it is with growing specific fruit in our gardens, we have to plan to produce the fruits of kindness and goodness. The truth is—if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.
So, we learned how to do this: We saw that we can do this by maybe starting each day asking the Lord to help us be more kind and to be good to the people we come in contact with. Then, we can begin thinking of ways that we can exhibit this kindness to those in our lives. Yes, we can strategically stir up good and kind works in our lives. How? By doing what Hebrews 10:24 says, “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.”
So, in regard to this, let me ask you: How many books have you read on the fruit of the Spirit? How many studies have you done on the various fruit of the Spirit? I believe we can look at our libraries and see what we are producing in our lives. So, we ought to study up on these things and by doing so, make place in our lives for them.
And, glory to God, we saw what the other fruit of doing things like this consistently will be: We will begin producing more joy and peace in our lives as well! Why? Because we are spending more time thinking of how we can be good and kind to others rather than how others can be more good and kind to us. Amen?
So, let’s move on this week into another couple of fruit of the Spirit. This week, I would like us to look at the fruits of longsuffering and faithfulness.
PATIENCE VERSUS LONGSUFFERING
Let’s begin with longsuffering: Now some translations use the word “patience” here, but I like the New King James version’s translation of “longsuffering” better, and here is why:
For one, the Greek word Paul used here in Galatians 5:22 (Greek makrothumia) is translated “longsuffering” many more times than it is patience. But the main reason I like the translation “longsuffering” better as it pertains to this fruit of the Spirit is because when you do a word study of “patience” and “longsuffering,” what you find is interesting.
You see, almost every time this word for “longsuffering” is used, it is used in connection with someone being patient with someone else. However, with the word for “patience” (oftentimes the translation of the word hupomeno), it is often used in connection with being patient in circumstances. Therefore, I believe that the difference between these two Greek terms is that one (the one that is listed as a fruit of the Spirit, mind you) is patience in regard to people (i.e. makrothumia) and the other (i.e. hupomeno) is enduring circumstances. In other words, I think it is safe to assume that there is a patience that is used with people and that is called “longsuffering” and there is a patience that is used with circumstances and that is called “endurance.”
However, while longsuffering is certainly similar in nature to patience, the primary difference between these two virtues is that longsuffering keeps one from anger, wrath, etc. and patience keeps one from moving when the pressure is put on (Greek hupomeno— “staying under power”). So, longsuffering is not moved by negative emotions while patience is not moved by negative circumstances.
Now is it incorrect to say that we can be patient with people? Certainly not! But since there are different words that were used in those days to describe how one patiently endures both people and things, I believe it is important for us to have different terms in order to make a distinction. However, based on the verbiage we use in our culture today, a better translation would be “patience” because the term “longsuffering” is not a commonly used word today.
But this is where it gets interesting: As I stated already, the fruit of the Spirit which we call “longsuffering” comes from the Greek word makrothumia and comes from two words. The prefix is makros, which simply means “long”, and the other word is thumos, which describes “passionate anger or wrath.” So, when you combine these two words together, you see a person described that takes a “long” time to get “mad” or you could say they are slow to anger.
When it comes to makrothumia, I like to use the analogy of a stick of dynamite. But not just any ordinary stick of dynamite, but one that has a tremendously long fuse (i.e. that string that one lights on fire to ignite the dynamite). So, because its fuse is so long, you can “burn” it for a long time before it will ever “explode” on you. Therefore, the believer who is producing this virtue in his or her life is extremely “patient & forbearing” with others.
We see this described in Ephesians 4:2 when Paul says, “with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” In other words, it is with longsuffering that we bear with one another in love. So, the fruit of longsuffering enables one to bear with others because of their love for them. You see, the lack of being able to “bear” it, is a lack of longsuffering. But again, it is not bearing with them with gritted teeth; it is bearing with them in love.
LOVE IS LONGSUFFERING
Now as it is with all of the fruit of the Spirit, we can see God in all of these virtues—and that is certainly the case with this fruit.
For example, we see in First Corinthians 13:4, the very first description we have of love is that it “suffers long…” And as we have seen, since God is love, then God suffers long. Therefore, a major characteristic of God’s loving nature is longsuffering, or we could say, longsuffering is at the forefront of Love’s characteristics.
We see this in Peter’s letters. (And why? Because he was a man who was in desperate need of this longsuffering nature of God. Amen?) In First Peter 3:20, he describes how it was “divine longsuffering” that had God wait in the days of Noah before bringing the flood on the earth. And even with the extreme depravity of man in those days, the Lord gave them an additional 120 years before judging the world. In Second Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Peter goes on, in this chapter, to describe this “longsuffering” of God as the grace & mercy He gives us until His Second Coming. The fact is, if it were not for this “divine longsuffering,” many of us would not still be here.
You see, God in His longsuffering gives us much more time than we can fathom. When OUR patience is running out, HIS is just getting started! Isn’t the Lord described in the Scriptures as being “slow to anger”? Now this is not our version of doing something slowly. For instance, in the Book of Revelation, Jesus said, “Behold I am coming quickly!” right? Now He said that how long ago? Around 2,000 years, right? So, if 2,000-plus years is God doing something “quickly,” what is Him doing something “slowly”? Selah.
Romans 2:4 also describes this “divine longsuffering” when Paul said, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”
We see in this verse that things like God’s kindness, forbearance & longsuffering are the fruit of His goodness. And the point Paul was making right here was that when we bear this fruit, it leads others to change. Thus, the importance of bearing the fruit of longsuffering: it helps others change.
For example, Peter talked about how this is one of the ways how a wife can win her husband to the Lord (see First Peter 3:1-2)—by the fruit she’s producing in her life. So, do you suppose if I bear the fruit of longsuffering in my life, it might help convert someone? I guarantee you it can—for it’s the manifestation of God’s goodness (in us and through us) that leads man to repentance.
ACCORDING TO HIS POWER
Now as we look at God’s fruit of longsuffering and also because longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit, that means it is not just something we can work up on our own. No, it, like all of the fruit of the Spirit comes from the fruit of a spiritually alive and Spirit-empowered life.
While there are certainly some things that we can do to help us become more patient with others, such as a changed perspective and a renewed focus (we will look at some of these things momentarily), the fact is that if we are going to produce the fruit of God’s longsuffering, we are going to need help.
In fact, in Colossians chapter one, Paul was praying for this church and said that he desired that they be “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.” (Colossians 1:11). In other words, this prayer was for the supernatural strength and power of God to be poured into a believer’s life which would enable them “for all patience and longsuffering with joy.” So, if you and I are going to produce all of the patience (for every difficult circumstance) and all of the longsuffering (for every difficult person), then we are going to need God’s strength to do it—particularly, in order to be joyful while enduring.
So, yes, it is going to take the Holy Spirit’s help in us producing this fruit to the degree that we ought. However, like I said, there is still a part we have to play in producing this fruit. Let me explain:
GOOD GROUND FOR LONGSUFFERING
You see, like there are certain types of soil that produce certain types of fruit better, there is a particular type of soil that best produces the fruit of longsuffering. Let me give you a couple of characteristics of this type of heart:
In Colossians 3:12, the apostle Paul says, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;” Notice here that there are virtues—one being the fruit of longsuffering—that are “put on” by us. The words “put on” literally describe clothing oneself. And like it is with the putting on of clothes in this physical life, the first step to wearing them is a mentality (i.e. determining what we are going to wear). How many of you went over to your closet this morning and the clothes you are now wearing jumped off the hangers and onto your body? No, you had to choose to put them on. So, just as your clothes didn’t choose you, but you choose them, neither will the fruit of longsuffering choose you; you must choose it.
Therefore, in order to wear the fruit of longsuffering in my life, it is going to take a certain attitude and mentality. So, let me give you a couple of things that help one to have the proper mindset to wearing this particular fruit:
First of all, in Matthew chapter 18, we see in Jesus’ Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, how the servant goes from asking his master to be longsuffering with him to then hearing his brother pleading the same from him and showing no patience with him.
What we can gather from this is that one of the reasons we don’t “suffer long” with others is because we are not being mindful to how “longsuffering” God has been with us. Therefore, it helps me to cultivate the ground of my heart for this fruit by consciously remembering how patient the Lord has been with me and the great debt He has dismissed in my own personal life.
The apostle Paul understood this well: In First Timothy 1:16, he described his life & ministry as showing all of God’s longsuffering in order to teach all who would turn to Christ after him how longsuffering God will be with them. In other words, God’s own longsuffering in his life propelled Paul into a state of being longsuffering himself (Compare Second Timothy 3:10).
So, both being the receiver of God’s patience and living in the awareness of how much He has suffered long with us is a key to cultivating the ground of our heart, but there are some other good ways of thinking that will help as well:
Pastor James uses this same word for “longsuffering” in James 5:7 when he says, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.”
Here we see James using the analogy of a farmer as being patient with his seed in order to describe how we are to suffer long in things. You see, one thing that I believe helps in producing longsuffering is understanding the process of patience. Like it is with seedtime & harvest, we understand that there is a natural process to the time between our sowing and our reaping. And we have seen how children, who do not understand how it takes time for a seed to grow and produce, want to dig those seeds up when it seemingly doesn’t do anything after a day or two, right? But do you have a problem when you plant a seed producing patience and longsuffering while you wait for it to come to maturity. Of course, you don’t. And why? It is because you know there is a process to the harvest coming to pass. Therefore, you are prepared to wait until harvest time by wisdom and understanding.
Likewise, I think if we would understand that there is a similar process in sowing & reaping in both our own lives and in other’s lives, we would be more apt to produce longsuffering and patience. For example, if I am dealing with a difficult person, and I know that I am sowing good seed into them, I should know that it is just a matter of time before the harvest comes. And if I believe that longsuffering is a by-product, I know I will reap if I faint not and I am faithful to water that seed.
Which leads me to the next fruit of the Spirit that I want us to cover today—the fruit of faithfulness …
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FAITH AND FAITHFULNESS
Now for some of us, we have known this particular fruit of the Spirit to be “faith” because this is the way the original King James Version translated it. And while the Greek word here, in fact, is the common word used for faith in the New Testament (The Greek word pistis), in the context here, it likely conveys more of the idea of a person who is faithful. The reason is because we mainly see moral and character qualities being described with the rest of the fruit of the Spirit Paul describes. Not to mention, the vast majority of translations we have today translate this word as “faithfulness” which indicates to me that most Greek scholars lean towards the belief that this particular fruit of the Spirit is describing someone who, through their faith, is reliable and loyal—that is, he or she is trustworthy, dependable, dedicated, consistent and unwavering in their dealings with others.
However, I will say that I do not believe there is a big difference between one’s faith in God and faithfulness towards man. Why do you say this, pastor? It is because God’s faithfulness is what we put our faith in. You see, we can only believe a God who is faithful to do what He says He will do and that has done what He says He has done. If He vacillates in His character, how can we depend on Him and know what He is going to do. Therefore, this is why I believe our faith in God is rooted in God’s faithfulness.
Likewise, I also believe the faithfulness we exhibit in our lives is a result of our faith in Him. Let me explain: If I truly believe God, I myself will be a reliable and dependable person. I’ll say it this way: if I trust God, I will be trustworthy myself.
Someone might ask—How is that? Let me give you an example: if I believe God put me somewhere, then my faith in His assignment will cause me to stay planted there until He says something else. If He has called me to perform a certain task, then I will be dedicated to that calling. On a seemingly smaller level, if God gives me commandments like seek first the kingdom of God with my finances, then I will consistently and unwaveringly be faithful to put the Lord first with my finances.
So, one cannot separate our faithfulness in life from our faith in the Lord. Here is a faithful statement and worthy of all acceptance: God’s faithfulness is what our faith is rooted in, and our faithfulness is the fruit of the faith we have in Him.
CAN PEOPLE BELIEVE ME?
On that note, do you how we could summarize what it means to be faithful? Like so: Can people believe in you? For example, if you told someone you would be there in 30 minutes, do you show up 45 minutes later? If you promised someone you would come help them with something, do you back out at the last minute simply because you didn’t find it convenient?
I’m sure we all have failed in areas like this at one time or another, and there is certainly no need for condemnation for our past mistakes—for we cannot change our past, but we can change our future. So, my point is, we need to start today endeavoring to produce more of the fruit of faithfulness in our life until we are perfectly reflecting the faithfulness of God.
Yes, church, we need to grow to become a man or woman that does exactly what they say they are going to do (i.e. dependable) and has done exactly what they say they have done (i.e. trustworthy).
Again, this is why we are told time and time again in the Bible that God is faithful. In fact, great is His faithfulness! What this is essentially communicating to us is that we can believe in Him. Yes, He will do what He says He will do!
For example, we have promise after promise in the Scriptures that tell us that He will never leave us nor forsake us, and that God is always with us, abiding with us forever. Well, if God was unfaithful, then one day He might be there and the next day, He might not. But no, since He is the epitome of faithfulness, then we know He is there even if we don’t perceive Him with our senses. For one to believe that God is not there with them at a current stage in their life is essentially calling Him “unfaithful.” Now I know they don’t like to think that is what they are saying, but that is what we are saying when we believe God is not doing what He said He would do. It’s tight but it’s right. Glory!
But we know God is faithful! We know we can put our trust in Him, amen? We know He will do what He said He will do!
Likewise, we need to reflect the same attribute of faithfulness in our lives as well. People need to know that we are dependable. Folks need to understand that we are trustworthy and reliable. The world needs to know that we absolutely will not lie to them. And the reason this is so important is because we are the only Bible some people will ever read. We are being read, saints!
Haven’t you ever noticed how the ungodly knows when a Christian is being hypocritical? Yes, they know when we are being unfaithful more than we do in a lot of cases. This is why we need to produce the fruit of God’s faithfulness in our lives—so that by people seeing they can believe in us, they can believe on Him.
Now again, a faithful person can be described in several ways: For one, he or she does what they say they are going to do. In other words, a faithful person tells the truth—even swearing to their own hurt. Another characteristic of a faithful person is that he or she is always there. In other words, they are going to be there with you through thick & thin. They are not going to quit on you and be quick to forsake you. Yes, a faithful person is a committed, loyal person. On that note, another characteristic of a faithful person is that they are responsible and dependable. For example, a faithful worker is one who not only shows up for work, but does a good job when they are there.
THE REWARDS OF FAITHFULNESS
And like we see in the world today at many institutions, faithfulness is one of the most rewarded fruit in the kingdom of God. Yes, it is arguably the most lauded fruit that we can produce in our lives. No, it is not necessarily always recognized by man, but it is always praised by God.
Do you remember the statement Jesus said He would speak to those servants who served Him well in this life? He said, “Well done you good and faithful servant.” (see Matthew 25:21) This is what we want the Lord to say to us on that Day! This shows us that the fruit of faithfulness is one of the primary things that God is looking for in us, His servants.
Yes, church, this is why we want the Lord to say this to us in that Day. This shows us that the fruit of faithfulness is one of the primary things that God is looking for in us, His servants.
And the Lord saying this to us on that Day is not the only reward of faithfulness. The Bible teaches us that a faithful man abounds with blessings not only in the next life but in this one as well (see Proverbs 28:20). We are also taught that it is the faithful person who is rewarded with greater responsibilities (see Second Timothy 2:2). Paul himself said that he was called and enabled by God because he was counted faithful (see First Timothy 1:12).
So, the Lord obviously considers faithfulness as one of the most essential fruits to being entrusted with a greater stewardship. Thus, He recognizes the good and faithful servant at His Second Coming.
And on that note, what is interesting to me about this is these are arguably the two most common virtues God has ascribed to Him throughout the Bible—goodness & faithfulness. Yes, we see hear time and time again that “God is good” and “God is faithful.” So, I believe Jesus will, in essence, be telling His servants this— “Well done you good and faithful servant—for you produced My fruit on the earth. Verily, verily I say unto you what is said of Me— You are good. You are faithful.”
So, in conclusion, we need to be mindful that these two fruit—the fruit of longsuffering and faithfulness—are to be exhibited in our lives. Therefore, we ought to keep them before us—first, by focusing on God’s patient and faithful nature and, secondly, by considering them in our own lives. Then, we are making place for them in us. Again, these characteristics of God given by the Holy Spirit are obviously not growing on us like trees. No, they must be pursued—no, not with fleshly energy, but by cooperating with the Holy Spirit within us.
Let’s determine to become more faithful, church! Let’s aim to become more longsuffering with one another! For these virtues, while not as esteemed by the church as some of the others, are two of the most rewarding fruit we can bear. Amen.