Note from Team LO: We are SO excited to bring you this month’s post from our LO Fam member, Marissa Michaud! If you want to be a part of this incredible community, the doors are open for you this week! Join the Fam today!
My relationships with my friends and family are so important to me. For a lot of people reading this, I bet you feel the same as I do.
When I joined the LO Fam, I was pumped. When I got the email that the Fam was open for new members for one week, I signed up immediately. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even think about it, I just went for it. And I’m so glad I did it, the encouragement and evidence of God has been so amazing. However, I think my favorite part about the LO Fam is the Prayer Wall. This gives us the opportunity to talk about our struggles, ask for prayer and pray for one another. I love that so much!
But something about that Prayer Wall caught my eye and grabbed my full attention.
Sister after sister kept asking for prayer over the rocky relationship issues they were having with friends, family members and in romantic relationships. And yeah, it happens. We all have issues in our relationships at some points, it seems pretty inevitable. But as I scrolled and scrolled through the prayer requests asking for prayer over relationships, I thought to myself. What are we missing here?
For the rest of the evening on that day, that thought kept poking at my mind. I wanted to know, what are we missing in our relationships that causes them to crumble? Because we’re Christians. Shouldn’t we know how to have good relationships because we have Jesus? I mean, yeah, we mess up sometimes. But what keeps breaking them?
The next morning, God woke me up at 1:25am and told me why. It’s because we forget about the Spiritual Gifts He’s given us. Particularly, the Fruit of the Spirit.
But that wasn’t all that God showed me.
Did you know that the Fruit of the Spirit are written in the order that they occur in a relationship? Paul did that on purpose. Did you ever realize that before? I didn’t. It absolutely blew me away when that realization hit. It’s amazing, the things that God will tell you at 1:25 in the morning.
Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
- Love. The beginning of a real relationship, whether it be family, friend or a romantic relationship, is love. First you meet the person, you like the person and you grow to love them.
- Joy. When you grow to love a person, you experience joy from being around them and their presence brings happiness. And to you all who dearly loves someone, you know this is true!
- Peace. Joy brings peace, I know that from experience. Because joy brings about a feeling of being content, happy and full – and that’s pretty much the definition of peace right there.
- Patience. Think about it, peace follows patience because we’re patient when we’re at peace. I know it’s wordy, but that’s the truth! The opposite of peace would be war, anxiety, inner conflict or conflict with others. Are we ever patient when we’re seriously stressed out about something? Not really, and that’s because peace is needed to bring forth patience.
- Kindness. We can’t have kindness without patience. Could you be patient and show grace to someone but be unkind in the process? Is that being patient at all? See, kindness immediately sprouts from patience.
- Goodness. This one can get confusing because I feel like we interpret goodness as a lot of different things. Isn’t it being like kind? Or, you know, being… good? What’s the point of goodness being included if we have kindness? But actually, synonyms for goodness include honesty, integrity, wholesomeness, morality and virtue. Goodness is having a strong, godly morals with an honest heart that acts in integrity. From Kindness bears goodness.
- Faithfulness. Faithfulness comes from an honest heart that lives life in integrity – it comes from goodness. Faithfulness is full devotion that has no room for betrayal. That comes from an honest heart, which comes from kindness, which comes from patience – so on and so forth.
- Gentleness. Gentleness would not be here if the other fruits weren’t first, from love to faithfulness and all in between. They all combine into a gentle heart, a gentle mind and a gentle attitude.
- Self-control. And now it all comes together and produces self-control. Because when we have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness in a relationship, self-control is manifested because we have all the fruits we need to grow in a healthy relationship. There would be no reason to lose our control. Do you now see the significance of the order of the Fruit of the Spirit? God put them in that order for such a beautiful reason.
But yet, we still mess up. Sometimes we get lost in the temptation and pressure of the world and the Spirit does not act in us. We sin, push away the spirit in hasty anger and hurt those we love. Those who give us joy and peace. Those who we treat with patience and kindness, those we treat with goodness. Those we are faithful and gentle towards.
We lose our self-control.
This is the devil trying to get us. This our sin nature. This is losing sight of the greatest love in existence: Jesus.
But the Holy Spirit is stronger. But it’s only stronger if we make the choice to love like Jesus loves us, even when the enemy keeps whispering lies into our ears that penetrate our hearts.
But friends, it all starts with love.
But it gets even better! Because Paul mentions it again:
2 Timothy 2:17 (ESV)
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Guys, Paul wrote both Galatians and 2 Timothy and he’s not fooling around with it. Paul takes the Fruit of the Spirit seriously and we’re now getting to the most important part of this blog post.
See, in Galatians, Paul tells us what the Fruit of the Spirit is. But right there in 2 Timothy, he tells us that God already gave it to us. So Paul’s saying, “Hey! This is the Fruit of the Spirit,” and then says, “Oh, you have the Spirit? Then you already have the Fruit!”
Did you hear that? You already have the Fruit if you have the Spirit!! And praise God if you already have these Fruits in your relationships!
But to you, friend, who needs help building and fixing a relationship but don’t know what to do. I have a question for you.
Do you have God in you? Is the Holy Spirit your advocate? To all the believers reading this with Jesus as your Savior, say YES!
Then let me tell you. You have the ability to fix what was lost, to build what was broken and to regrow what was burned. You are adequate and you are called to do this. Because OUR GOD IS SO GOOD and He literally gave you EVERYTHING YOU NEED to fix the broken or icy relationship. You can continue to have and grow new, godly relationships. Does this not excite you?! It excites me! Praise the Lord for giving this to us, He is so good!!
But how do you start? It all starts with love.
But it won’t fix everything in a relationship because your relationship takes more than just you doing the work. Remember what I said about still messing up? It happens to all of us because we all sin, whether we purposefully invite sin in or not. Sometimes people won’t want to fix a relationship that could be healthy, or won’t know how to fix it. Some relationships eat away at our relationship with God and that’s when it’s time to let go. Toxic relationships that do not honor God should be put to death, that’s what I’m saying here.
But don’t stop loving someone just because the healthy relationship failed, because the Spirit of Love that we receive is unconditional. It may not be the same as it was, but love those who decide to no longer love you because they are also children of God. Love them in a way where if you see them again, you will not be pained by their sight but see them as a God sees you: beloved; a work in progress; an unfinished masterpiece.
I will say it again. Because from love comes sprouts joy, which brings peace. From there grows patience and kindness where the two start working together and produce goodness. From the heart of goodness sprouts faithfulness and gentleness and self-control is born. This is the Fruit of the Spirit. These are the fruits of a good relationship.
It all starts with love.