Posted in theology, word of the week

Word of the Week: Fruit of the Spirit, Gentleness

By Elizabeth Prata

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Warren Wiersbe notes the triple triad within the verse. The first three characteristics of the fruit are love, joy, and peace. Those reflect the Godward aspect of Christian life.

The next three are patience, kindness, goodness; characteristics reflecting the manward aspect of Christian life.

Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control are aspects reflecting the selfward part of the Christian life. Below, Wiersbe’s longer explanation:

When a person lives in the sphere of love, then he experiences joy—that inward peace and sufficiency that is not affected by outward circumstances. (A case in point is Paul’s experience recorded in Phil. 4:10–20.) This “holy optimism” keeps him going in spite of difficulties. Love and joy together produce peace, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). These first three qualities express the Godward aspect of the Christian life.

The next three express the manward aspect of the Christian life: long-suffering (courageous endurance without quitting), gentleness (kindness), and goodness (love in action). The Christian who is long-suffering will not avenge himself or wish difficulties on those who oppose him. He will be kind and gentle, even with the most offensive, and will sow goodness where others sow evil. Human nature can never do this on its own; only the Holy Spirit can.

The final three qualities are selfward: faith (faithfulness, dependability); meekness (the right use of power and authority, power under control); and temperance (self-control). Meekness is not weakness. Jesus said, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29), and Moses was “very meek” (Num. 12:3); yet no one could accuse either of them of being weak. The meek Christian does not throw his weight around or assert himself. Just as wisdom is the right use of knowledge, so meekness is the right use of authority and power. The Bible Exposition Commentary, Warren Wiersbe

The word gentleness as it is used in the verse means ‘derived from the root pra-, emphasizing the divine origin of meekness (“gentle strength”) which expresses power with reserve and gentleness.’

Gentleness, ladies, does not mean doormat, but restrained power combined with kindness, peace, and the other characteristics of the fruit. That’s why the fruit of the Spirit is one fruit displaying many aspects, not many fruits.

Wiersbe again with the reason the Spirit grows the fruit in us:

We must remember that this fruit is produced to be eaten, not to be admired and put on display. People around us are starving for love, joy, peace, and all the other graces of the Spirit. When they find them in our lives, they know that we have something they lack. We do not bear fruit for our own consumption; we bear fruit that others might be fed and helped, and that Christ might be glorified. The flesh may manufacture “results” that bring praise to us, but the flesh cannot bear fruit that brings glory to God. It takes patience, an atmosphere of the Spirit, walking in the light, the seed of the Word of God, and a sincere desire to honor Christ.

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Posted in encouragement, theology

Saturday encouragement

By Elizabeth Prata

This was a good week, full of sun and laughter and good work and good food and healthy sleep and friends. My week also had back pain and financial pinch and car worries and personal irritation and professional busyness and spiritual ups and downs. But I don’t talk about those. I don’t mention them. I don’t write about them. I don’t think about them. I don’t choose to focus on the latter. I choose to focus on the former! Continue reading “Saturday encouragement”

Posted in discernment, theology

Ladies, here is how to be precious in His sight

By Elizabeth Prata

Phil Johnson has been a discerning Christian for a long time. He noted in a recent Q&A at the GraceLife Pulpit when responding to a question about women teaching and preaching, that he doesn’t know of a single seminary that has caved to culture in installing female Bible professors that hasn’t compromised in other areas soon after. It’s the same with churches and denominations. If you don’t like the clear teaching of God in the Bible in one area you’ll soon find ways to compromise on others, too, he noted. Here is a definition of an evangelical feminist (an oxymoron if there ever was one)- Continue reading “Ladies, here is how to be precious in His sight”

Posted in prophecy, theology

Viper’s eggs and longing for the light

By Elizabeth Prata

They hatch adders’ eggs; they weave the spider’s web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched. (Isaiah 59:5)

Isaiah is a tough book to read. It’s especially hard, as in my Reading Plan, you’re supposed to read 4 or 5 chapters of Isaiah at once. You’re drinking doom from a fire hose. The relentless pronouncements of judgments against an idolatrous and sinful nation makes me mourn not only for Israel past and present, but my own sin and my own nation. Tough stuff. Continue reading “Viper’s eggs and longing for the light”

Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: Diapers & Doxology, Gilley reviews Girl, What if that couple shows up? and more

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s January, a time of year I’d not enjoyed in the past, when I was living in Maine. It’s cold, frigid, dangerously cold, and snowy. And icy. And cold. Did I say cold? Here in Georgia a cold day is temps in the upper 40s and that only lasts a few days. Then it’s warm again.

I will love New Jerusalem when the temperature will always be perfect and nothing coming from the sky will hinder, annoy, or destroy. As it is, my view in my yard is pretty good for a January day: Continue reading “Prata Potpourri: Diapers & Doxology, Gilley reviews Girl, What if that couple shows up? and more”

Posted in theology, worship

Passion itself is not worship

By Elizabeth Prata

Oftentimes the method or expression of our response to preaching (i.e. ‘worship’) becomes an idol. Depending on denomination, geographic location, or even age of the believer, people express themselves in church service in various ways. That’s OK. The worrying part comes when, rather than focusing on the object of worship, the method of worship becomes the focus. Don’t let that happen. Continue reading “Passion itself is not worship”

Posted in prayer, theology

Will you or I be found dead in our prayer closet?

By Elizabeth Prata

I enjoyed listening to GraceLife Pulpit’s Q&A with Phil Johnson and Mike Riccardi. They fielded a question about what they are reading now, and what they’d recommend. They got onto the topic of prayer. Pastor Johnson said he was busy editing a book on prayer by John MacArthur, which is different in format and gist than his several other previous books on prayer. Johnson also noted that of all Christian topics, sermons or talks on prayer usually yield the biggest conviction rate, lol. I know I could do a lot better at prayer. Would we all be found dead in our prayer closet, as Puritan Thomas Watson was. Watson wrote, Continue reading “Will you or I be found dead in our prayer closet?”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Word of the Week: Fruit of the Spirit, Goodness

By Elizabeth Prata

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23).

What is goodness? If you ask most people, they would declare that they “are a good person.” But is man’s view of goodness the same as God’s? No. Continue reading “Word of the Week: Fruit of the Spirit, Goodness”