But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22
Last week we learned that one of the best ways to thwart an attack of the enemy is to remain in the light. What is the light? It is the perfect will and presence of God. Not always an easy task, but so worth it.
Today, I'm going to deal with something similar to the light, yet instead of it being a defensive weapon, what I'm talking about today is an offensive one.
As we grow in our knowledge of the Father and our walk with the Lord, as we learn to recognize His voice and obey Him, as we are consistently filled with His Spirit, He changes our hearts, and soon, we find that fruits are growing within us that we never expected. Those fruits are listed in the Scripture above. Soon, you will find you are more joyful than you used to be. If you used to be a worry-wort, you'll find your heart is more at peace. If you used to be impatient, slowly but surely, you'll become more patient. Your thoughts will gravitate toward good things instead of bad You'll be more kind, loyal, and gentle with people. And when temptation strikes, you'll have more self-control. Of course in each of us who are truly following Jesus, these qualities will be found in various degrees. We are all at different levels, different paths in our walk. But, I would say that if someone has been walking with the Lord for, let's say, twenty years, and you don't see any of these traits, I'd wonder if they are truly saved at all. Anyway, I digress.
Did you know that these fruits, these spiritual qualities, can be used as an offensive weapon against the enemy?
In Matthew 10, Jesus gathered the twelve disciples and sent them out 2 by 2 to witness to the people, heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons. He gave them further instructions
Whatever city or village you enter, ask who in it is worthy who welcomes you and your message, and stay at his house until you leave that city. As you go into the house, give it your greeting that is, ‘Peace be to this house’.
If the family living in the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace . But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.
If Peace is something to give and take back, it seems it may be something more tangible and powerful than we think. In fact, Jesus goes on to say that if His disciples have to take back their peace, they should shake the dust off their shoes when they leave that town, and it will be better for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement than for that town.
Have you ever walked into a home or a store or building and felt something bad in your spirit? I describe it as a "yuky" feeling. Have you ever walked into a home and instantly felt the strife of the people living there? I have. The truth is, demons of strife, hatred, selfishness, bitterness, unforgiveness and a host of others love to enter homes and stir up as many problems as they can.
What is the best way to deflate and end an argument? Is it to continue to defend your point of view, to convince others you are right? Or is it to love, to be kind, to give in, to be gentle, to control your temper? You'll find that if you act in the fruits of the Spirit, the argument ends rather quickly and tensions flee. Why? Because the devil and his demons HATE the fruits of the Spirit. Joy and love and peace and kindness....etc, are MORE POWERFUL than hate and envy and strife and bitterness. God's laws are always higher laws than the enemy's laws, and hence, when taken out and used, they will always defeat the enemy's plans. (I'm not talking about being a doormat for anyone. I know each situation is different. Take your leading for the Spirit. If your offer of peace and reconciliation is denied and the person still insists on stirring up strike, walk away.)
You see, when you are operating in the fruits of the Spirit, the enemy has no weapon to defeat you. He has to retreat and take his minions with him.
- Love always beats hate
- Peace always beats strife
- Joy always beats sorrow
- Patience always beats impatience
- Kindness always beats cruelty
- Goodness always beats evil
- Gentleness always beast harshness
- Faithfulness always beats betrayal
- Self-control always beats lack of restraint
I recently heard a story by a pastor I listen to, John Fenn, and he said that when he and his wife were first married, they would go spend holidays at her parent's home. Her parents weren't saved at the time and they were both alcoholics who fought like cats and dogs. He said that every time they spent time there, he and his wife would start fighting too, yet this was something they never did at home. Finally, he recognized that the demons in the home were affecting he and his wife, so the next time they went to visit, he took authority over the demons in the name of Jesus and asked the Lord to fill the home with His peace and to use he and his wife as conduits for the fruits of the Spirit. The result was miraculous. Not only did he and his wife stop fighting, but her parents did too! Eventually, they both got saved as well.
My point is, remember, that as you walk with the Lord and the fruits of the Spirit mature in your life, you are armed with a myriad of weapons. These weapons can be used to deflate arguments, end strife, bring cheer, heal memories, and scatter the enemy. I like to picture the mature believer as he or she would be seen in the spirit realm, a warrior walking in bright column of impenetrable light, armed with swords, knifes, axes, cutlass and shields. And out in front a sharp sword (which we will talk about next week)
So, don't neglect to use the weapons God has given you and when the situation calls for it, pull out that peace, that joy, that kindness.... etc. and watch the enemy scatter!
Next week, your sword and how to use it!