FREE Bible Study – The Fruit of the Spirit Week 5 (Final Week)

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Chapter 9 – Gentleness

Click the Youtube link to watch this week’s video.

She can’t even form a sentence yet, but I can already tell that my grand-daughter loves to cook. She’s obsessed with dishes, mixing spoons, and measuring cups. Put a bowl and a spoon in her hand, and she starts mixing away like she’s baking a cake. It doesn’t matter how many other toys I put in the box, she’ll always go back to the bowl and the spoon.

She’s like her mommy that way. In fact, I’d venture to guess that’s exactly why she does what she does. She wants to be like her mom in every way possible and she’s watched while Madison cooks.

As I got to thinking about that today I was reminded of those who love God. When we love our Father, we look to Him as we grow. We want to live as He lives, we want to love in the gentle way that He loves.

In fact, the Bible tells us to be imitators of God as beloved children:

Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2, NASB)

And, how do children imitate their parents? They follow in their footsteps as admiration leads to action. Paul doesn’t simply tell us to adore the Lord, he is telling us here to take action. To live as Christ lived and to walk in love as He loved.

I read a little parable this week about a traveler, walking down a country road, who saw a farmer out working in his field.

Hoping to find a place to rest, the traveler approached the farmer, “Are you a Christian?” He asked.

Pausing for a moment, the farmer stepped away from his plow, asked the traveler for a pen and a paper, and proceeded to write down a list of names.

“Go and ask these people,” he said, “and they will tell you.”

As I read that story, I got to thinking about my own life and the people who know me. Who would they say that I am?

Jesus says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35, NIV)

Stop and think about that for a minute, it’s not by the way that we dress or what church we attend, it’s by the way that we love. It’s the forgiving way we react to those who hurt us. It’s the goodness we bestow on those who hate us. It’s the gentle way we react to those who curse us. It’s the way we pray for those who use us. That’s how they know we belong to God. That’s how they know we are His.

The world tends to define a gentle and meek spirit as weakness, but that’s far from the truth. Flying off the handle is the easy way out—the difficult path is patient endurance. That takes inner strength. John Macarthur defines it well when he writes,

“Meekness” is a humble attitude that expresses itself in the patient endurance of offenses. “Gentleness” is a virtual synonym. It implies leniency and long-suffering. Meekness is not weakness; it is power under control. – John Macarthur

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32, NIV)

1 Peter 3:4 talks about the hidden man of the heart, which is a meek and quiet spirit, saying that they are of great price to the Lord.

A gentle person isn’t self-seeking. She’s Christ seeking. She walks away from injustice believing in the wisdom and sovereignty of God. She is strength under control, not by her own will but by the power of the Holy Spirit. A quiet spirit doesn’t stir up trouble. She knows how to stay calm under pressure, she’s non-confrontational, easy going, and even tempered.

The thing is, we can’t change the world, but we can allow God to start changing us.

Gentleness is found in many forms such as meekness, humility, and lowliness of mind. These are all things that go against our natural desire to excel and be seen in this world. We are driven by a need to be right, to be in charge and to come first, and time and again, our flesh deceives us into thinking that settling for anything less is a sign of weakness.

Take a look at this quote from GotQuestions.org, it sums up why the Jews refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah:

The Jews rejected Jesus because He failed, in their eyes, to do what they expected their Messiah to do—destroy evil and all their enemies and establish an eternal kingdom with Israel as the preeminent nation in the world. The prophecies in Isaiah and Psalm 22 described a suffering Messiah who would be persecuted and killed, but they chose to focus instead on those prophecies that discussed His glorious victories, not His crucifixion. – Got Questions.org

They wanted a king, who would rule over their enemies, but instead they saw a man who was oppressed and afflicted and brought as a lamb to the slaughter. They wanted strength, but what they thought they saw was a weak and broken man who refused to strike back.

It’s amazing what people miss out on when they refuse to open their eyes. What they failed to see, is the same thing that many people fail to see today which is the incomparable power of gentleness.

Humility, submission, and lowliness of mind can only occur when the soul is triumphant over the flesh–when our desire to come first is put aside for the good of another. Or in the case of our Savior and Lord, His desire was put aside for the good of mankind.

Let’s take a look at the following verses:

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10:17-18, KJV)

Do you see the power in those two verses? It’s incredible! There wasn’t a single moment during His life when Jesus was under the thumb of mankind. Every step that He took to the cross was a willful and deliberate act of service to His Father.

Like Christ, we are called to be gentle and meek as we submit our lives one to another. We’re called to love, and to walk in humility, esteeming others higher than ourselves. And what might that look like to us?

It’s giving up your chance to win an argument for the sake of your marriage.

It’s letting another go first in line.

It’s holding your tongue when you’d rather lash out.

It’s giving up your seat on the bus to an elderly person.

It’s allowing your husband to make choices on behalf of your family.

It’s stepping back to let others shine.

It’s forgoing a simple pleasure to buy a coat for the homeless.

It’s bathing the sick.

Pause and Reflect

Q. Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be imitators of God. What does the word imitate mean?

Q. Think about your life and the people who know you. Who would they say that you are?

Q. What sets us apart as disciples of Jesus?

Q. What adorning or ornaments does 1 Peter 3:4 tell us that we should wear?

Q. Why did the Jews refuse to accept Jesus as Messiah?

Q. If gentleness and meekness is not weakness, what is it?

Q. We see Jesus as a man who was gentle and meek. Can you think of any examples from His life?

Q. Read Isaiah 53 as it describes the gentleness of Christ. Write verse 7 out here:

Q. Can you think of a time in your life when you should have been gentle and kind but weren’t? What happened? What would you do differently now?

Q. Proverbs 15:1 tells us that harsh words stir up anger. Why do you think a gentle answer has the opposite effect? Can you think of an example?

Chapter 10 – Self Control

Click the Youtube link to watch this week’s video.

Anyone who’s been on the internet for a while has witnessed their fair share of challenges. We’ve seen the ice bucket challenge, the mannequin challenge, the planking challenge, the hot pepper challenge, and of course, the cinnamon challenge.

I didn’t have to be challenged to know how hard it is to swallow a teaspoon of cinnamon. I’ve been there and done it before. In fact, someone once told me that a teaspoon of cinnamon a day kept the calories away. And well, that someone lied.

All that a teaspoon of cinnamon did was make me choke and gasp for air and reach for milk. Trust me, it wasn’t good. But you probably know that already because I’m guessing that you’re a little bit wiser than me. Who would have thought that something so good, could be so bad? Or is it?

I’m reminded of a little verse from the book of Proverbs:

Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. (Proverbs 25:16, KJV)

And yet another one…

Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; (Proverbs 20:13, KJV)

One look at these verses reminds me, there’s nothing wrong with cinnamon, there’s nothing wrong with honey, and there’s nothing wrong with sleep. But there might be something wrong with the way that we use them. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

The Bible tells us that “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28, KJV)

You see, this isn’t so much a matter of one eating too much or sleeping too much. The question is, who’s winning the battle between our Spirit and flesh? If we’re prone to choosing the feel-good easy-way out, will we be equipped and ready to stand when the enemy comes?

Matthew Henry explains it by saying, “The man who has no command over his anger, is easily robbed of peace.” Satan seeks to rob and destroy, if we’re not protecting ourselves from the enemy, he will get in.

Self-control isn’t easy, but it has to be learned as we take up our cross. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6b, KJV)

Wikipedia defines temperance this way:

Temperance in its modern use is defined as moderation or voluntary self-restraint. It is typically described in terms of what an individual voluntarily refrains from doing. This includes restraint from revenge by practicing non-violence and forgiveness, restraint from arrogance by practicing humility and modesty, restraint from excesses such as extravagant luxury or splurging by practicing prudence, and restraint from rage or craving by practicing calmness and self-control. 

I like that definition as it encompasses temperance in its entirety. It’s not just controlling our appetites, it’s also controlling our temper, our tongue, and our flesh. It’s forgiving when it’s difficult to do so. It’s stepping back when you’re angry. It’s putting down your fork when you’ve had enough. It’s picking up your Bible each day. It’s putting your charge card back in your purse. It’s cooling your temper. It’s turning off the computer when it’s getting late. It’s speaking kindly when you want to lash out. It’s patiently waiting when you want to rush in.

But here’s the thing, just because you see the word “self” in self-control, don’t think for a minute that this isn’t the work of the Holy Spirit. Just as the other fruit springs within, so does the fruit of temperance. John Piper explains it by saying, “His working appears in our acting.” It has to begin with the will to do well and His strength to follow it through.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose. (Philippians 2:13, NIV)

The onus is on use to use what God gives us, and yet the power behind it is always from God. Let’s not confuse that by sliding back into sin. Let’s not abuse the grace we’ve been given.

Indulgence is a desire to please one’s self, whereas self-control is a desire to please God. The working of the Holy Spirit not only plants that desire in our heart, it works within us to nurture it. Our desire to please God must always outweigh our desire to please the flesh.

When I was a young bride, I adopted the clever idea of hiding my bowls and my pots in the oven. It was a great way to clean up fast when company was at the door. As it turns out, one day I invited a couple over for dinner, and while I was busy preparing the food, I shoved the dishes into the oven just as I always had done. The thing is, I forgot they were in the oven that day, and I turned up the heat.

Let’s just say, plastic bowls do not hold up at 350 degrees. The smell was unbearable. So bad in fact that my guests had to wait in the back yard while Michael tossed out the melted bowls one by one.

What’s my point in all this? Trials have a way of testing our boiling point. It’s not hard to control our actions when the going is good, but turn up the heat and our true character shines. Even a soft-spoken person may cuss when his hammer misses the nail. Anger, frustration, disappointment, pain, and pride are just a few of the things that bring our true character out. An ugly heart stinks to high heaven, but a pure heart is a sweet aroma to God. And so, it’s important that we’re working from the inside out.  Try sticking to a diet when you’re depressed or overtired. The struggle is real. We’re fighting a losing battle if we’re not strong from within. Our actions will always depend on our heart. Get that right with God and your actions will follow.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. (Luke 6:45, KJV)

It starts with prayer, dedication, and meditation on the Word. These are the things that feed our soul and strengthen our faith. I want to be strong when I have good decisions to make.

One of my least favorite things is wanting so desperately to do something, but lacking the self-control to follow through. Whether it’s a diet or a new habit I want to incorporate, I want my Spirit to make the decision not my heart.

Life is more than just pleasing myself, it’s about pleasing God–treating my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, practicing habits that are pleasing to Him, using my tongue to speak wisely and kind. I can’t be the faithful servant I want to be without self-control.

Paul writes,

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1, KJV)

Following our heart doesn’t lead us down the best paths. In fact, the Bible warns us in Jeremiah 17 that the heart is deceitful above all things. It tells us that we need things when we don’t, and if we followed it we’d sleep in too late, eat too much, and eventually come to poverty. That’s where the heart wants to lead us.

Temporal happiness doesn’t offer the long-lasting joy that one yields through hard work, commitment, and adherence to the Spirit. The Spirit, unlike the heart, leads us safely through life.

We don’t slip into holiness like a comfy recliner. It’s more like climbing a mountain through rough terrain. And by the fruit of the almighty Spirit of God working in us and through us we fight the good fight. We press on to the goal. We crucify the flesh. We cast aside anything that weighs us down. We bring our bodies into subjection. We count all things as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.

Temptation has a way of finding us doesn’t it? We don’t even have to leave our home to be tempted. In fact, you could be tempted right now, right where you are. And so we must be ready to stand our ground and choose well at all times.

Remember David in 2 Samuel chapter 11. He didn’t go looking for temptation, but sure enough, temptation found him. Standing on the roof of the palace, he noticed a beautiful woman bathing nearby. Instead of turning away from temptation, he stepped further in. Like so many others who have been in a similar situation, David ignored his conscience and chose to entertain sin. Instead of surrendering himself to God’s will by turning away, he defied God by resisting the Spirit and choosing the flesh.

When you entertain sin, you fan the flame, until you’re consumed by its fire. By sending his servants to inquire about her, David entertained a lust that soon overtook him. The consequences of this as we know were horrific. David and Bathsheba lost the son they conceived, her husband Uriah was killed, and David disappointed the Lord. If this can happen to a servant like David, it can easily happen to us.

Self-control isn’t all about saying “no.” It’s really about saying “yes.” Yes, Lord I surrender myself to Your will. Yes, Lord I yield myself to the Spirit. Yes, Lord I’m following Christ.

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16, KJV)

Pause and Reflect

Q. What does the Bible compare a man that has no rule over his spirit to?

Q. What do you think that comparison means?

Q. What does Proverbs 16:32 say? Write the verse out here.

Q. What are some areas of your life in which you lack self-control?

Q. What are some ways in which Christians should be self-controlled?

Q. What part does the Holy Spirit have in the work of self-control?

Q. Why is it unwise to follow your heart?

Q. What was David’s first mistake when he saw Bathsheba bathing nearby?

Q. Why is Luke 6:45 key to self-control?

Abundance: Bearing Fruit for Every Good Work available now @Amazon.com

Now available at Amazon.com

When you purchase a copy of the study guide you’re helping to support this ministry as we share the gospel with over 500,000 women around the world.

When you purchase a copy of the study guide you’re helping to support this ministry as we share the gospel with over 500,000 women around the world.

The Fruit of the Spirit Printable Version – Week 5

Note: This download is only for week 5 (chapters 9 & 10) of the study. If you are looking for any of the previous chapters go to the table of contents to find them. Click here to view and download this week’s printable lesson.

About the Author

Darlene Schacht and her husband Michael live in Manitoba Canada where the summers are beautiful and the winters are cold. Together they’ve come to learn that relationships aren’t always easy, but that marriage, the way God intended it to be, is a treasure worth fighting for.

She began her publishing journey about twelve years ago when she pioneered one of the first online magazines for Christian women, known at the time as “Christian Women Online Magazine.” After three years, Darlene left CWO to blog as a solo author at Time-Warp Wife Ministries.

It was also during this transition that she worked alongside actress Candace Cameron Bure to write the NYT Best-Selling book, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical FitnessReshaping it All was the winner of both the 2011 USA Best Book Awards and the 2012 Christian Reading Retailers Choice Awards.

Author of more than 15 books, Darlene continues to write and to minister to her readers through her blog at TimeWarpWife.com.

Connect With Darlene

Facebook: @timewarpwife
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Twitter: @timewarpwife

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife

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