But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the second session on ‘The Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit’.
Those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and are born again as God’s children.
And to the extent that they live according to the desires of the Spirit, namely as they follow the Truth by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they can bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
When they enter into the third level of faith, they can generally follow the desires of the Spirit and practice the Truth.
This is the beginning stage of the fruits of the Spirit being born in their heart.
For example, when the flower falls from the vine, a little grain is born on the spot where the flower fell.
We cannot say it is a grape, but we see the sign that it will become the fruit of grape.
In the same way, to the extent that we cast off sins and evil from our heart and follow the desires of the Spirit, little by little we are able to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
And as the grain grows bigger and comes to have the shape and form of a grape, each grape will begin to ripen.
Here, not all the grapes will ripen at the same rate, even though they are in the same bunch.
Their shapes may look the same, but some of them ripen earlier and have the dark violet color while some others still have a greenish color.
Comparatively we can say that the fourth level of faith is like this bunch of grapes.
We say one has ‘gone into spirit’ when the fourth level of faith is achieved.
Because at this level all forms of evil have been cast off, a person no longer follows the lust of the flesh but is able to always follow only the desires of the Spirit.
As he has been diligently following the desires of the Spirit, he bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit abundantly.
But among these fruits that are born, some are more ripened while others are not as ripe.
For example, a person may have accomplished 90% of the fruit of faithfulness, but he may bear only 70% of the fruit of gentleness.
He may have a full measure of the fruit of self-control, but a little bit less of the fruit of joy.
But even those less ripened grapes will be ripened completely as time passes.
As this ‘bunch of grapes’ completely ripens, that is when a person bears the 100% of all fruits of the Holy Spirit, he is referred to as ‘a man of the whole spirit’.
Having reached the fifth level of faith, he is a person who gives out the aroma of Christ in all areas and he is a person who resembles the image of God.
He clearly hears the voice of the Holy Spirit, and he can give glory to God greatly with the power of the Holy Spirit.
How well are the fruits of the Spirit growing in your heart? How ripened has each of the fruit become?
I hope you will check how ripe each of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit is, and which fruit needs more attention and growth.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will bear all the fruits beautifully so that you can give joy and comfort to God the Father who has been patiently enduring us for a long time.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in the last session, I already explained about the fruit of love, the first fruit of the Spirit.
The second fruit is ‘joy’. In the dictionary ‘joy” is defined as a feeling of great happiness or pleasure.
But spiritual joy is not just being joyful and glad.
Even unbelievers rejoice when they experience something good, but this is only momentary.
When they are faced with hardships, their joy and gladness disappear.
But if we bear the fruit of joy as one of the fruits of the Spirit, we can rejoice and be glad in any kind of situation or circumstances.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
To rejoice always and give thanks in everything is spiritual joy.
Joy is one of the standards by which we can check whether we are leading a proper Christian life.
Some people take the way of the Lord with joy and happiness in every moment of their lives.
But some others do not have enough joy or thanks stemming from the center of their heart, although they may appear to lead a diligent life in faith.
They attend worship services, pray, and do their duties, but they just do them as if they were fulfilling some responsibility.
And if they face any unexpected difficulties, they lose the peace of mind and their heart is shaken by nervousness.
I urge you to check your heart when you are faced with something so difficult that you cannot solve it yourself.
I am saying you should check whether you are really spiritually rejoicing. Take a look at your face in the mirror.
That face can also become one of the measures that can show you how much fruit of joy you are bearing.
In fact, just the grace of salvation alone is more than enough reason to rejoice always.
Just by thinking that we are saved from the fire of Hell and that we can go to Heaven, it should give us reason for inexpressible happiness.
How much did they rejoice when the sons of Israel came out of Egypt and crossed the Red Sea?
The Bible depicts the scene in which the women played the timbrels while all people praised God with dancing.
Like in this joy, the joy of the ‘first love’, when we first accept the Lord, is so very great.
Even if we don’t have anything to eat tomorrow, or even if we are so tired after working hard, we will still have praises on our lips.
Even if we are persecuted or suffer unjust hardships for the name of the Lord, we are just happy if we think of Heaven.
If we have this kind of joy in heart all the time, we will soon bear the fruit of joy.
But in reality, there are not very many people who can keep this joy of first love in their heart.
After some time, this joy gradually disappears, and even when such persons think about the grace of salvation, they don’t have the same emotions as before.
Even in hardships, they were once happy just thinking about the Lord, but now they first begin to sigh in their hardships and moan in their sufferings.
Why do they change this way? It’s because they have flesh in their hearts.
One of the characteristics of ‘flesh’ is that it changes.
One who has the nature of the flesh might have overflowing joy at one moment, but he can change any time and that joy can disappear in an instant.
Because he has the nature of the flesh, the enemy devil and Satan will control that nature of flesh to create a situation where this person cannot rejoice.
Then, in order to rejoice always, and to bear the fruit of the joy, what can we do?
First of all, we have to cast off flesh.
I already explained that because we have the nature of the flesh in us the enemy devil and Satan are able to control the natures of the flesh to create a situation in which we cannot rejoice.
For example, when others are blessed and praised, if we do not have the characters of the flesh called ‘envy and jealousy’ then we will rejoice as if we were the ones receiving the blessing and praise.
On the other hand, to the extent that we have envy and jealousy we will feel discomforted when others are better off than we are.
We might develop ill feelings against that person, and to the extent that he benefits we lose joy and get discouraged because we have a sense of inferiority.
Also, if we do not have the natures of flesh called ‘anger’ and ‘resentment’, we will always have peace even when we are mistreated or suffer damage.
We become resentful and disappointed because we have flesh in us. Because of this our hearts are heavy-laden.
We will feel pain and even feel victimized when we think we are facing greater disadvantage and damage compared to others.
Moreover, to the extent that we have flesh, we cannot have spiritual faith, and thus, we will only grow more worried about not being able to rely on God.
Those who trust in God and rely on Him can rejoice even though they don’t have anything to eat right now.
God certainly promised us that He would fulfill our needs.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As said, even in very difficult situations, he who has spiritual faith will commit everything to God with prayers of thanks.
He would ask first for the kingdom and righteousness of God and later ask for his personal needs.
But those who do not rely on God but rely on their own ideas and plans do not have rest of the heart. They have only growing worries and concerns.
Those who are running their own businesses will be prosperous in all things with overflowing blessings only if they can clearly hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow it.
But if they have greed, impatience, and fleshly thoughts, they have difficulties because they cannot hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Conclusively speaking, the fundamental reason for losing joy is the fleshly attributes in our hearts.
The more flesh we cast off from our hearts, the more spiritual joy and thanks will come into us.
Secondly, to rejoice always, we have to follow the desire of the Holy Spirit in every matter.
We do not seek the joy of this world but one that comes from above, the joy that is brought by the Holy Spirit.
We can feel the joy and fullness of Spirit only when the Holy Spirit in us rejoices.
We can have joy especially when we worship God, pray to Him, and praise Him with all our heart.
We also gain joy when we practice the word of God.
We will be so happy when we realize our shortcomings by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and change ourselves.
When we realize that we have changed by the truth, we are extremely happy and thankful.
In your everyday life, you can always choose between the desire of the Holy Spirit and the desire of the flesh.
If you choose the desire of the Holy Spirit every time, then the Holy Spirit will rejoice in you, and thus you will also be filled with joy.
3 John 1:4 says, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”
As written, God rejoices when you practice the truth, and He gives you joy in the fullness of the Spirit.
For example, suppose the desire to seek your own benefit and the desire to seek the benefit of others collide with each other and this status goes on for some time. Then, you will lose joy.
And if you follow the flesh and seek your own benefit, you cannot have spiritual joy, though you may get what you wanted for the moment. You may also feel mentally unsettled.
On the other hand, if you decide to seek the benefit of the other person, although it seems you experienced some loss, you will have joy from above because the Holy Spirit rejoices.
Only those who actually have had such joy can understand this feeling. It is the happiness which the world can never give or know.
The same goes for every other thing.
If a person who used to judge others with his own standard changes his mind and begins to understand others with goodness, he will have peace to the extent that he thinks in goodness.
Also, do you try to avoid and ignore those who have different personalities or opinions from your own?
Or do you warmly greet them with smiles?
In view of the unbelievers, it is much easier for them to just avoid those whom they dislike rather than trying to be nice to them.
But those who follow the desire of the Spirit will smile first with the desire to serve others first.
When we ‘die’ to ourselves in this way in an attempt to make others comfortable, we can experience the peace and joy that come from above.
Furthermore, you can enjoy the peace and joy all the time, if you get rid of the feelings that somebody else has a different personality that conflicts with yours or that you dislike a certain person.
For instance, on a holiday, somebody calls you and asks you to come to make a visitation to a new believer or deliver church newsletters.
At one corner of your mind you want to rest, but at another corner, you also want to do some work for God.
It depends on your freewill to choose between them, but you will not really have joy just because you let your body have some rest and comfort.
You can have the fullness of the Spirit and joy when you give your time and possessions for God.
As you begin to follow the desire of the Holy Spirit again and again, your spiritual joy will be added more and more, and your heart will also change into the truth.
To that extent, you will bear the fruit of joy more properly, and you will have the spiritual glow in your face.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, thirdly, to bear the fruit of joy, we have to diligently sow the seed of joy and thanks.
Even in the physical world, the farmer has to sow the seed and work hard to harvest the fruit.
Likewise, in order to bear the spiritual fruit of joy, you have to look for the things to be joyful and thankful about and then offer the sacrifice of thanks to God.
If we have faith, there are so many things to give thanks for everyday.
First, we have the joy of salvation, which can never be exchanged for anything.
Also, the good God is our Father, and He protects His children who live in the truth and answers to whatever we ask. How happy we are for that!
Furthermore, if you at the least properly keep the Sabbath and give full tithes and offerings, you won’t face any misfortunes or accidents.
If you keep His commandments and are faithful to Him without committing sins, you will always have overflowing blessings.
Even if you get into some difficult situations, you know the ways to resolve them.
If you have done something wrong, you can receive God’s compassion and receive the solution when you just repent and turn back.
If you don’t have anything by which you can be accused, you can rejoice and give thanks even more.
Then, God works for the good of everything and give you even greater blessings.
Especially in this church God’s power is always manifested.
You always see, hear, and experience numerous signs and wonders and you receive answers to prayers and healings, so your spiritual faith can grow up very quickly.
We must not take all this grace for granted, but always give thanks and rejoice over it.
When we try to find the things to give thanks for, God gives us even more things for us to be thankful.
Then, our thanks and joy will increase and finally, we will bear the fruit of joy completely.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, even though we have the fruit of joy, we may sometimes have to be in sorrow.
It is the spiritual mourning that we have in the truth.
First, it is the mourning of repentance.
When tests and trials came as a result of our sins, we could not solve the problem just by rejoicing and giving thanks.
If anybody rejoices even after committing a sin, he is probably experiencing fleshly joy that has nothing to do with God.
In this kind of case, one has to repent with tears and turn from sins.
He has to thoroughly repent, confessing his sins, thinking, “How could I commit such a sin saying that I believe in God? How could I forsake the grace of the Lord?”
He can recover his joy only when God accepts that repentance and demolishes the wall of sin.
He will have an enlightened heart that feels like flying in the sky. He will also have renewed joy and thankfulness from above.
But this mourning of repentance is clearly different from the tears that one may shed due to the pain of suffering caused by disasters.
Even though they shed tears with runny noses, if they are just crying over their pitiful situation, it is only fleshly mourning.
Also, if they do not turn from sins but just try to avoid the punishment just for the moment, they cannot have true joy.
Neither can they have the confidence that they are forgiven.
If they truly have the mourning of repentance, they have to have firm determination to cast away the desire to commit sins, and bear the proper fruit of their repentance.
Then, they can recover the spiritual joy coming from above.
Next, it is rightful mourning if you mourn when God is disgraced or for the souls who are going the way of death.
You can pray more earnestly and ardently for the kingdom of God if you have this kind of mourning.
You will pray for sanctification and the power of God to save more souls and extend the kingdom of God.
Therefore, this is rightful mourning in the truth, and God accepts it joyfully, too.
For this kind of mourning, the joy deep in your heart will not disappear even as you mourn.
It is not to lose heart and become discouraged or depressed, but you still have the thanks and happiness.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when God created the first man, Adam, God also put joy into the heart of Adam.
But this joy that Adam had was different from the one we have, for we are going through human cultivation.
Adam was created as a living spirit, and he had no fleshliness in him. So, he didn’t have any attributes that were opposite of joy.
There wasn’t anything that could hinder him from having joy. There was no sorrow, tears, pain, mourning, worries, or concerns.
Namely, there wasn’t anything by which any comparison could be made. There was no way for Adam to be able to understand the true value of joy.
Only those who have suffered from diseases can feel the true value of good health.
Only those who have suffered from poverty can truly understand in heart how good it is to be rich.
Adam never experienced any pain, and thus he didn’t realize how happy the life was that he enjoyed.
He didn’t know how to rejoice even though he was enjoying an eternal life and all the abundance of the Garden of Eden.
But since he committed the sin of disobedience by eating fruit from the forbidden tree, the flesh came into his heart, and he lost the joy that had been given by God.
As he began to experience the pains of this earth, his heart was gradually filled with sorrow, loneliness, disappointment, ill-feelings, worries, and so on.
But now as you are going through the human cultivation, you have to go through the opposite process.
You have to recover spiritual joy. In order to do that, first, we have to cast off flesh.
Also, we always have to follow the desire of the Holy Spirit.
Then, we have to sow the seed of joy with profession of joy and thanks in all things.
On top of this, if you add a positive mind set and a desire to seek only good and beautiful things, you will be able to bear the fruit of joy completely.
This joy is something that is gained after we have experienced the opposite things, unlike Adam in the Garden of Eden.
Therefore, this joy and thanks will stem from the bottom of our heart, and because it’s not fleshly, it will never change forever.
The true happiness that you will enjoy in Heaven will be placed in you even on this earth.
Furthermore, when you actually go into Heaven after this cultivation is over, how will be we able to express the joy there!
I hope you will quickly bear the fruit of joy so that you can rejoice and be glad every day.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will also bear all other fruits of the Holy Spirit abundantly and go into New Jerusalem, and enjoy all the joy that God will be giving to you!