A Portrait of the Father

jam-428094_1920Today marks the last week in our series on the fruit of the Spirit. Hasn’t it been great having so many guest bloggers join us for the summer?  I’ve loved hearing all the unique voices as each individual dove deep into a single characteristic, but this week I want to bring it all together again.

Though we’ve looked at nine separate attributes that define the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit itself is singular. As I mentioned when we began the series, these attributes are not a “to-do list.” We don’t have to work harder to display this fruit. In fact, we don’t have to work at all. God’s spirit in us does the work of sanctification, making us into His image.

We’ve all heard the phrases, “He’s a chip off the old block,” and “Like mother, like daughter.” They’re common because they are true. The more time our children spend with us, the more they begin to act, as well as look, like us. I still remember the first time I watched my then 2-year-old daughter mother her baby dolls with the exact same phrases I used to mother her. It was both humbling and honoring to hear my words and mannerisms parroted back at me.

This is exactly what Paul is describing in Galatians 5:22-23. The Holy Spirit works in us to make us look and act like our Father. Each of the nine attributes we studied is a character trait of our Father. As we close our series today, I’d like to take a moment to look at God through the lens of those attributes.

God is LOVEBut anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. [1 John 4:8 (NLT)] “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16 (NLT)]  “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” [John 15:13 (NLT)]

God is JOY“. . . This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” [Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV) ]“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” [1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NIV)]

God is PEACEFor God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.” [1 Corinthians 14:33 (NLT)] “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:7 (NLT)] For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)]

God is PATIENT–“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” [2 Peter 3:9 (NLT)] “But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” [1 Timothy 1:16(NLT)]   “. . . the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.” [1 Peter 3:20 (NASB)]

God is KIND “Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;’” [Exodus 34:6  (NASB)]  “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” [1 Chronicles 16:34 (NASB)]

God is GOOD“And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.’”  [Mark 10:18 (NASB)] “How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You before the sons of men!” [Psalm 31:19 (NASB)]  “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” [Psalm 118:1 (NASB)]

God is FAITHFUL “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” [Lamentations 3:22-23 (NASB)] “The Rock! His work is perfect for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.” [Deuteronomy  32:4 (NASB)] “Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” [Psalm 36:5 (NASB)]

God is GENTLE“You have also given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great.” [Psalm 18:35 (NASB)]  “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” [Matthew 11:29 (NASB)]

God practices SELF-CONTROL“But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.” [Psalm 86:15 (NASB)] “. . . Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.” [Joel 2:13 (NASB)]  “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” [Hebrews 4:15 (NLT)]

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