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What Exactly is the Spirit-filled Life # 2

Updated on December 7, 2016
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In Part One we discussed the first three ingredients of the Spirit-filled life; those of love joy, and peace. In this installment we will consider longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness. We also discussed a very important distinction. We are talking about the fruit of the Spirit, not fruits. The fruit is singular, not plural, but the fruit does contain nine separate ingredients. The point is we are not filled with the Spirit unless we possess all nine ingredients at the same time. Possessing eight ingredients at a time does not qualify you to be Spirit-filled. So let us move on.

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Longsuffering

What about longsuffering? We must add it to the mix of love, joy, and peace. In the original Greek the word for longsuffering is makrothumia.

Our English word longsuffering, comes from the word longanimity. The Free Dictionary gives us this simple definition of longanimity – “patient endurance of hardship or injuries; forbearance.” Longsuffering is patience under pressure. God shines in the trials of your life if we take it patiently. I Peter 2:12 says it this way - “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” The word patiently used here has the idea of staying under or behind; to remain, and/or to bear trials. It can also mean to abide or endure.

Longsuffering carries with it the idea of bearing a burden, and remaining patient under its weight. When things go right there is no need for longsuffering, but when the burdens of life come we soon see what we are made of. It is God’s desire that we take our difficulties and suffering with patience exhibiting to the world our trust and faith in Him.

Gentleness

He also requires us to be gentle. Gentleness is moral excellence in our character or demeanor. It also includes the idea of kindness. Ephesians 4:32 gives us direction on kindness – “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” We have here a clear command that we are to exhibit kindness – gentleness.

Kindness, in this portion of Ephesians is linked to a tender and forgiving heart; a compassionate heart, a merciful heart. Does that describe your heart? We are to follow in the footsteps of God through Christ. God is the epitome of a tender, merciful heart according to Psalm 145:9, “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”

The last verse in Jonah’s book is telling, “And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:11). It was because of the kindness, the gentleness of God’s heart that Nineveh was spared. Nineveh deserved destruction for their wickedness, but in God’s kindness and compassion, He was merciful. The gift came from the heart of God, not because of anything the people of Nineveh did. Yes, they repented, but they still were not deserving of God’s tenderness toward them. The forgiving, tender heart of God was with them for another 150 years, before God in His righteous judgment destroyed the city.

Do you display that kind of gentleness to your family? How about your friends? What about your enemies? Is your life permeated with a tender, gentile spirit the way Jesus’ life was? Kindness changes the way others react to you. If you act and react with kindness, you will melt many a heart.

Goodness

Goodness is part six of the mix. In II Peter 1:5-8 we read, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Do you see from this verse how we must add to what we already possess? We add to our faith virtue. We add to virtue knowledge, and so forth. It is the same idea when it comes to being Spirit-filled. The bottom line Peter wants us to see is that if we hold in our character the things previously mentioned, we will be fruitful in the knowledge of Christ. Likewise we need a mix of the nine elements mentioned in Galatians 5:22-24.To love we add joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, and now goodness.

The Greek word translated goodness has an interesting meaning. It means goodness. We are to exemplify good in our lives; good versus bad, good versus evil. A quick check of similar meaning words in a dictionary reveals a not so simple meaning. Consider some of these synonyms: decent; respectable; moral; virtuous; noble; worthy; blameless; and wholesome to name a few. God is decent, respectable, moral, etc. Are you? How deep does your goodness go? Are we talking about goodness that is skin-deep, or even bone-deep? Or are we talking about goodness that permeates to the very soul of the individual. I think you get the point, but all too often we compromise, and the flesh creeps out.

You have been called to a life that is different than what most people are used to, or even consider. You are to be above reproach in all your ways. You are to be good. I Timothy 3:1-7 lists the qualifications for a pastor. “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

These are some high standards that are given to the office of pastor. A pastor must meet these qualifications to the best of his ability to remain God’s man in a local church. I understand not one will perform the office perfectly, but realize this. You too are to abide by these qualifications. Every one of us is to be blameless. Every one of us is to rule our homes well. We all are to be given to hospitality. We all are to be good and show goodness. It is part of the Spirit-filled life. We each have the same responsibility.

We are to show goodness to all. It is easy to do good to those who do good to us, but what about Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:44? “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Loving your enemies is doing good. Blessing them who curse you is doing good. Praying for them who despitefully use you is doing good, and of course, just doing good to them that hate you is doing good. Fill your life with goodness. God will fill your life with His Spirit.

Next time we will conclude with a look at faith, meekness, and self-control. Until then . . . .

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    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 2 years ago from Southern Minnesota

      Hi Bill,

      This is a great series to examine ourselves by. I can very much see areas in which fruit development appears to be lacking. Interestingly this has been on my heart most recently as a point of prayer and seeking the Lord specifically concerning fruit and asking for His Holy Spirit to fill me. as I do sincerely long to be fruitful and pleasing Him in every good work and reacting more Christlike under pressure.

      Thank you for this useful mirror from His Word.

      God Bless!

    • lifegate profile image
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      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      You're welcome, Tammy.

      I don't know of anybody that doesn't need work in some of these areas. The key is that we recognize it, and continue to seek Him just as you've been doing. I have no doubt He will answer your prayer. Thanks for checking in.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      These really are some hard things to live by; loving those who do things against us. It is easy to love those who love us but only through the spirit could we possibly do good to those who do evil to us. I doubt we many live up to that completely....God in us would be the only way.

      Great writing. ^+

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always interesting to read your reflections and lessons...daily reflections are a part of my life, and these articles of yours help.

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Jackie,

      Yes, I doubt anyone lives up to them completely. Still, it's what God has designed for mankind so it is possible to come close to the ideals. It takes conscious effort, and even with that seems to be very elusive. As always, it's good to hear from you, and thanks for taking time to read!

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Good Morning Bill,

      Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to read.. If these have been a help to you or anybody else, I'm glad. I feel like I've accomplished something of eternal value and purpose.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 2 years ago

      I'm enjoying this series. I did some workbooks on these a few years ago and your hubs serve as a great refresher.

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Sheila,

      Glad it's been beneficial for you, and glad you're enjoying the series. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read. Part 3 will be up soon.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, my response to your explanation of these three ingredients is that I need to pray daily for a fill-up. They get used up real fast; we really have to abide in Christ for replenishing. Thanks for another important message.

    • lifegate profile image
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      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      You're welcome, Dora! We all need fill-ups on a regular basis and often. Thanks for taking time to stop by, read, and comment.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      I believe that forgiveness is possible only when you are living in the spirit. Forgiveness comes from our higher consciousness, not the ego self. The higher self is the source of goodness, and we must tap into it to learn God’s will. God still speaks to his creation today. Sometimes people are so busy howling in prayer to God for what they desire that they don’t listen for an answer.

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi MizBejabbers,

      Not sure what you mean by your higher consciousness, but for sure forgiveness can only come from God. All the attributes of the Holy Spirit can only be lived out as we allow God to live through us. Thanks for your thoughts and for adding to the conversation.

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