Bearing the Fruit of the Spirit

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

Are you experiencing these things in your life today? If so, what can you do today to thank God for these great gifts? If not, what can you do to submit to God in obedience and serve His will?

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Freedom of the Will

Jonathan Edwards says that people have a free will, the freedom to choose, but that “the mind chooses as it does because of motives.”

John Gerstner puts it this way:

“Your choices, as a rational person, are always based on various considerations or motives that are before you at the time. Those motives have a certain weight with you, and the motives for and against reading a book [for example] are weighed in the balance of your mind; the motives which outweigh all others are what you, indeed, choose to follow. You, being a rational person, will always choose what seems to you to be the right thing, the wise thing, the advisable thing to do. If you choose not to do the right thing, the advisable thing, the thing that you are inclined to do, you would, of course be insane. You would be choosing something which you didn’t choose. You would find something preferable which you didn’t prefer. But you, being a rational and sane person, choose something because it seems to you the right, proper, good, advantageous thing to do.

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A New Creation: A Homily on Genesis 3:1-19

How many of you have heard of Curious George?

Almost every night when my son goes to bed, he wants me to read the story of Curious George to him. Of course, it always starts out the same way: “This is George. He was a good little monkey. And always very curious.”

And each story has the same theme. George intends to do well, but his curiosity gets the better of him, and he gets into trouble because of it.

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Do You Pray? A Homily on Romans 10:1-13

This homily is adapted from J.C. Ryle’s A Call to Prayer:

Do you pray?

I ask whether you pray, because prayer is absolutely essential to a person’s salvation.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that you can do anything to earn your salvation. I am not saying that it is your prayers that will save you. Salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It is God who even gives you the willingness and ability to pray. But of this I am sure: nowhere does Scripture tell us that anyone can be saved without lifting up his heart in prayer and asking for it.

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The Oppression of Envy: A Homily on Ecclesiastes 4:1-4

This homily benefits greatly from the works of Peter Leithart and Daniel Doriani:

Human life is rife with envy. Envy whispers in our ear about a neighbor who has slightly more than we do—a nicer car, more recognition, a prettier wife, more accomplished children. Envy wants to silence praise for others and grows angry when praise continues.

Enslaved to envy, we rejoice at those who weep, and weep at those who rejoice. We become “insatiable in our outbursts against the happy.” When we don’t achieve our goals, we think, “If I cannot have something, no one is to have anything, no one is to be anything. Let the world perish!”

Envy boils up as hatred. Envy isolates. Envy breeds self-pity and victimization, for envy convinces us that if the world were fair we’d be on top.

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Patience until the Coming of the Lord: A Homily on James 5:7-11

How many of you struggle with impatience?

I know I do.

I struggle with impatience at work. I have a great job and am blessed in what I get to do and who I get to do it with. Yet things don’t always go my way at work. Sometimes others make decisions that I disagree with—even decisions about me.

I struggle with impatience at home. Being married and being a parent is a wonderful thing, a calling from the Lord with great blessing. But there are many challenges contained within these blessings, such as regarding managing our home and finances and parenting our son and directing his education.

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