The Fruit of the Spirit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
(Galatians 5:22)

The Holy Spirit is the means by which we grow in Christ. If the Holy Spirit is working in us through the means of grace, there are certain evidences of fruit that should be manifested in our lives. Paul describes these in Galatians 5. This fruit is a portrait of Jesus, and it is also a picture of the Christian’s life.

The first three of these evidences – love, joy, and peace – describe our relationship to God. The Holy Spirit puts God’s love in our hearts, God’s joy in our souls, and God’s peace in our minds. Everything a Christian does is, or ought to be, conceived in love, undertaken in joy, and accomplished in peace.

The second three – patience, kindness, and goodness – describe what should be our relationship to others; the patience that bears the rudeness and unkindness of other people and refuses to retaliate, the kindness that turns such tolerance into a benevolence that is not content with indifference but insists on love, and then the goodness that turns the wish into deed and begins to take the initiative in serving other people according to their need.

The final three – faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – describe our relationship to ourselves. Faithfulness is dependability that always keeps a promise and completes a task. Gentleness is not a quality of the weak, but the strong and energetic who have their strength and energy under control. Self-control involves mastering the tongue, the thoughts, the appetites, and the passions.

This fruit taken together is kept in balance. The Holy Spirit is not satisfied, for example, if we display plenty of love for other people but don’t have control over our lives: if we display much joy and peace but no kindness: if there is gentleness in our lives, but no firmness or dependability. We need all of these.

The fruit of the Spirit is not something that we can produce by our efforts, resources, and ingenuity. The Spirit, through the means of grace, is the divine gardener who cultivates this fruit in the life of believers. We need to note that Paul deliberately contrasts the fruit of the Spirit with the works of the flesh (what we can produce with our own efforts). We need the humility to acknowledge that we cannot produce these fruits by ourselves. So, we should invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, as we receive him in word and sacrament, to work God’s will through us.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and KINDLE in them the fire of your love. Amen

In His Peace,
Pastor Schultz


A Psalm for All Seasons

[Jesus said,] “I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11a)

This month’s Scripture readings continue to echo the great themes of Jesus’ Passion, as God’s people continue their pilgrimage from the feast of Easter to the outpouring of God’s Spirit at Pentecost. What a joyous time of the year, as the church continues to celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death! This psalm is the focus of our thoughts today.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. What a grand introduction to all that follows! Because Jesus is our shepherd, we have at this moment, and will have for the rest of our days, everything we will need. There are times when we should stop and rest with him, but will not want to. At such periods, he will, in effect, make us to lie down in green pastures. When we do recognize our need for quiet and rest, his promise is that he will lead us beside the still waters. At other times we undergo deep emotional hurts, injuries to our very selves. While such wounds may be beyond the reach of psychotherapy and counseling, there is one who can heal us: He restoreth my soul.

In a world of conflicting direction about the right path to take, Jesus has promised his Spirit, who will lead us into all truth (John 16:13). He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Some claim they are unable to hear God. It has been the experience of many that a willingness to do whatever he wants enables them to discern his leading.

Suffering and periods of darkness are a part of every life. We have his promise: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. “Jesus is there with me.” At the darkest time of my life this verse proved true. I found the Lord in a person-to-person relationship that has now grown only deeper. I know nothing now can separate me from him.

Protected from enemies by his rod and guided by his staff, surely our heads are anointed and our cups overflowing. His goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Or, as another translation promises, His house will be our home forever.

Shepherd of our souls, guide us safely through the joys and trials of this life, until we are gathered to you in the safety of our home on high. Amen.

In His Peace, Pastor Schultz


This Is Living!

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die’.” – John 11:25-26

We get confused about the word life. “That’s life” often means “too bad, that’s the way it is.” Or we might say, “What a life,” meaning, “this is wonderful.” We all value life. We hold onto it as long as we can, and we mourn its loss. Sometimes we are under the mistaken idea that life consists of who we are, what we have, what we do, and whom we know. If those are our thoughts, then these words of Jesus make no sense. Earlier in this Gospel he told his disciples, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). He was speaking to people who were full of physical life. So obviously he meant something else when he used the word.

Jesus, in claiming to be the source of life, is talking about another kind of life. It is not limited to tangible or physical things, but rather to those defined by the spirit. There is an eternal or spiritual life that we can live while we are continuing to live in this present world. That kind of life comes from a close relationship with the source of life – Jesus. It can be described by its qualities – inner peace, honesty, hope and expectancy, a sense of the constant presence of God, direction and purpose, fulfillment, contentment, joy.

While telling Mary and Martha that their brother would physically rise from the dead, even more important, he was offering spiritual life to them.

Lent is a time for Christians to see how sin has made our earthly life empty and shallow. Holy Week reveals the depth of God’s love as he ransoms us from our lives to give us his life. Easter is our celebration of God’s gift of new life.

This month as we begin our Lenten journey may it lead us through the awe of Holy Week to the shout of Easter “THIS IS LIVING!”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I receive your offer of life. Fill me with your life today. Amen.

In His Peace,
Pastor Kurt