IS YOUR NESS EMPTY?
I can guess that many of you are thinking this title has a typo in it, but I assure you it doesn’t, it is meant to be as read, “ness”. Let’s look at the fruits of the spirit as it is written in Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT), 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Now, not to insinuate that I am placing some fruits ahead of others as Jesus has already placed love at the top. I intend to bring out the fact that without the ness’s in our lives our proclaiming to possess the other fruits Paul speaks of in Galatians is simply air in the wind. We become that noisy gong or clanging cymbal, in 1 Corinthians 13:1.
Now before we get started, notice how in Galatians 5:22-23 God inspired all the ness’s to be put together. Interesting, isn’t it? OK; let’s take them as they’re listed starting with kindness. According to my research, I found the Bible mentions “kindness” in over two-hundred instances and “kind” over four hundred times. One of which is found in Colossians 3:12 (NLT), Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Did you get it? God chose you to be! This honor comes with all authority as it is inspired by God in His Holy Word. FYI, in case you’ve got ideas, God doesn’t do part-time, when He chooses you, He seeks your unwavering devotion to His service! Many become deceived into thinking God is OK with us choosing and picking how we act toward others in a given situation. Sorry, get over it! Once God chooses you and you accept, you become God’s billboard of love, mercy, and grace, applying all the fruits of the spirit.
Next on the list is goodness and just as Apostle Paul writes in Romans 15:14 (NLT), I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. None of us will express goodness to one another unless God supplies that which is needed. He instills goodness in our hearts and teaches us how to apply it to His glorification because He is the very essence of goodness. This is why I believe he penned Galatians 6:10 (NLT), Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone - especially to those in the family of faith. Followers need the encouragement that comes from being Christ-like to all they meet.
Let’s look at faithfulness this is one of our enemy’s favorites as he tries to twist and distort that which God designed to help us. Look at Hebrews 11:1 (NLT), “Now faith is a confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Our belief is tested for depth and validity every time God requests something from us. Do we trust Him through our obedience? Do we patiently wait when asking Him to fill a need? Faith is just another word for giving, what price are we willing to pay for what we believe? Trust me, your faith will be tested in this life. Remember, God doesn’t require any more of us than we expect of Him! He just needs to know that we believe with minimal doubt the truth in He is who, He says He is.
Lastly, we have gentleness and the first thing that pops into my mind is that of a young baby and how it reacts with a sense of comfort and peace when gently snuggled into its mother’s chest. I love Paul’s analogy in 1 Corinthians 4:20-21 (NLT), 20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 21 Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit? For me, as one of my friends and dear brothers would say, “that’s all I got to say about that!”
The truth is that many people today are empty ness’ers and don’t even realize it. They have no clue that they have lost or are losing their desire to live out kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness, in their daily coming and going. Over time that natural selfish nature we experienced at birth will inevitably return as the flesh seeks to exist in this world. I’ve heard it said, “we cannot lose that which we use.” If we are sold out to Jesus and are using the tools He’s given us, our constitution in these ness words becomes strong and upfront as we deliberately work to live them out. Look at your own life if your ness words aren’t showing you need to “Have a Little Talk With Jesus” and I know Jesus would love to talk with you today!
Lord, I come to you asking as we start off this New Year would you please inspire us to obey Micah 6:8 (NLT), No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Help us Father to open the eyes of our hearts Lord to see the goodness you have for us. Help us to live as spiritual beings on this physical planet and to fill our ness with your love and mercy that it might flow into the lives of our neighbors. Thank you, Lord. Amen
HAVE A BLESSED WEEK BY BEING A BLESSING TO OTHERS!