In Galatians 5, we read about the 9 Fruits of the Spirit:
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
These 9 virtues are characteristics of the Holy Spirit living in us and can be viewed as guidelines, standards of how Christians should live their lives. Someone should be able to distinguish a follower of Christ from the rest of the world because these 9 virtues should be apparent in their daily life.
The infiltration of the Holy Spirit in our lives is not confined to our Sunday morning behavior, or the number of Bible studies we’ve participated in. It changes everything in our lives – including our finances.
Since the 9 Fruits of the Spirit should be apparent in every aspect of a Christian’s life, here are some practical ways that each can play out in your financial habits. Yesterday, we looked at the first 4 (love, joy, peace, and patience). Today, we will look at the last 5.
Kindness looks to the needs of others and is generous in word and deed. God created humanity to respond to kindness. A gentle tongue and touch is how we demonstrate the love of God to those we love in a lost and hurting world.
Kindness is contagious. I know people who exude kindness in the way they talk and in how they treat others. They naturally bless others by their very presence – and inspire me to live likewise!
We live out kindness by abiding in Christ. We live with margin so we can freely give when needs arise. As the hands and feet of Christ, we obediently love our neighbor as ourselves when we open the door for kindness to flow. We lovingly give of our time, talents, and money.
Allow the kindness of God to flow through you and you will be blessed!
Proverbs 21:21 – “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
Larry Burkett said, “My greatest fear in life is standing before the Lord and hearing Him say, ‘I had so much more for you, but you held on too tightly.’” Goodness, a fruit of the spirit, is one way we can loosen our grip.
It’s easy to get trapped by the lure of materialism preventing us from serving one another in love. Humility is our defense.
A spirit of humility prompts us to look to the needs of others and the cause of Christ before spending on ourselves. Focus on making God’s priorities your priorities, and surrender your wallet to the Lord.
A wise steward, one who is good with money, has to plan. Begin this new year by recording every dollar you spend so you can establish a workable budget. Start paying down your debt and set saving goals. Adjust your lifestyle if you are living beyond your means and work as unto the Lord. Before long, you’ll be blessing others because of your financial goodness.
Micah 6:8 – “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
The world says success means more money, more fame or more power. But in God’s Kingdom, success is found in faithfulness. Our joy is made complete when we focus on being faithful stewards, not on titles, status, income, houses or cars.
We must honor the priorities of our Provider. He wants stewards to use the money He’s entrusted to us to advance his kingdom.
Stewards manage what’s in their care – as Solomon advised, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever… (Proverbs 27:23-24a)
We have a few years on earth to demonstrate responsibility with what God has given us.
Stewards are to work hard, give generously, provide for their families, and humbly obey the Lord. When the unexpected happens, we can look to the Lord knowing He is in control and this is in His hands.
1 Corinthians 4:2 – “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”
Gentleness is a willingness to yield to another and to work in humility. It’s the attitude of wanting to help others instead of ruling over them. It flows from a spirit of love and genuine concern demonstrated in word and deed.
Bearing the fruit of gentleness will bless your family, enable you to become a Godly leader and positively affect your financial well-being. And it starts with giving.
Paul urges us to walk, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Exercising self-control is more than just saying no to an expensive purchase or practicing portion control. Self-control, or discipline, is what God gives us in the face of fear, adversity, and challenges. The Holy Spirit empowers us to make the right decision and say no to what is tempting us.
Stewards should exercise self-control in all areas of their lives. A budget is a great place to start.
2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
If you want to learn more about what the Bible says about your finances and how to live everyday as a steward, enroll in Crown’s online MoneyLife Personal Finance Study. It’s an in-depth, 7-week course that covers the biblical principles behind every aspect of your finances. It’s the perfect way to start the New Year right!