These three are so intertwined that it is not possible to tell where one leaves off and the other begins, but all three are definite fruits of the spirit. They are just the opposite of the works of the flesh, which is selfishness in every form.
Satan is trying his best to thwart the fruits of the spirit and plant selfish motives in everything we do and say. He wants us to care for no one but self and our own interests. He is trying his best to get into the home life of every child of God, into the church and God’s messengers. Folks within the church live so closely and influence one another to the extent that examples within the church can spread so the whole church is influenced – just as the seven churches in Revelation.
Satan even wants this to become nothing but a “social gospel,” while God is trying to work a deep work within the lives of each one to love the SOULS of all we meet. If we love the souls of all, we will not assess them by what they are by nature, but by what they can become with the divine nature. Our “caring” will not be only for the present, but also for the eternal future. We will not only encourage them with interest in their present-day situations, but in their eternal future…many times just a thoughtful, loving communication. We can encourage others not only by being in meetings ourselves, but by helping others get to meetings.
And, as there are always legitimate circumstances where folks have to miss meetings, there is a privilege in “sharing” thoughts from the meeting. At the same time it is possible to “bear” some of the burdens that hinder others from getting to the meetings. In this busy life, this often has to be at the expense of neglecting some of our own duties; however, “he who winneth souls is wise,” and, realizing the worth of a soul, this should not seem important.. If we can just have victory in the secret place, God can help us realize the worth of a soul and the fleeting value of things we work so hard to possess in this life. Satan wants us to go after so many things that just take up our time and attention while God is trying to give us a better, grander view – a crown in heaven awaiting the chosen, faithful few. He wants to show us how to use the unrighteous mammon to gain this crown. It is only the love of souls that causes men and women to forsake all to labor in the harvest field. This is not in vain and we all need to be “workers together” in caring, sharing, and bearing — realizing the worth of a single soul.
Life is fleeting fast and nothing really matters but salvation – not only our own but every single soul we meet for whom Christ died. Satan is bargaining for our soul — he wants to lure us into selfishly accumulating “stuff” that will take our time to maintain and will be a witness against our soul in eternity, while God is trying to get us to focus our lives on simplicity in this life and having our “treasure” in Heaven. This is the miracle of being delivered from the world and translated into the Kingdom of His Dear Son. However, the rewards in being translated begin in this life. Jesus wept and had sorrow, but He was anointed above all others with joy and gladness. Saints and servants alike share in this joy to understand.
Jesus taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is within you. What a treasure! No foes can reach that secret place where hides my soul safe in His care. His presence like a wall of fire is round about me everywhere. It has been said that God’s children have seven powers on their side: God, His Son, the Holy Spirit, the Angels, His Word, His servants, and the Friends or fellow Christians. But I like to add another — our hymns!
Have you ever been at a meeting when someone did not mention a thought from some of our hymns? I tell you, I would find life quite intolerable without our wonderful hymns. So many times we just cannot find words to express how we feel, our deep need, our gratitude, our purpose – and there we find it expressed so clearly in one of our hymns! These wonderful thoughts come to us and possess our hearts and minds when we are in situations where it is just not possible to feed on God’s word — driving, etc., maybe at our work. God’s Word was written and forever settled in Heaven, not to be added to or taken away from, but our hymns were written by people who had a deep spiritual experience that burst out in song for the benefit of men, women and children for all ages to come. They are not only one of the most important parts of our meetings, conventions and Gospel meetings, but also our daily lives! They were inspired by God Himself, for the purpose of inspiring His people! A true blessing, the worth of which could never be calculated! Satan would like to overcome these hymns with his type of noise that can’t even be considered music and which has no place in God’s Kingdom. May we never develop any desire for this in our lives. It is our hymns and praise of the Lamb that will be loved and sung throughout the countless ages of eternity.
“More stern will grow the conflict as nears the King’s return,” yes, the way things are going in the world a wider gap between the world and God’s people is needed all the time. Paul wrote to some of the Christians that he was persuaded better things of them — things that accompany salvation. A statement by someone from another country after visiting America was “The Americans seem to have lots of everything, except time.” It is more profitable for the Kingdom to visit and encourage those who are in care centers and deprived of privileges than it is to go on shopping sprees. John encouraged people to not love the world or the things that are in the world. We don’t need to tell what our first love is — it is very evident!
If you’ll excuse me for using words that rhyme for illustrations, I would like to mention some others — they are: KNOWING, GROWING, SHOWING AND GLOWING. If we do what we know, we’ll grow, we’ll show what we know without saying a word, but a satisfaction will glow from our lives. May this be our portion — these are tools against the power of the devil and a demonstration of the grace of God.