People know who you are and whose you are by tasting the fruit of your life. We must remain connected to Christ so he can instill his life-giving spiritual virtues within us. The ultimate goal of the Christian life is to bear good fruit, impact the world, and experience joy in life...to be like Jesus.
The way we love others is by frequently giving up what we want for the sake of others; forgiving people who have hurt us; rejoicing when good things happen to other people; and demonstrating love equally toward people of all races.
We experience true joy when we have inner contentment, even when things go wrong. It is not circumstances that dictate our mood, but our ability to acknowledge God's involvement in our lives. Joy is the contentment we feel with the money and possessions we now have. And joy is the excitement we experience about the sense of purpose God gives us for our life.
As we become more like Jesus, we experience several aspects of peace. We can have peace with people we disagree with over "disputable matters." We can have peace with people outside the faith, including government leaders. We experience internal peace that removes anxiety and worry. And we have peace with God through his forgiveness.
Self-control is empowered by God-control, which gives us the strength to control our tongue, our temper, our impulses, our addictions to food, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, or chemical substances, and to control our bodies and minds from sexual expression that's contrary to biblical teaching.
Hope for a Christian is not found in health or wealth, because both are uncertain. Our hope is based on God's promise that he is working everything out for our good. Our hope is increased by daily growing more and more like Christ. And our hope is tied to heaven and what God is preparing for us there.
Patience can be tough! But by trusting in God's goodness, we can put matters into God's hands when we have to wait; we can restrain our anger when we have to endure suffering; we can maintain our integrity when we're under pressure; and we can keep our composure when people irritate us.
George MacDonald writes, "To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved." We establish our good name with God and others based on our loyalty to those relationships. God does not call us to be successful, but to be faithful. A faithful person follows through on commitments made to God, which might mean taking an unpopular stand or following God even when it involves suffering.
The virtue of gentleness is one we don't usually focus on. It is gentleness that helps us consider our own shortcomings when faced with the failures of others. Gentleness keeps us from raising our voice. It allows people to make mistakes. It makes us sensitive to the needs of others.