I know it’s a broad question, but when asked – how will you be known – what’s your answer?
I ask this question because it’s one that has been plaguing my mind for a few months now. It plays constantly in the background of my thoughts, and inevitably causes me to question everything about my life.
I reckon that’s the point since what I have gotten from this continuous tune is the wake up call that there is something I need to be paying attention to.
That something has been the Creator trying to get my attention about the fruit of the Spirit.
His Spirit. His ways. His blueprint for a Set-apart life.
I started hearing questions like, “Am I really walking out love, joy, peace, patience…?”
“What does it really mean to have joy if it’s not connected to happiness (as I know it)?”
“How are each of the fruit of the Spirit connected?”
“What is the significance of the word ‘fruit’?”
So, the search began. One word at a time.
Two main things branched from this quest:
- Questions to ask yourself when you want to check how you will be known [and]
- A nice Bible study guide
Creating a Bible study guide (AKA writing another book) wasn’t my original intention, but I kept hearing, “You need to share this. Others want to learn about this. People are eager to go deeper.”
So out of pure obedience, I am sharing the layout I used in my personal journal while studying out the fruit of the Spirit.
Several months ago when I started this study I had no idea where it was going to take me. I didn’t have a set plan of action.
All I knew was that I needed to learn about each of the characteristics mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 and how it relates to Matthew 12:33 and the passage in John 15:1-5.
The following questions stemmed from that thought:
What do I currently know and/or believe about the word?
It’s so easy to adopt the knowledge and understanding from others as our own. We regurgitate it with confidence and can even be found continuing our studies and lives as though it’s the Truth.
The question here is – what do YOU know (and believe) about the word?
Not what your pastor, teacher, or leader knows and believes. Not what your spouse knows and believes. And not what your friends know and believe.
This question still pierces me right now today and is much of the fuel that fills my seeking tank. I was practically born in church so there has always been the heavy influence of those around me to learn this, believe that, walk it out this way, say it that way.
The truth of the matter is we are all held accountable for our own walk. Yes, what we say and do to others is in their too but it points back to us and our choices. So the question now becomes – am I going to study and show MYSELF approved?
What does the word mean in its original language?
I used to not understand the importance and significance of learning Scripture in its original language. I never could understand my husband’s zeal behind what he would call, “Getting back to his Hebraic roots.”
Almost three years later and I finally get it. It has been said time and time again about any book written that if you don’t understand the intended meaning from the one who wrote it, you’ll never really understand the story. How true is that?
A good author writes a book in a way for the reader to be able to understand the story, without question and without guessing what it’s about. Good authors “set the stage”.
The same is true with Scripture. I grew up with the Americanized, westernized thought process placed on Scripture. So the Word inevitably became borderline fairy-tale-like. It was filtered through modern-day conditions and situations. And the worst part is a lot of it was left out.
Small tangent here – this is why a lot, and I mean a lot of people leave church, the faith, and anything dealing with what they were taught as children. Taking what was taught and attempting to walk it out when no one else is really doing what is actually taught in Scripture can breed a psychological meltdown like no other!
Nevertheless, it should be understood that the original language of the Bible was not English. It wasn’t Spanish. It’s not Korean, nor German. It’s Hebrew. The thought process of Scripture is Hebrew. The stories, accounts, parables, and even the instructions/commandments are understood from a Hebraic perspective.
Instead of seeing it as a threat to your current spiritual status, allow the journey of finding the root meaning become something exciting… as exciting as a child on his/her birthday.
What are details about this word (root meanings, different ways used in Scripture, etc.)?
Once you start on the path to understanding the original language and meaning of Scripture you’ll want (or most likely need) more details about the word you’re studying. This is where understanding root meanings and seeing it used throughout Scripture comes in.
There is no doubt about the fact that Scripture clearly defines itself. The more you study a word, the more it becomes revealed throughout.
Are there specific Scriptures and/or passages to help me understand this word better?
If you’re like me, understanding a biblical concept can be difficult sometimes. Whether it’s because I don’t have the contextual knowledge or just plum lacking the wisdom, I admit that I need help.
Finding specific Scriptures and passages have helped me tremendously at understanding a particular word better. In the words of my husband, Bryan, “To get the best understanding – read it all.” And he’s right. In most cases, plucking out a Scripture here or there will only mean so much, but reading an entire chapter can help with better understanding.
Not to mention, they didn’t have “chapter and verse” when Scripture was written. They had scrolls. Hence where the saying “be a Berean” comes from.
After studying, what is my new understanding?
The next three questions are the hardest part for me. Sure, I can study. I can journal. I can make great graphics and Facebook posts about it… but has my understanding changed?
After doing in depth word studies, we should have a new understanding. Even if we feel like we’ve learned all we can from a word, a passage, an entire book – there is more.
That’s one concept that is in plain sight – YHVH is all-knowing, the Father of all knowledge, all wisdom, all understanding, the keeper of secret things which we do not know. However, even then, we are told that we can ask for knowledge and wisdom. And in the midst of that, we are told to get understanding.
What influences the way I walk it out?
After asking myself this question, I wondered why it didn’t come to me before getting this far in my word study. But then it clicked. I needed to understand the influences of how I previously walked out what I knew paired with the new understanding of how to walk it out now.
I hope that makes sense. Because you see, we are habitual by nature. We can make something a habit, even when it isn’t so good for us. And there are influences at play behind it all.
So, coming to terms with what influences the way you walk out the word opens the possibility of making necessary changes throughout your walk. We should be growing, not staying stagnant. Our actions should line up with what we know, not simply getting puffed up.
Another key thing to note with this question is coming to terms (and being okay) with admitting the roots to your influences. Are you greatly influenced by your church, your study group, your girlfriends, or even your spouse? And if so, is it in alignment with Scripture? Is it causing you to grow, increasing your faith, building you up, and so on?
If you find that your greatest influences are not so good for you, that calls for some special attention, direction, and action… especially with the next, and last, question.
Where do I need to make improvements?
Just when I thought I was done, this last question came to mind. I thought, “Great… more reality checks!” But seriously though, it’s very much needed if we want to become people who not only know the Word, but are able to walk out the Word.
Improvements are a must. They should never stop. Because let’s face it, He wants it all.
Taking a microscopic view of my life through this word study has been one of the most eye-opening experiences for me. I have cried, and I have laughed. I have had to ask for forgiveness, and I have repented. I’ve been mad, and I’ve been happy.
Throughout this [ongoing] study Abba has really shook me, but He also showed me that He loves me and wants the best for me. And that’s why I know that I was supposed to publish my fruit of the Spirit Bible study guide… because someone else out there needs to know that YHVH loves them.
No matter what they’ve done. Where they’ve been. And where they thought they were going.
Studying the fruit of the Spirit has shown me that it’s all about the Father, His redemptive love, and His will for us. Yeah, we say we know it’s all about the Father, but do you really see it? Can you really feel it? Do you really know it?
The Bible Study Guide
Just in case you’re wondering whether or not you need this Bible study, here’s an excerpt from the book that answers that question:
“This Bible study tool + journal was created for me just as much as it was for you. And to be completely honest, I made it public because I didn’t want to be the only one getting their toes stepped on or being forced to look deep into areas that were closed off a long time ago. The Father is asking me to really examine my heart and my walk. He is asking me to open up every area of my life for Him to do spiritual surgery. How about you?
As I began to write this I instantly knew that it wouldn’t be a quick and painless process. There is no anesthetic. And the recovery time is unknown. What I do know is the Physician performing the surgery is the best out there. His methods have been proven to be True; therefore, the recovery, no matter how long it may be, is totally worth it.
My advice to you girlfriend is take your time. Take as long as you need. But whatever you do, don’t give up. Allow the process of working through this study do what it needs to do in your life. Don’t beat yourself up for what may be revealed, and welcome the changes with an openness and expectation of true transformation. Ignore the unexpected expectations that come with being a woman, a wife, a mother, and a friend. Forget about what you hope to look like on the other side of this and just become… become a woman who walks out the Word and the rest will take care of itself.”
I was also told that I needed to do a virtual group Bible study to help walk others down this process. The details are not yet in stone, but I am gathering a list of ladies that are interested so I can keep you updated on when it will happen. When you opt-in for the free sample, you’ll be in the know as the details roll out.
CHIME IN: How do you want to be known? What are you currently doing to ensure your fruit of the Spirit meter is up to par? Let’s chat in the comments below!