During the pandemic it is safe to say that we have all experienced either being bored of being alone, and/or sick and tired of being in the house with the same people. To ease that loneliness, or just to meet new people, some have joined dating apps. According to an article on Fortune, from March to May of 2020 (the very beginnings of lockdown), one popular app, Bumble, reported increases in video calls by 70%. The article responded to this stat by saying, “Seems that even a pandemic can’t stop the search for love.”
With that said, how do single Christians who are possibly looking for someone gain successful relationships? They use the Fruit of the Spirit, as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Let’s discuss each “fruit”, and show how people can use each one to make their relationships thrive.
This one is mentioned first for one of two reasons. First, 1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us this is the greatest attribute in the life of a Christian: “And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Second, if you don’t have love in your relationship, why bother being in a relationship at all? In another way, if you do not love the Lord, you will not have a good relationship. There is a great article from the website Desiringgod.com that builds on this point, citing Mark 12:30: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” They continue to say that you can’t love anyone else without first loving the Lord. In that same way, put your trust in God, because only he knows who you will truly love.
Joy is a key component in all of our relationships. Problems may easily arise when there is no joy in our friendships, family dynamics, working relationships, etc.
In the same way, we need to make sure that others are joyful in their relationship with you. Our actions and words will determine the level of joy others receive from our relationship.
Peace is an attribute that can lead to problems if it is not present in your relationship. The absence of peace leads to arguments and division, and nobody wants that. Try to come to compromises when you can, and try and find ways to agree. Another thing, don’t, if not rarely, talk about sensitive subjects like politics because that will also lead to fights.
This is a fruit that should not be ignored, despite the fact that it’s close to the bottom of the list. Being patient with each other can also strengthen a relationship. 1st Corinthians 13:4 reminds us that “Love is patient”.
To succeed in this, have some leeway in some aspects. For example, if you find they have a bad habit, don’t keep pestering them to quit. Instead, use patience, and route them on in their goal to quit, or just keep encouraging them. That way, God’s timing can work, and they can work it out.
This is a key component in every relationship. Being kind to each other leads to having plenty of joy in your relationship. Also, spreading kindness to others around you can strengthen you. Philippians 2:2-4 explains this subject more.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
That last part of the verse describes kindness in a relationship perfectly: valuing others above yourselves is a great way to show kindness to others.
In a relationship, having Goodness is showing Godliness. Basically, follow his word, pray on it, and make sure that all you do is right with God. Also, thank God for your relationships, and thank Him for all the blessings he has brought you so far.
An article from Apply God’s Word, Mark Ballenger writes, “When you feel closer to God, not further away, you are in the right relationship”. Ballenger goes on to cite a verse from the book of Proverbs that builds on this point: “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” -Proverbs 13:20. If you don’t walk with God you cannot experience true goodness, and you will struggle to do it on your own.
Proverbs 3:3-4 instructs us to, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”
Being faithful means proving ourselves to be trustworthy. When we are unfaithful we shatter that trust and we will fall out of favor in our relationships, especially our relationship with God. Be faithful to one another, in triumph and tribulation, and God will bless your relationship.
Gentleness mostly relates to having humility in relationships. To show gentleness is to be genuinely humble. Gentleness helps us not to take our relationships for granted, an it helps us be peacemakers in our relationships. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that, A gentle answer turns away wrath. Gentleness allows us to listen and to be willing to compromise whenever possible.
1 Peter 2:11 — “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.”
Self-control help us to keep our relationships honest and pure. Self-centeredness will open the door for greed, anger, or lust to enter and cause havoc in our relationship. If left unchecked, the “self” will always try to take center-stage in our relationships, creating havoc, and causing deep hurt in the lives of others.
This is how to use the Fruit of the spirit to benefit relationships.