There is a huge difference between “fruit of the Spirit” that makes us like Christ, and “fruit” that comes as a result of our actions. When we read the Bible, we need to read contextually. What does this mean? Reading the Bible in context means we need to gain a full awareness of the passage or paragraph rather than just pulling out one verse. Let’s jump in to our first week of the MSI study on the fruit of the Spirit!!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- John 15:9-11
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- MomStrong International
- Evangelical Christian Credit Union
- Scripture Writing Challenge (available in both English and Spanish)
- Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference
- Hot Monogamy
Join me at the next Heidi St. John Conference on August 24 in Lee’s Summit, MO
Scripture Mentioned in Podcast
- Philippians 4:12-13
- Galatians 5
- 1 Corinthians 1:10
- 1 Corinthians 12:4-12
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey everybody. This is Heidi St John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Wednesday, June 5th this is episode number 775—and we’re right in the middle of the week. My son is graduating on Saturday, so the festivities are ramping up around here, but I’m going to be spending a little bit of time with you today digging into the first week of a brand new series at MomStrong International on the Fruit of the Spirit. I can’t wait.
Stick around. I think you’re going to be encouraged.
All right, so for those of you who are brand new to the podcast, I want to welcome you. We have been doing this now for many years. I think we’re going on seven years. Can you guys believe it? I was talking about that with my husband today and we were like—oh my goodness, we’ve been doing this for a long time. I have kind of a funny history. Many of you been listening from the very beginning. I started out doing like an hour long show and then I realized in pretty short order—I can do that. At least not three times a week. And I really wanted to come in and do, you know, three times a week—a little shot in the arm. And so at that point we decided to roll it back a little and we did a five minute little shot in the arm—five minutes. Well, by the time I got done saying hi to everybody and saying goodbye—there was no time to talk about anything I wanted to talk about. So eventually we sort of made it into this, right around 20 to 30 minutes.
Typically the podcast or not less than 20 minutes and they’re not more than 30 minutes—depending on what’s on my heart for that day. But the Lord has been faithful to grow the podcast. We average about anywhere from a 60,000 unique downloads and episode to 160,000—which was about what the yoga podcast got. You guys were all—that was a thing. And actually we’re going to get back to that at another point in time and really go back and talk about it again. But what I wanted to say is thank you.
Thank you for sharing this podcast with your friends. Thank you for listening. Thank you for praying for us. As you can imagine, it takes a lot to get this podcast out to you three days a week. And I want to just encourage you, there’s a couple of ways that you can help support us. First of all, please visit our sponsors. We’ve been blessed to take on some sponsorships this year at the podcast, which is really helping us because we’ve invested in getting some people here helping us who transcribe it, people who mix it down, people who help us get it out on social media. So it takes a team of people to get the podcast to you three days a week. So you could visit our sponsors. We have Evangelical Christian Credit Union and I will link back to them in the show notes today.
They have been a fantastic sponsor for us. Also, we’re running a promotion right now for Father’s Day from my friends at MELT. And if you haven’t checked that out yet, definitely you’re gonna want to do that. We love working with them and they always have a really great promotion for you that’s specific to the audience here at the Heidi St. John podcast. So check it out. But anytime you guys hear us promote something to you, those people are actually paying to have a spot on this podcast. So go check out what they’re doing and give me your feedback. I would love to hear what you think about the sponsors that we’re bringing on. Also, you can support us financially, by clicking on the e-giving link in the show notes and by reaching out to us via mail. And here’s our address. It’s 11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682.
We love hearing from you. I love getting your letters and obviously we love your financial support as well. So keep praying for us. We’re going to keep bringing this podcast to you for as long as the Lord allows us to do it. And we’re very, very pleased just to see it growing the way that it is.
Today’s the first day of the study at MomStrong International. So you guys know that I started MomStrong International about a year and a half ago. And we’re coming up on 13,000 of you who subscribe every month to the Scripture Writing Challenge—that challenges FREE. If you haven’t yet done it with us, you can jump in at any time. But the best time of course is at the beginning of a month because we start a new study. So the idea is that we’re writing studies for you and those studies are relevant. We’re hoping to address what’s happening in the culture in real time.
And so—we’ve studied five traits of false teachers, we’ve studied what it means to walk in right relationship with the Lord when it comes to parenting and marriage. For the next couple of months we’re going to be digging into the fruits of the Spirit. And I’ll be talking a little bit more about that today. But you can become a leader with MomStrong International. And what we’re hoping to see happen is for MomStrong International to be in churches all around the world. And so you can become a leader at MomStrong International. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to do that. The studies themselves are just $8 a month. And if you’ve never downloaded one I want to just encourage you to do it. You’d be amazed. It’s a very meaty study because what we’re trying to do is not water down the Word for you. We think that you guys can actually study God’s Word.
The Bible says that we are to study His Word to be able to give an answer for the hope that lies within us. And so, it’s part of the heart here at the Heidi St. John podcast, and also at MomStrong International—to equip you through listening to the Word through the podcast and also through studying the word with us at MomStrong International, to be able to go out into the culture and be a light and really bring the hope of the gospel to a world that desperately needs it.
One of the ways that I do that also is by speaking. Coming up, I’m going to be at the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference June 13th through 15th at the Crowne Plaza at the Denver airport. That’ll be next week. This week I’m focused on my son Spencer’s graduation from our homeschool. Really excited to launch this young man out into the world. He’s looking at going to Bible College in the fall, and we’re just excited to see where God takes him next. These years that we spend with our kids, parenting our children—you know when our kids were little, it can seem like it takes so much time, and it does. But the time is going by so fast and I want to encourage you, if your children are home especially—lean into it.
One of the questions I get frequently here at the podcast is—how did I become a speaker? How did I become a writer? It’s a really long story, but I always tell people the main take away from how the Lord brought me to this place in my life—is that I do it with my family. My husband travels with me. Our kids are often with us on the road—many of you guys have met them. And through the years, about 15 years that I’ve been doing this, our kids have grown up. Most of them now, I guess I’m coming up on the most part, I can’t even believe it. Four of the seven are adults now and a walking with the Lord on their own. And the three that we have a home, two are in high school and I’ve got one coming up in fifth grade. And you guys—oh my goodness—the hardest, best thing you will ever do is invest in your kids. Invest in your kids, invest in your marriage.
A couple of weeks ago I was real tired. Some of you guys saw me post this on Facebook. Sometimes, you know, I’m just like the rest of you. I get too many weeks in a row without a break. Too much time on an airplane, too much travel, not enough time in the Word of God. And I can hit a dry spells in my own life. And definitely, a couple of weeks ago I was just like—DING, dry spell! And my sweet man noticed it. And it was having an effect on our relationship with each other. You guys ever get into a spot with your husband, or with your wife, when you haven’t taken the time for whatever reason? It could be because you’ve got a newborn. It can be because work is pressing. It can be because of an illness in your family, or just a stretch of travel—or whatever it is. And we were, I mean not hitting a horrible spot—but we were hitting a wall, and we hit a rough spot. And he surprised me a couple of weeks ago and took me out for the evening and we ended up spending the night at McMenamins Lodge in Kalama. And I linked to it because, first of all—it’s just a wonderful night for us to get away. And secondly, it reminded us that just hitting the reset button and going–oh yeah, that’s why. That’s why we’re working so hard. That’s why we care about the podcast. That’s why we homeschooled our kids, because the Lord brought us together as a married couple to do something for the Kingdom of God. And that’s how He sees all of you. Every single one of you that’s listening to this, whether you’re married or not, God has something that He wants you to do. And sometimes we need to take a step back and hit the reset, and take a rest, and take a pause.
And it’s amazing to me how God uses that to refresh us and get us back out onto the battlefield. So if that’s where you are right now, I just want to encourage you—it’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to say—you know what, Babe? We need to spend some time together. Spending some time alone with your spouse is one of the reasons why I love taking on the sponsorship partnership that we have with MELT. Which we’ve been doing for several years here after I wrote a post called Hot Monogamy, just talking about the importance of nurturing the romance—that part of our marriages that we so often lose sight of when the kids come and the mortgages come and the pressures of the world seem to weigh in on us. And the marriages that survive, listen up the marriages that survive, but not only survive—thrive—they thrive through intentionality. They thrive because we’ve decided to invest in them. Your children will thrive because you decide to invest in them—because you say no to some things in order to say yes to other things.
And so wherever you are in your marriage, in your parenting right now, if you’re feeling weary—and a lot of us get to June, right–we’re done with school and we’re looking at a little bit of a break. Take a break, take a break. One of the ways that I take a break, is just by getting alone with the Lord. And so that’s part of our heart for continuing the study at MomStrong International through the summertime. You guys don’t have a lot of the normal things on your plate that you do. It’s a great time to develop a habit of being in the Word of God.
If you’re not studying with me and you’ve kind of been on the edge and just sort of thinking about it, you guys—with 13,000 of you following me with the Scripture Writing Challenge, we want to see even more and more and more of that number coming over to the actual study—because really, the Scripture Writing Challenge is just to wet your whistle. It’s just to have you see the power of being in God’s Word. And then hopefully you’ll start doing the study with us and we can dig even deeper, and grow even more in our relationship with the Lord. And so this month, and for the next two months, as we study the fruit of the Spirit—it’s important for you guys to understand that there’s a big difference between the fruit of the Spirit that the Bible teaches that makes us like Christ, and the fruit that comes as a result of our actions.
And oftentimes when I’m out on the road or teaching at my women’s conference, or wherever it is—I see these two conflated. And so I want to differentiate between those at the podcast today and just say—we’re going to dig into the fruit of the Spirit, which is what makes us like Christ. So when we read the Bible, and when we study the Bible—we want to read it contextually. And so what that means is that we read the Bible in context so that we can gain a full awareness and an understanding this complete of the passage or the paragraph, rather than just pulling a verse out of the sky and studying this verse and that verse. When we pull out one verse at a time—oftentimes we miss appropriate that verse and we use it in a way that it wasn’t intended to be used.
So for example, an example of this is found in Philippians 4:13—I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So is the apostle Paul giving you the freedom to enter an Olympic marathon with no training and then anticipate a winning that’s based on the belief that God’s going to strengthen you—you know, supernaturally? No. Right? That’s laughable. So if you want to understand where it’s coming from, you got back up a little bit. And instead of focusing on Philippians 4:13, we’re going to go back to Philippians 4:12 and then read verse 13. So it says, I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
So the actual context of Philippians 4:13 is the provision of God, how God provides for us, whether we are in a time of want or we are in a time of plenty. And this has certainly been the case throughout my life as Jay and I’ve gone through seasons of struggle, and seasons of just absolute rapture and joy. God is in all of it and He wants us to walk in right relationship with Him. And so, this month we’re studying the fruits of the Spirit. We’re going to begin a study on it and I just want to encourage you to jump in, grab some women from your area. Women, you can become a leader. And once you download the Bible Study, you’ll see we do something every week called Kids Strong. It’s an opportunity for you to take what we’re learning and then apply it to your life right now. So, you apply it to your life and then we’re going to teach you how to teach it to other people because really that’s the heartbeat behind the ministry that is MomStrong International—is to teach us as we studied together to rightly divide God’s Word. So we first learn the Word, then we learn how to love other people according to what God’s Word says, and then we learn how to lead other people in right relationship with the Lord. To take a position of leadership in the culture. It’s something that I am so passionate about. In fact, my women’s conference coming up this next year—it’s going to be focused on leadership and leading like Jesus does and what does it look like to shine, to shine the love of Jesus, to shine it in our marriages, to shine it with our parenting, to shine it in the culture. God says that we are going to be known for our love, right?
The Bible says that they’ll know you are Christians by your love—which is guess what? It’s a fruit of the Spirit, right? It’s a fruit of the Spirit. And so we want to be looking as we walk through the fruits of the Spirit, and be careful in the way that we handle God’s Word so that we understand there’s a difference between the fruit of our action, and the fruit of our Spirit—the fruit of God’s Spirit, rather. We want to be careful in how we handle God’s Word, which is the Word of truth. And then, be sure that we understand why it matters. That the fruit of the Spirit is different than the fruit that comes from our actions.
Bruce Hurt defines the difference in these two things as a spiritual attitude fruit, which is what we’re studying in Galatians 5, right?–love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control—and a spiritual action fruit. He said, every believer manifests all the actions of his spiritual attitude fruit to some degree, although often one or several traits will be predominant. The spiritual attitude fruit precedes spiritual action fruit. Did you guys here that? Our spiritual attitude fruit proceeds, or it comes before, spiritual action fruit. If the spiritual attitudes are present, the fruit of good deeds will invariably follow. In 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul Describes believers filled with, or controlled by, the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding and thereby walking worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him. And here comes—bearing fruit in every good work. So we want to note that spiritual action fruit is preceded by a spiritual attitude fruit that Paul describes in Galatians 5.
And oftentimes in parenting our children, and many times Jay and I have been praying to see us a particular fruit in the life of one of our kids. And there’s one day in particular I remember calling him at work and just…this thing that we’d been praying about with one of our kids. And I was like—honey, oh my goodness, I just saw fruit on our little tree. He was like—no way. Yes, it’s true.
We had been praying for this particular kid, and praying that the fruit of the Spirit, which was in this case the fruit of self-control—would manifest itself in the life of my child by watching this child demonstrate the action that comes from the attitude of self-control. Having an attitude that saying—I’m going to allow myself to be controlled by the Spirit instead of controlled by the flesh. And wouldn’t you know it, as I was talking to my husband on the phone, the same kid that I was just saying—he’s got it! we figured it out!—came careening through the kitchen, did the exact opposite thing that I was just telling my husband that we’d finally got figured out and I was like… nevermind, false alarm, no fruit. Talk to you later. Right?
Because we pray for these things, It’s not just going to happen. The fruit of the Spirit is a vibrant, singular, rich fruit with heart attitudes, right? That not only support and balance each other, but they enhance each other. Right? And so, we want to see that in our kids. We want to see that in ourselves. And like I’m always saying—we can’t give our kids what we don’t have. So one woman said—I want what you have. I want to be gentle and kind. And in the same conversation said—no, Jesus seems like a good person, but I wouldn’t want to follow Him. This is a major disconnect and we’re going to be studying it at MomStrong International this month because this is such a major disconnect that it’s heartbreaking.
Because without the Spirit of God that changes us to become like Christ, we’re not going to be able to pour His heart out to the world around us.
And so instead, I want to encourage you to practice the work of daily surrender, and become malleable in the hands of the Father, right? So let’s not confuse the fruit of the Spirit with the gifts of the Spirit. That’s another thing, right? Paul’s instructs believers in Corinth, in 1 Corinthians 12:4-12 that there is one Spirit and Lord—but varieties of the gifts that He gives to certain people in certain times for certain reasons. And so, we’re going to be studying that a little bit at MomStrong International and discover why it’s important that we make a distinction between these things. So in this next season of our lives, I’m going to encourage you—let’s purpose to dig really deep and discover what the fruit attitudes of our hearts are, and where we need to fertilize them with the Word of God to bring nutrients to our walk with Him.
So where are we need to apply protection so that worms of bitterness and anger don’t infect our fruit and bring rottenness, right? And we want to ask the Lord to help us have a mature fruit that grows in a tranquil heart, so that it can be the desire that fuels a willingness to grow in right relationship with God.
Are you guys ready to do this with me? Study with me this summer. Take this season that God has given us that’s not quite as busy—certainly not as busy as the fall. We’re not surrounded by Christmas decorations and having to do all those things, right? This is a great time to grow stronger and your relationship with God. I want to encourage you to do it.
Join me at MomStrongInternational.com. We want to hear from you. I want to hear how it’s impacting your life. What’s the study doing in your life that’s helping you grow in right relationship with God?
I want to remind you guys, I will be at the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference from June 13th through 15th, coming right up, at the Crowne Plaza Denver airport. When you see me, I might be a little teary eyed having just graduated our fourth son from our homeschool. You guys, it’s amazing how fast it goes by. Your children have been given to you like arrows in the hands of a warrior. Let’s study so that we can give our kids an absolute launch that we know has been done in the power, and the strength, of the Holy Spirit. I love you guys. Thanks for listening and I’ll see you back here on Friday.
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c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
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