Over the last two weeks we looked at the integrity of God. God is unchanging, and that reality is a sure and steady anchor for our souls. But not only does this truth speaks to our hearts, it informs our lives as well. This week, we’ll be talking about the pursuit of gentleness and how it honors God.
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Matthew 7:17-20
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- MomStrong International
- Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center
- All of my events
- Becoming MomStrong
- Firmly Planted Family Bible Study
Scripture Mentioned in Podcast
- 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
- Ephesians 2:10
- 3 John 1:4
- Mark 10:18
- Psalm 53:1
- 1 Samuel 12:3
- 1 Samuel 12:14-15
- 1 Samuel 12:24-25
- Matthew 24:44
Join us at MomStrong International for our Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey friends, this is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the show. I’m so glad you guys have joined me today. It’s Wednesday, August 21st this is episode number 808. It’s week three of the MomStrong International Bible study. Today we’re going to focus on the character trait of gentleness— which is a fruit of the Spirit.
Stick around. I think you’re going to be encouraged
Thanks for listening today everybody. This is a busy, busy week for me. As I said to you guys on Monday, a lot’s going on. My house is getting repiped today. Moment of silence—that’s gonna take a week. I’m going out of town tomorrow heading to Kansas City so I can get ready to minister to the women there. We have been planning this for over a year and we are going to be doing some wonderful, wonderful things in Kansas City. I’m so excited about what God is doing. I am thrilled to be a part of the ministry of Abundant Life Church, which has been under the leadership of Pastor Phil Hopper, who has become a friend of mine.
Wow, you guys. God’s doing amazing things in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. So come out and say hello, bring your friends, bring your grandma, bring your mom, bring your daughter. We’re going to have a great time. My family’s coming out and we make sort of a family worship team all together. So my son Spencer is on drums, my son in law Ryan is going to be playing electric guitar and trading off acoustic with my husband, Sierra and Savannah both sing and play instruments. I think you guys are going to be really encouraged. So come on out. I will see you guys this Saturday and we still have room for tickets at the door. If you go to HeidiStJohn.com/events, you can still order your lunch ahead of time. So anyway, we’re super excited about that. I’ll see you there this weekend. And then shortly after that on the 29th, I will be at Valley Baptist church in Bakersfield. Really excited about that.
We have so many really wonderful things going on and we’re just thrilled that you guys are coming along with us for the ride. For those of you who live in the Portland, Vancouver area, classes are going to start at the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center. Tons of amazing stuff going on there. You can check that out https://www.fphrc.org/. Next month in September, I’m going to be doing my Faith That Speaks conference is going to be in Virginia and then after that I will be coming and bringing my conference right here to my neck of the woods on October 11th and 12th in Vancouver at Firmly Planted and you guys coming out for that, there’s still an early bird rate window open for that right now, so check it out.
All right, I want to dig right into the Bible study for today. I’m real excited. For those of you who have been studying with us at MomStrong International , you know we started this with the hope that you would want to dig into God’s Word. One of the things that has been on my heart lately is just our need to be in the Word, but also how women’s Bible Study groups have really become known for gossip and reading books that really aren’t bringing us to Scripture. I want to bring you to Scripture.
So this month we’re talking about the fruit of the Spirit. We’ve actually been doing that all summer. If you’re not part of the ministry at MomStrong international, I want to just encourage you to do that. You can also pick up my book Becoming MomStrong. There’s a whole series of books now out around that and I’m working on a new one MomStrong 365, which by the grace of God will be out sometime next year. So pray for me. I’m in the middle of writing that right now.
As we look at our passage this month, and as we sort of bring it to an end, we’re going to end up for the next two weeks, we’re going to be studying about goodness. We’ve talked about integrity and kindness. And this week we’re talking about goodness and we’re gonna be talking about faithfulness. And then for the month of September we’re going to move into a new study called Ambassador. And there’s never been a better time for you and me to be an Ambassador of the Lord Jesus. So check it out at MomStrong International .com. You can download the free Scripture Writing Challenge, and for about $8 and some change every month you can join us for the Bible study. I promise you will not be sorry that you did. It’s also a really great way for you to support the ministry.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 says To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I think this is so beautiful how he says to fulfill every desire for goodness. And as we talk a little bit about goodness, because it’s really been maligned in the culture, you know—don’t be a goody two shoes. Don’t tell me what to do. As we talk a little about goodness, we’re going to be really seeking the Lord and the Holy Spirit to help us become men and women who are known for our goodness, which comes from the Lord. It’s a fruit of the Spirit. Ephesians 2:10 says For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. If you’ve ever felt hesitant about doing something and voiced your doubts to mischievous companions, this response is probably what I just said a few minutes ago— Don’t be a goodie two shoes. No one cares. What’s your problem? It’s fascinating that our flesh rises up so much against the pursuit of righteousness. Why, when righteousness brings with it the fullest benefits of becoming more like Jesus, do we fight it in order to choose something lesser? It’s a good question. Instant gratification and immediate pleasure are wells that promise satisfaction but deliver gritty sand to our thirsty souls, and this is the trap of the enemy. We fall into it all the time.
Instant gratification. It’s why people can sell books like your best life now and have a new kid by Friday because we don’t want to do the work to get there. We want that instant gratification. That’s what our flesh wants, and righteousness that’s fleshed out in our lives instead brings rich satisfaction and deep contentment. That’s the contentment that is with us, even when we’re struggling in other areas of our lives. The Holy Spirit working goodness in us, producing goodness through us…it’s hard to believe He would be so gracious to do such things. But for His glory, He does. Remember we’ve been saying this at the podcast all the time— that the Lord of Heaven’s armies, the God of the universe, the One who created and loves you, is resolutely committed to His own glory. For His glory, He does work in us and through us. Before the dawn of time He preordained good works for us to walk in—the choice is ours whether we engage in those opportunities or we let them pass us by.
This is why I’m always telling you guys— get off the bench. God didn’t put you here for nothing. He wants you to do something, for you are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God’s already prepared for you beforehand. That’s why I love having people on the show like Stephanie Carlson, and Dr. Duke Pesta, and my friend Bill Jack—because these guys have gotten off the bench and they’ve said: Lord, use me. It doesn’t mean that life is always going to be easy. No, it means that God has something for you to do and He’s going to help you to do it even when life is difficult, even when you’re struggling.
Think about this for a minute: What good works could be so important that God actually prepared them beforehand? Choices and actions that will glorify Him and bless those around us—is really the answer, right? And so I want you to think about this with me for just a minute there. Once a little girl was in a home where the inhabitants were in the midst of great turmoil; a time of betrayal, anger, and grief. She was unaware of the situation, but remarked as she went outside that it was a dark place. The world, without the goodness of Jesus, is a dark place. God preordained good works in order for the world to see His glory and find eternal truth, and He loves us so much that He allows us to have a role in His glorious creation! Every single one of us has a deep desire for our kids to grow up and be good people. The apostle Paul said, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). Neither we nor our children can walk in truth without being taught and trained in it.
This is why MomStrong International is so important. This is why focusing on training our children in righteousness is a big deal. We’ve got to train our children up in the truth, to bring them up in it and train them in it. We can’t pass on what we don’t possess. Think about this for just a little bit….if nothing in the world is truly capable of being good due to sin tainting it all, then the only goodness that can exist is that which is born of God. The Gospels record Jesus teaching, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’ they are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; there is no one who does good” (Mark 10:18; Psalm 53:1).
How can we walk in good works preordained by God for us? Well, here’s how you do it: By embracing salvation and inviting the Holy Spirit to bring His FULL STRENGTH to growing His fruit in our lives!
We talked on Monday a little bit about what happened with Josh Harrison, whether or not we could lose our salvation—can a believer lose his belief? It goes back to inviting the Holy Spirit to come into our lives and to walk in His strength, to walk in His power, not in our own. This has to do with the outworking of our faith. That has to do with whether or not we can be good at, has to do with whether or not we can be kind like we talked about last week. And as we pull it all together, we come back to the topic of integrity and integrity is heavily impacted by goodness.
We see this all throughout. Don’t believe me? Go to Washington DC. Don’t believe me? Look and see what’s happening on the news right now. My goodness. People committing suicide in prisons when they’re supposed to be people who are supposed to be watching them. There’s some crazy stuff going on in the world right now that involves integrity. When we are not people of integrity, we are also not going to be people who have any good in us and when we invite the Holy Spirit to produce His goodness in us, it’s going to require that we remove ugliness to make room for it. It’s going to require that we practice self control by choosing selfless responses to those around us. It will require practicing self-control by choosing selfless responses to those around us. It requires getting our heads up out of the weeds of parenting to see wildflowers along the road—and stop to pick them. Pursuing goodness involves joy and some dreaming; remembering sweetness and innocence and bringing those things to the table of our parenting and marriages so we can all be blessed and changed.
As you guys download this study this month, I hope that you’re blessed and encouraged because we don’t often talk about goodness in the culture. I’m going to spend a little bit of time for the next few minutes in 1 Samuel because parenting with goodness in mind requires that we lean into the Lord. So how do we train goodness in our precious children? Well, here’s how we do it, mom, grandma, dad —listened to this: model it, model it, model it. We can’t pass on what we don’t possess. The pursuit of righteousness, holiness, and goodness is a privilege and opportunity. When we moan about it in front of our kids, they will happily jump on the bandwagon. Shoring this up in their younger years will brace them for the onslaught of self-centeredness that the world tempts them with as they grow older.
It’s important that you train your children in righteousness and that you model the fruit of the Spirit for them. Talk about the fruit of the Spirit with your kids. Jay and I wrote a Family Bible Study called Firmly Planted. If you guys are looking for something to do with your older children at well with younger ones too —I wanted to just encourage you, check it out. The reason we did that several years ago is because we’ve noticed that parents are no longer in the Word at their kids. We take them to church, we drop them off at their Sunday school group, and we go to our church and then we meet up for lunch and we go home. We go on our separate ways and we have forgotten what it means to walk along the road with our kids when we stand up and when we sit down— to talk about the things that the lord and to model it for our kids. So let’s look for just a minute at 1 Samuel 12.Samuel has important things to declare to the Israelites. I’m going to read this for you and I want you to check it out.
1 Samuel 12:3 Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.”
1 Samuel 12:14-15 If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God—good! But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.
1 Samuel 12:24-25 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”
That’s hardcore. This is what he’s declaring to the Israelites. Why is he saying that he has earned the right to speak in their lives? He is saying that his conscience is at rest. When we have the legacy of a clear conscience, we have the wisdom of years to speak into our children’s lives. That’s really what he was doing, right? He was saying: here I stand, testify against me in the presence of the Lord whose ox have I taken, whose donkey have I taken, who have I cheated, who have I oppressed? If you are walking, parents, in right relationship with the Lord— then when it’s time to speak truth to the lives of your children and your conscience is at rest. Your kids will not be able to find fault in your testimony to them. Not that you’re without sin, but that we are constantly trying to be men and women of integrity.
I had the privilege not too long ago to speak before a political organization and my talk was on integrity. I was saying— listen, if you can’t be the men and women that you declare to be when you’re up here on the platform, get out of politics because we don’t need men and women who don’t have integrity in politics. That’s what I’m always telling Christians. Walk with the Lord and then run for office. Get on your school boards. Be men and women of integrity. Demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. This is so important because when we do this, God can use our lives. The legacy that God wants to give us is built one decision at a time. When you read Samuels message to the Israelites and how he’s able to give his message, it was because of the testimony of his life. How would he be a good role model if he didn’t have a life of integrity to back it up? How are we going to be good parents to our kids? We need to live a life that’s worthy of the Gospel. What a goal to be able to say as Samuel did: who have I defrauded, who have I oppressed? No one.
Now, if you’d like a role model of dishonesty and God’s handling of that, read Acts 5. I’ll just let you do that on your own. Acts 5:1-10. So if you’re ready for plenty of questions, and then you want to dig into it more, study it with your kids. The goal here is not to instill fear, but reverential fear and respect of how important truth is. You guys, it’s never been more important than it is right now. Our kids need to see us living lives of integrity. The Bible says that God blesses it. Over the last two weeks, we have looked into the integrity of God and we know that God is unchanging and that reality is a shore and study anchor, the Bible says, for our souls. But not only does God speak His truth to our hearts, He informs our lives as well. God’s always consistent. There is never any hypocrisy or fickleness in Him. God’s not going to change. His character isn’t going to change based on what a group of people does or who He’s with or the situation that He’s in. We are called as God’s people to reflect this consistency of character and integrity.
The first definition of integrity is a soundness of and adherence to moral principle and character; uprightness; honesty. The second is a state of being whole. This is when we say integrity—when we talk about integrity, we talk about the whole person. A person of integrity is not going to be one way at the office and another way in front of his wife. He’s going to be who he says he is no matter what situation he is in, and this is a life that God blesses.
Our integrity is the evidence that we know God and that His Spirit is working inside of us. When we come to Christ He begins to give us new desires and affections. We want to be integral because we want to reflect who God is to the culture around us. Scripture often uses the analogy of a fruit tree to talk about Christian character. The fruit doesn’t give the tree life, the root system does that. But the fruit is evidence that the tree has life. Healthy roots ensure healthy fruit. In the same way, our obedience is driven by grace—we long to please God because He’s already pleased with us in Christ. We begin to live lives of integrity.
We’re going to study this a whole lot more at MomStrong International. We’re going to be in the book of James in the book of First John, we’re gonna study in Ephesians and 2 Corinthians. I’m going to encourage you to open up your bibles and to be the men and women that God has called you to be through this study of His Word. These are amazing times. These are absolutely amazing times to be a Christian, to be the men and women that God has created us to be. I hope that you’re encouraged as God is speaking to you through this study of His Word. That’s what God wants to do.
I want to end today doing something that I haven’t done for a while. There was a question that I got recently from a mom who said that she is curious if I ever talked to my kids about Ecclesiastical things. In other words about the second coming of the Lord, about the rapture. I have a saying in our home called rapture ready. In fact, I was telling my husband, I want to make tee shirts that say: live like you’re leaving. In fact, I think I might do that. So those might show up at the next Faith That Speaks Conference.
I love this idea of living like we’re leaving. That’s part of the reason why we study God’s Word. Matthew 24:44 says So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. My grandmother was a Bible teacher. She loved the Word of God. And as I’ve been writing the new book that I’m working on, this has been coming to my mind quite a bit. She lived like she was leaving. She lived like the Lord is coming back. That was evidenced in the fruit of the Spirit in her life and in the goodness of her life. God wants that to be evidenced in our lives as well.
I hope you guys enjoyed this study this week at MomStrong International. This is a great time to become a leader. Did you know that you guys are gonna become a leader and you can start a chapter of MomStrong International in your home or in your city or in your church? We would love to see you do that. What would happen, men and women, if we began to study to show ourselves approved workman who do not need to be ashamed, but who rightly divide the Word of truth? I think we can find out as we study God’s Word and apply it to our everyday lives. Thanks for listening to the podcast today. I really appreciate it. Please be sure to leave reviews for the podcast over at iTunes. Tell your friends about it. We’re so excited to see you this weekend in Kansas City. I love you guys. Stay faithful and I’ll see you back here with Priscilla Shire on Friday.
Write to Heidi:
Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
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