Fruits of the Spirit

Fruits of the Spirit

By: Dr. Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez
| Dean, College of Performing and Visual Arts

OSS (Office of Student Services) Meditation
August 6, 2019, 9 am
Oriental Hall
Silliman University


Good Morning! Thank you for inviting me to share my Christ with you. I pray that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in His sight.

Our Scripture for today is taken from 3 passages of the Bible: 2 Corinthians 12:9, Micah 7:18- 19, Galatians 5:22-23.

2 Corinthians 12:9– “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in your weakness.”

Micah 7:18- 19-“Who is a God like you who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance. He does not retain His anger forever. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities.”

Galatians 5:22-23-“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law.”


About Fruits

The thing about a fruit is that it grows.  It does not automatically appear by the wave of a wand. There is a process; the process is hard and long. The planter takes care of the tree, visits it every day, waters it, talks to it until it flowers then it becomes a fruitlet. The planter continues to take care of it, shields it from insects until it is ripe for picking.

Metaphorically, this is how our heavenly Father takes care of us.

The World Today

Is the world in chaos. Killing? Stealing? Stabbing? Terror?
Are people angry? Are they sick in body and mind and soul?
Do we wake up in anxiety? Does our body ache?
Are our dreams and plans not fulfilled? Do we harbor hate and are unable to forgive?
Do we want to take revenge for injustice done to us and injustice done to others?

There would be many more questions I could ask but mahurot na atong time for worship.

One last question: which of the titles I have for my reflection today fits my reflection?

  • The Deaf, the Blind, the Dumb and the Feelers
  • Choosing Life
  • Grace -Repentance -Pardon -Living
  • Born to Die
  • Living Irony is NOT Living
  • Can your life’s Picture Change?

If your answer is YES to all these questions, welcome to our world!

It is ironic, that when we are born, we are taught that ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘my’ must be strong.  We are told that if  ‘I,’ ‘me’ and ‘my’ are strong, that is how ‘I’,  ‘me’ and ‘my’ will survive, and that that is the way to live. But  the truth is, that way we are taught is really how to die.

You see, survival in this world means playing by the rules of the world: LIE, CHEAT, STEAL, sleep with the Boss, Protest, Protest and Protest, among others, and when you win,  you are a success. Definition of success in this world could be wealth and influence.

One day, my student told me, “Ma’am, I play for a church nga puro dato jud…. Daghan kayo sila ug kwarta…. TANANpero gi-cancer pod kalabanan nilasigi ug ampo ni Lord to take away their cancer pero gi-cancer ra gihapon siladili pod tingali sila mo let go sa naka pa cancer nila.”

So the question is: are these people really living? Or are they just surviving? Are they born to die?

My daughter during fiesta time would say, “Luoy kaayo ang pigs, Ma. Ang ilang role sa life is ipa tambok ra sila para kan-on sa tawounsa man na na life… they were born to die.”

Do you feel like you were born to die, or do you think you were born to live?

There are so many years in between birth and death where we can truly find LIFE and LIVE it.

Some know that to truly LIVE, we need SALVATION. Some are truly saved and are truly living. Some are still learning how to be saved and many do not know that there is such a thing.

I think that all of us here  know how salvation works, right? Or do we?

The Fallen Angel and the Spiritual War

Anyway, it all began a long time ago, as the bible teaches that there was a dispute between God and his favorite angel Lucifer. Lucifer is said to be the most talented and most abilidaran of all the angels in heaven. BUT, because he was God’s favorite, he thought that he could be God. So God cast him down to earth. And God told him those who follow you will be yours and those who follow me will be mine (or was it the other way around? I’m not sure).

So Satan, as he is called here on earth, has this eternal fight called Spiritual Warfare.

The catch of spiritual warfare is FREE WILL. It is OUR CHOICE. Those who would follow God would be His and those who wouldn’t… you know na.


Power of Choice

A Pastor once told me that there are 3 big powers that have dominion over my body. The 1st power is  of good represented by an angel that sits on my right shoulder; the 2nd power is of evil represented by a [demon] that sits on my left shoulder. The 3rd power is in me; I will ultimately have the last say, the final decision, one that can make or break me. That is the POWER of CHOICE.

As you continue to be aware of the world around you, the fight between  good and  evil will be clearer to you. And at times the arms of  evil  will grasp at you and pull you under, especially when you remember the  “I”, “me” and “my.”



But because we are God’s children, when He cast Satan down to earth, He also sent measures for man to see Him and feel Him and listen to Him and accept Him. So they could truly LIVE.

One of the measures is Grace. “Grace is when God gives us good things that we don’t deserve.” Grace is when we wake up each morning, or when we can breathe and drink and eat.

Another is the Bible. The bible is a book that is God breathed. This is His way of speaking to us in this age. If you read it often, He will tell you how to truly LIVE.

Another is sending Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son so that in our deafness, blindness, and dumbness and feeling our feeler-ness, we could see Him and Touch Him, and Listen to Him and Choose Him. Because He loved us so much, He sent  Jesus to pay for all our transgressions. He died so we might LIVE.

And all we really had to do was accept Christ and be saved. Then we could truly live.

But again, it has to be our CHOICE.


Process of Salvation

Is there real  joy in our lives? Are we at peace?

God sees this and knows this.

So God comes knocking at the door of our heart. “Anak, pa sudla ko sa imo kasingkasing para ma buhi ka…. Malipay ka… you will find meaning in your life…. And you will live with me forever in my mansion with many rooms…. And you will have peace, love, and joy in this life and for all eternity.”

Imagine! Forever! Joy, Peace, Love, Forever!

Then we say, “Sigi, what do I have to lose.” So you acknowledge the Lord Jesus as your Savior.

To acknowledge Christ as our Personal Savior and Lord, we must first acknowledge that we are sinful, and then ask forgiveness. The secret is in acknowledging our sin and asking for forgiveness. This is called repentance. And He is quick to forgive us, but He will not forgive unless we do not ask (what’s there to forgive?).

Then we ask Him to come into our hearts and then the Spirit gives us new life. We then discover that our lives will take a new direction because the Spirit of God has given to us the very life of God.

And by FAITH, we BELIEVE that we are HIS.

Then when we die, the assurance is that we get to live with Him in heaven ….in his mansion with many rooms, one of which He has prepared for us.

Is it really as easy as this? Well, to mouth the words, it is. But to “do” is a different story. For Christ to live in us, it will take  some time, because the ‘I’, ‘Me’ and ‘My’ needs to survive, as what was taught since birth.

We first need to die to ourselves so that Christ can live within us.

Because I am a Pastors child, we had to go to church every Sunday. And we would pray the Lord’s Prayer .

Follow after me as we pray:

“Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done , On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil
For Thine is the kingdom , And the Power and the Glory Forever. Amen”

As part of habit, I would pray this prayer all the time.  And then trouble came into my life.

Then I began to reflect on what it was really saying, especially about the part where it says, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  My question: is this the will of God? To allow suffering and war and poverty and pain to be a manifestation of the heaven that we will live in for eternity?

Of course, I didn’t mind the part about “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts,” but  the part about “as we forgive our debtors” was really a big problem for me.


My Testimony

In my pain and uncertainty, where no one would help, at my lowest point, I turned to Christ.

And when I did, samot na nuon ko ga kalisod. Why? Because I could not let go of my outlook and my habits; my ‘I,’ ‘Me’ and ‘My.’

It took awhile for me to let go of  my hate and my anger. I loved to feel miserable. I couldn’t let go of that. I couldn’t let go of my irritation for things and continued to be impatient. There were times when I schemed on how to take revenge on those who hurt me.

BUT because of GRACE, slowly [and] painfully, I would say, I learned to give up these things and replaced them with what we now know to be the FRUIT of the SPIRIT.

Love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness and goodness.

Because God has been faithful and continually blessed me, I have chosen to allow Him to be the power in my life, and I can say that I am at peace.

All of us fall short of the Glory of God. When He calls us in different circumstances to stand for Him against the evil one, many of us switch into the survival mode ‘I’, ‘Me’ and ‘My’.

But still He is patient to teach us, until we see Him face to face. It is our choice.

You will know when the Spirit of Christ lives in you when you can be kind, choosing forgiveness.

A Pastor friend, before he became a Pastor, hit someone on the road and killed him. This is true to life. He was put in jail. The mother of the person he hit came to his cell and told him she forgave him and said she would not press charges.

He now continues to proclaim the word of God to the nations and is a living testimony of God’s Grace.


My Challenge

My challenge: Can we, in our  little way, choose to manifest the fruits of the Spirit? Baby steps, one incident at a time: forgiveness, kindness, patience, self-control, gentleness and love?

Shall we pray:

Father God, allow your Holy Spirit to dwell in us that You banish away what keeps us blind, deaf and dumb to You. Erase our ‘feeler-ness’, ‘I’, ‘Me’, and ‘My’ modes so that we are able to manifest Your fruits and live on earth as we will live in heaven.

We understand that our situations will only change if we choose to live life the way it can be lived: acknowledging our weakness by allowing You to be the powerful one. Our circumstances may not change BUT our OUTLOOK can.

Help us see you more clearly, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly. Then we can say, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

This is our prayer, in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.