Fruit of the Spirit in Marriage, Workplace, and in Business
The things that cripple our societies are not simply drugs, guns, alcohol, and other materials, as much as man's inability to live peaceably with one-another. People are struggling to overcome offenses, without which the world would be a phenomenal place. Behind every contention is what the book of Galatians 5:19 calls “the works of the flesh.” On the contrary, the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Galatia, spells out the virtues which protrude from a life that is being led by the Spirit of God. These are the fruit of the spirit, and when they are put into practice in marriage, work, and business, there's a dynamic transformation that takes place in the relationships associated. Marriages are failing because of the lack of the fruit. Workplaces are full of instability because of the same lack, and business practices are frail and faulty, because of the missing link which are the fruit of the Spirit.
Before speaking of the fruit of the spirit in a marriage relationship, we must note that the couple should be believers in Jesus Christ who are filled with the Holy Spirit in order to manifest the fruit. Otherwise there is no way the fruit of the Spirit can be operational in their lives. In a recent study of 750 couples with marital difficulties, the most commonly reported problem was a partner who was in love with himself or herself. The second most common problem reported by these couples was indifference on the part of one of the partners. Both of these problems, selfishness and indifference, are opposites of love which is a fruit of the Spirit. (a)
In most cases, the workplace is made up of a diverse group of people with different ways of doing things. One virtue that is needed by co-workers and managers is patience, and to understand that people in an organization will take time to meet all expectations in unison. There is always an employee who takes longer to understand / perform than others. Likewise, patience plays a key role in decision-making. An example is foregoing short-term gains and patiently waiting for long-term opportunities is in Toyota’s production failures in 2009-2010, which were acknowledged by the company’s leadership as a result of its focus on speed. (b) Employees were forced by management to increase output by working faster on each vehicle. This led to poor results, however upon increasing the design time of new vehicles, the issue was resolved, and employees were now giving more attention-to-detail, rather than impatiently racing for quick output.
Agathosune is the Greek word used for “Goodness” in Galatians 5:22, and it speaks of looking towards another person's “benefit.” This is a rare pursuit in the business environment, and can only be characteristic of someone led by the Spirit. The fruit of goodness in business means having an unselfish approach to making money. Before looking at what we can gain, the Holy Spirit enables us to desire to fulfill the needs of customers. Its very easy to sell deficient products, but when the fruit of the spirit is at work in business, companies will look to create a win-win situation to fulfill the needs of customers, and thus earning honest gains.
Let us examine the positive outcomes of these virtues of the fruit of the spirit versus negative outcomes caused by being led by the flesh in marriage, workplaces, and in business.
Spirit (Positive Outcomes)
Flesh (Negative Outcomes)
In marriage, the Holy Spirit enables a love which is free from unrealistic expectations. True love is expressed in giving without any expectation of receiving the same in return. [Jesus demonstrated this love in dying for sinners who could not repay. (Romans 5:8)]
The Holy Spirit enables a husband/wife to see things in their partner which they would not have seen in the flesh
A person will always have an expectation of a give and take situation, in which if he/she does something, they must be repaid. This is not love.
In a flesh-marriage, love must be earned like wages. "If he doesn't do [abc] for me, then he must not really love me." Or in courtship..."if she doesn't sleep with me, she must not love me."
This dissatisfaction is the root of adultery and fornication, which are major destroyers of marriages
In the workplaces, a person can demonstrate that He is a child of God by showing concern for coworkers that is beyond normal expectation.
When a person has the fruit of the spirit, they will love unconditionally, that is Agape love.
Without the fruit of the spirit, criticism is likely to prevail in the workplace, because most people cannot be fully satisfied. Co-workers can get frustrated with each other, and also there is a tendency to compete.
Wrath, strife, and many disagreements in the workplace are a result of the absence of love.
In business, love can be demonstrated by a company owner who sympathizes with his employees, and places him/herself in their shoes when making decisions.
Love can be demonstrated in fair-dealings (Proverbs 20:23), and in striving to go above and beyond for clients.
A company that lacks love will never fulfill the needs of its customers. It will be evident in employee dissatisfaction, as well as in customers.
Envy towards competition will be the result, as the company will fail to match demands in the industry because of poor practices.
"If both husband and wife are experiencing the 'joy of the Lord' ... in their daily lives, it will be easier for them to create an atmosphere in their marriage in which they can be intimate with each other – physically, emotionally, and spiritually." (a)
A joyless relationship is one that is heavy from morning to evening. In the flesh, Joy is not possible, and what appears to be joy is momentary gladness that is caused by situations, which when they are past, the happiness is gone. A joyless marriage will lead to adultery, in which partners seek satisfaction in other places.
Joy expressed in a workplace results in more effective communication between co-workers.
In the flesh, the devil is waiting readily to cause explosions of confusion through miscommunication, and when a person is not operating in the spirit, they are vulnerable to misunderstandings that bring unnecessary conflict and strife.
The greek word for Joy is "Chara" which is related to the words grace (Charis) and favor (Eucharistia). Where there is joy, there is gracefulness, and God's favor rests upon the business. A joyous person will attract favor in the industry.
In business, a person who does not have joy will often be stressed. This results in overworking, and it also turns back to ill-treatment of customers through frustration. (Proverbs 23:4-5)
Peace in marriage is freedom from worry. Most worries in marriage are towards things that will never even happen, including financial issues, and infidelity.
Without peace there is mistrust in marriage, and there is always fear. These fears lead to conflicts that end in divorce.
Peace in the workplace means avoiding gossip, supporting one-another's ideas, and finding common ground in decision-making.
Where there is no peace in the workplace, there will be negative substitutes including disagreements, hatred, and strife.
Peace in business begins with honesty, which is what most business owners lack.
Lack of peace comes from lack of trustworthy practices. These result in having to cover-up, such as in cases of audits and compliance with regulations.
In marriage: The patient couple doesn't expect perfection but is patient with one-another's differences.
Unrealistic expectations demoralizes a spouse, as they never feel like they can do enough
In workplace: Management looks for fast results from employees
Leads to unproductive workers. People will be trying too hard to fulfill demands and will be stressed.
In business: Considers the long-term. Example, avoids loans
Hastily jumps on wrong deals. Leads to financial mess.
A gentle husband considers his wife as the “weaker vessel” (1st Peter 3:7)
“A contentious wife.” Such as one always complaining that the husband does not bring in enough money. (Proverbs 27:15)
A faithful employee such as a cashier who does not steal the company's money
“An unjust steward” who mismanages funds. (Luke 16:1-8)
Fair prices on products. For example, in times of lack, exorbitant prices for commodities can be avoided to help the society.
Business owners who take advantage of the economy by selling products at unrealistic prices.
Husband and wife will depend on Jesus for decisions, and pray together
Without faith, a marriage will depend on chance. There is no security.
Someone can share their faith with other co-workers in the workplace.
A christian can be afraid to tell people about Jesus, and deny their faith in a secular work environment. (Matthew 10:32)
A business owner can influence the society by demonstrating the christian faith. Also, dependence of Jesus for results.
Without faith, there is an open door to fear. A company owner may make decisions based on fear, and lead the organization astray.
Meekness and Temperance
Temperance is also called self-control, and an example is in taming the tongue. A spouse who is not rash with the mouth will avoid contentions in marriage. (James 3: 1-12)
Without self-control, there is an open door for infidelity.
An employee who is meek strives to do everything they're told.
Without meekness, management will struggle with employees who do not follow instructions and are full of pride
Self-control will enable business owners to patiently wait on God in making financial decisions. Example: Investing or not investing in the latest trend.
Without temperance, a business owner will be quick to place their money where it may fail, and endanger the business.
In all of this, love is the main point, as when we love, we will be unselfish in all regards. Where there is love, the first thought is with regards to how we can give to others. God so (desperately) was in love with His creation, that He resorted to giving His only son to die for our salvation. (John 3:16). This kind of love that considers others before ourselves is the ultimate demonstration of the fruit of the spirit.
The way to exercise the fruit of the spirit in all situations is through maintaining a life of prayer. A prayerful person listens to the Holy Spirit, and when the person acts on what the Spirit says, they will find themselves demonstrating love, joy and peace, and other virtues which promote healthy relationships. When an individual has the fruit of the Spirit, and is living by the Spirit, issues of finance and incompatibility will not cause them to react rashly in the way a flesh-led person will. These are the issues which are behind most conflicts in marriage, workplaces, and in business. Instead through patience and yielding to Holy Spirit, a person will have a life where all virtues of the fruit of the spirit will find their place, and manifest the characteristic of a true follower of Jesus Christ.
Fruit of the Spirit in a Marriage Relationship
Work and the Fruits of the Spirit - Al Erisman
Copyright © Amfcc Bible School, 2011 - Harare Zimbabwe.