In an previous blog, I wrote about "the fruit of the Spirit" which is placed in contrast to "the works of the flesh" It is "the fruit of the Spirit" and not the result of our own efforts. Does this mean that if we do not make an effort, "the fruit of the Spirit" will automatically grow? No, that is just as false a reasoning as: an apple tree does not grow on terpentine and therefore, if I do not give an apple tree terpentine, she grows fruit automatically. That is absurd. An apple tree should stand on good soil, where it receives food and light, and then the fruit will naturally grow. So it is with "the fruit of the Spirit." That grows where a man stands in grace (Romans 5:2).
What does it mean "to stand in grace"? And how does one do that? The answer is: standing in grace = giving thanks in everything. Or as Col.2:7 says: "overflowing in thanksgiving." There is a direct relationship between thanksgiving and grace. Grace, in Greek, is CHARIS and thanksgiving is EU CHARIS. In other words, thanksgiving is the consequence or reflection of grace. Whoever lives out of- and in grace, thanks God in everything. And that unleashes the joy, because the fundamental meaning of CHARIS is: joy, freely given. Hence Paul's words:
Be rejoicing always.
Be praying unintermittingly.
In everything be giving thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Quench not the spirit.
How can we always rejoice and pray without ceasing? By thanking God in everything. That's what God wants in our lives! Don't we do that, we quench the Spirit. Powerful and effective will be the Spirit in us, when we thank God in everything, because He works all (!) together for good!
Translation: Peter Feddema