“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
God desires His followers to live fruitful lives. Paul beautifully describes the characteristics of a bountiful life in Galatians 5. As Christians, we are called to exercise the fruits of the Spirit and to speak life into every situation.
Can we do this on mission trips? Of course! Mission trips by nature fulfill the Great Commission. You can maximize your impact on the field and within your heart by practicing the fruits of the Spirit during your trip. Here’s how you can.
God is love, and He showed the ultimate display of love by sending Jesus to die for our sins. Paul provides an extensive definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Summed up, Biblical love sacrifices self for the sake of others. Here are ways you can show love on your mission trips:
- Respect your teammates, regardless of your opinions.
- Offer part your meal to someone who doesn’t get to eat three meals a day.
- Celebrate even the smallest victories and give God the glory!
- If trouble strikes, remind your teammates the reason you traveled: to share the Good News.
Peace comes from God. His peace can transcend adverse circumstances, and His peace may not make sense to those in this world. Peace trusts that God remains in control through it all. How can you show peace on your missions trip?
- Ask God to direct the work of your mission team, trusting you will make a lasting impact.
- Trust God will continue working in peoples’ hearts, even after you leave.
Forbearance, often translated as patience, describes a deliberate will to wait. Patience implies an endurance through suffering. Patience also suggests an expectant longing for hope. Here’s how you can show forbearance on your mission trips:
- Focus on the positives, especially if travel plans get delayed.
- Thank God for working in people’s hearts, even if you don’t see results right away.
Kindness or gentleness is more than a nice gesture. Biblical kindness is synonymous with a warmth that grows over time, expecting nothing in return. God’s gift of salvation is the best example we have of kindness, which acts similarly to mercy or grace. How can you show kindness on your mission trips?
- Help the people you meet, even though they may have nothing to give in return.
- Continue in prayer for the people you encountered after you return home.
Biblical goodness is doing the right thing despite opposition. Goodness is the deliberate decision to pursue righteousness and resist evil. God is the origin and continual source of every good thing. How can you show goodness on your mission trips?
- Simply going on a mission trip is an act of goodness.
- Pray against spiritual warfare in the nations and the people you serve.
Faithfulness implies an unbreakable bond. God remains faithful to His children even when they turn from Him. Many Biblical heroes were honored for their faithfulness to God in Hebrews 11. Here are a few ways you show faithfulness on your mission trips:
- By going on a mission trip, you are faithfully responding to the Great Commission.
- Honor your trip leader by following his or her direction.
Gentleness, also translated as meekness, refers to humility or a willingness to yield. This fruit likens to the tranquil flow of a stream. Though strong rivers and torrent rains destroy, streams choose a different path. How can you show gentleness on your mission trips?
- Perform a task you wouldn’t otherwise do. (Think of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples.)
- If you’re working with kids, let your guard down. Play like you would if you were their age.
Biblical self-control is more than willed constraint–it models consistency. Like an athlete focused on his goal after months of diligent training, so you can focus on the mission at hand. Here’s how you can show self-control on your mission trips:
- Tackle a project and work until it’s finished.
- Respect others’ time by exercising punctuality with your teammates.
Reducing travel stresses will help you practice the fruits of the Spirit on your mission trips. Don’t miss our other article, How to Improve Your Mission Trip: Stress-Free Travel.