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Recently I read and discussed a book with a couple of guys in our church on the importance of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) in the lives of men who are or desire to be pastors. But the reason why character matters for Christian leaders is because they are supposed to be examples for other Christians to follow and even imitate. So, this book has something for everyone. Here are 20 quotes, things I underlined, from the book that are worth sharing:


In Galatians 5:22, the word "fruit" is in the singular. This isn't an accident. Every word that follows in Paul's list comprises a portion of one whole fruit that is holiness or godliness, pure and simple. Paul isn't describing a basketful of fruit—love is an apple, joy a peach, peace a banana, and so on. No, there is one fruit, godliness, comprising all the characteristics of a holy man or woman of God.


When the Holy Spirit is at work in you, He's at work in all of you, crafting you into the godly person He wants you to be. No weakness goes unaddressed. No sin pattern is off the table.


People mess up our plans. Good plans. Plans to build a student ministry, organize an evangelistic event, reach an unreached people group, or simply pastor a church. Like an engineer sketching the steps of a project, we set goals, establish time-lines, and rally volunteers to accomplish our mission. It's easy to see people as obstacles to our mission. We forget people are the mission.


The joy of ministry can't be found from the ministry—true joy is a gift, a fruit, of the Holy Spirit.


…we need joy because its presence powerfully demonstrates that God means more to us than anything else. 


To find joy you have to take an indirect route. Don't look for joy. Look to Christ.


…patience is a Spirit-given mark of every true believer. And if you are a Christian leader, patience belongs to you, too.


Expectations matter. If you assume God is going to alleviate your suffering, change your spouse, prosper your min-istry, or grow your church, then you've adopted a version of the prosperity gospel. Who knows, God may bless you in these ways. He may lighten your burden tomorrow. But He might not. Moreover, God tends to work slowly. Regardless of what God does in the here and now, you won't see the finished product until Jesus returns. ‘But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience’ (Rom. 8:25).


Kindness is to the Christian what salt is to the ocean. It ought to be everywhere in the believer's life, flavoring all he does.


Kindness is the presence of compassion and generosity toward others. The kind person is helpful, useful, and lovingly working for the well-being of others.


There is such a thing as godly ambition. In fact, I agree with pastor Dave Harvey who defends it. 'Ambition,' he writes, 'is something God intends for good.' Harvey warns us not to kill that God-given desire to achieve. He calls it 'the instinctual motivation to aspire to things, to make something happen, to have an impact, to count for something in life.' Christians ought not squelch the craving to accomplish something big. In the words of the poet Wendell Berry, 'Plant sequoias.'


The world cares about plaques and popularity, real estate and revenue, glamour and glitz. God cares about faithfulness, the steadfast commitment to honor the Lord in a thousand simple ways.


Faithfulness is nothing more—or less—than Christlikeness.


Faithfulness is only possible from us when Christ is everything to us.


What you chase matters. Christians are called to chase after Christ, and Christian leaders are called to run at the front of the pack. What does this chase look like? Faithfulness: the resolute commitment to honor the Lord in the nitty-gritty details of everyday life.


The most important things in life will never make you famous. Rethink success.


Every Christian leader will face criticism. Confrontation comes with the territory. This isn't heaven. The problem isn't having thick skin; pastors need to be thick-skinned. The problem is when thick skin comes to define you and your ministry. The problem is when you're so accustomed to driving your barge through the frozen waters of opposition that you begin to treat everyone as an enemy, a problem to be solved, or a critic-in-waiting. Being thick-skinned is fine. Lacking a tender, gentle/ heart is not.


Self-control is a gift. But it is also a command.


Wherever you struggle, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit that appears only with difficulty. There's a reason Jesus said, 'If anyone whould come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me' (Luke 9:23). The Christian life is difficult. There is no easy path to travel, no broad entrance. We will find ourselves at war with sin, bloodied and bruised, before the last battle is won and the tears are gone (Rev. 21:4).


“Sanctification in the very best is an imperfect work. The history of the brightest saints who ever lived will contain many a ‘but,’ and ‘howbeit,’ and ‘notwithstanding,’ before you reach the end. The gold will never be without some dross —the light will never shine without some clouds, until we reach the heavenly Jerusalem. The sun himself has spots upon his face. The holiest men have many a blemish and defect when weighed in the balance of the sanctuary. Their life is a continual warfare with sin, the world, and the devil, and sometimes you will see them not overcoming, but overcome.” (J.C. Ryle)


To check out the book for yourself, check it out at the 9Marks bookstore or from WTSBooks.