Fruit anyone?

“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)

The Greek word translated “fruit” refers to the natural product of a living thing. Paul used “fruit” to help us understand the product of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside every believer. The fruit of the Spirit is produced by the Spirit, not by the Christian. The Greek word is singular, showing that “fruit” is a unified whole, not independent characteristics. As we grow, all the characteristics of Christ will be manifested in our lives.

Yet, like physical fruit needs time to grow, the fruit of the Spirit will not ripen in our lives overnight. Like a successful gardener must battle against weeds to enjoy the sweet fruit they desire, we must constantly work to rid our lives of the “weeds” of our old sin natures that want to choke out the work of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit gives us the power we need to reject those old sinful desires. We can say “no” to sin and accept the “way out” God faithfully provides (1 Corinthians 10:13) by following the Holy Spirit’s leading.

As we give the Spirit more control of our lives, He begins to do in and through us what only He can do – to shape us and grow us to look like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

Since God’s goal for all His children is for us to be like Jesus (Romans 8:29), the Holy Spirit constantly works to rid our lives of the “acts of the sinful nature”(Gal 5:19) and display His fruit instead. Therefore, the presence of the “fruit of the Spirit” is evidence that our character is becoming more like Christ’s.

Paul uses 9 characteristics to describe the fruit of the Spirit in the book of Galatians.

Love

Love

True, biblical love is a choice, not a feeling. It deliberately expresses itself in loving ways and always seeks the welfare of others. Biblical love is dependent on the giver’s character, not emotion. For instance, a mature believer demonstrating love will not exercise his or her freedom if that action might harm another Christian in some way. Rather than risking the possibility of causing the immature Christian to question and stumble, the mature believer will not exercise his freedom out of love for his brother (Romans 14:1-15). Love chooses to set aside one’s own preferences, desires, and sometimes even needs to put the other person first (Philippians2:1-3)s

Joy

Joy

Sometimes we Christians tend to downplay the meaning of joy. But, the Greek word translated as “joy” in Galatians 5 means “gladness and delight” – basically the same thing the world means when it talks about joy. It is a feeling of gladness based on our circumstances. Sadly, the world’s joy cannot last because it is based on fleeting, physical circumstances. But the joy of the Lord is established in our spiritual, eternal circumstances. As we cling tight to Jesus, abiding daily in our saving relationship with Him, we will experience the fullness of joy He promised (John 15:4-11).

Peace

Peace

The world doesn’t offer much peace. Just look around. The world cannot give it because the world doesn’t know the One who is peace. But for those who have the Spirit of peace within us, the peace of Christ is possible, no matter our circumstances (John 14:27). We can reject the chaos of the world and embrace God’s peace. The book of Philippians tells us how (Philippians 4:4-9). First, choose to rejoice in God and who He is. Second, bring all your worries, fears, and concerns to God in prayer. Third, fill your mind with God’s truth. And fourth, choose to think about the things of God.

Patience

Patience

We don’t see much patience in the world today, not even in the church. Maybe part of the reason is our fast-paced, want-it-now culture. But Christians have everything we need to be patient because we have the Holy Spirit living in us longing to display His character to those around us. Patient people put up with circumstances and other people, even when severely tried. Patient people display endurance, longsuffering, and perseverance. The New Testament also specifically connects patience with sharing the Gospel. God is patient as He waits for the lost to come to Him (2 Peter 3:9) and He calls His people to be patient as we extend the offer of salvation in Christ to others (2 Timothy 4:20).

Kindness and Goodness

Kindness and Goodness

The characteristics of “kindness” and “goodness” are closely related. Together they present the picture of one who not only possesses moral goodness and integrity, but also generously expresses it in the way they act toward others. This “goodness in action” reflects God’s kindness and goodness toward us. God demonstrated His kindness and goodness to us in our salvation (Titus 3:4) and will continue to “show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us” for all eternity (Ephesians 2:7)!

Faithfulness

Faithfulness

To be “faithful” is to be reliable or trustworthy. For the Christian, this is faithfulness specifically to the Savior who redeemed us. Christian faithfulness therefore, is continued and consistent submission and obedience to the same Spirit who provides the ability for us to be faithful. This attitude is in direct contrast to our previous “faithfulness” to our own sinful desires and ways. The word also describes someone willing to suffer persecution and even death for Christ’s sake. “Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” (2 Thessalonians 1:4)

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/leolintang

Gentleness/Meekness

Gentleness/Meekness

Closely linked to humility, gentleness is grace of the soul. It is not weakness, but instead it is strength under control. For instance, in Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he wrote that the “Lord’s servant” will “correct his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:25). And in Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia, he wrote that those who have been caught in sin should be restored in a “spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1). Gentleness, being the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest, is also a key ingredient in unity and peace within the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:2).

Self-Control

Self-Control

The last characteristic in Paul’s description of the fruit of the Spirit points us back to his list of the “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19-21. Those of us with the indwelling Holy Spirit has the strength to control our sinful desires, to say “no” to our flesh. Self-control gives us the power to say “yes” to the Spirit and foster a beautiful, bountiful harvest of spiritual fruit!

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Jesus is a safe harbor

I am a follower of Jesus. I am a grateful delivered woman who was once an addict, but now God has restored me and renewed me. I have been redeemed and remade by our Creator through salvation of His Son, Jesus Christ! I just want to share what God has done in my life that you may have the opportunity to experience the same joy He gave me. I give God all the glory for everything in my life for I couldn't accomplish anything apart from Him. If ye shall know the truth, the truth shall set you free, John 8:32. He puts people in my life that help me and gives me the opportunity to help another. I am never surprised by his love and blessings. God has placed a confidence and love in myself that I have never had before… so "Thank you God".. for the many True Blue Christians you have put in my life and for all the blessings you bestow on me daily. I have not come this far without lots of prayers and the help and love of my true friends and family and I thank you God for those special people in my life. You are 100% my Savior! I will forever have your name on my lips. I realize now with lots of prayer and reading of the Word… that all the answers were here for me and I never asked the questions. Although I still struggle daily with other life’s daily cards that are dealt, I have an attitude now of “NO MATTER WHAT “– I will praise You, Lord~~~through my storms and my triumphs! I have much more to share and would love to answer any questions anyone may have for through all my trials what has come to be is that I want to help others to see what I didn’t see and hopefully prevent the same hurts, guilt, shame and woes that I had to deal with and give them the best gift of all… JESUS! I believe it's important that we know who we are in God ... We are a one of a kind and God has made us like no other for a purpose- His purpose. Yes, bad things happen and yes, we make poor choices, but we don't have to continue to make them. God's mercies are new each day. Once we realize, know and most importantly believe who we are in Christ, that we are a child of God, we are not an accident, and whatever the circumstances before us each day no matter what they are... God gives us the choice and the power of Him to choose right and live right. We no longer have to live in the past, but in the present and look with expectation to the future with God by our side guiding us and directing our steps. He is our strength and our hope needs to reside in Him. Let his power and love work in your life today and see that life does not have to be the way you are living now. He wants to help you, but you have to let him. He can't make us come to him, he is not lost - WE ARE! Please share this blog with others to encourage them for the glory of God! Ministry: Lost Sheep Ministries on Facebook

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