Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

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.

Our Verse of the Day is familiar to most of us. It provides a great description of how the inner working of the Holy Spirit should manifest in our lives. When Jesus spoke about bearing fruit (See John 15), I have no doubt that these qualities or virtues were in mind. In fact, if we are not bearing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, there appears to be a consequence – separation from the life of Christ within us.  Let’s take a look at what the Apostle John recorded for us:

John 15:1-12 (NRSV)

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit He prunes (cleanses) to make it bear more fruit. You have already been pruned (cleansed) by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

In this context, I see love as the overarching theme. Jesus encourages us to abide in His love; and we do so by keeping (obeying) His commandments. Apart from Christ, we cannot bear fruit. We must abide in Him! His Spirit must abide in us! And herein lies the key to bearing fruit: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” As Paul unfolds the fruit of the Spirit, we can see that the first fruit mentioned is love. And I believe that love is essential to the setting and budding of all other spiritual fruit to be borne in our lives. Joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all dependent upon the pollination of love … the love of Jesus rooted within our hearts.

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” Abiding in Christ … having an intimate, personal relationship with Him … is only way to walk in the Spirit and to bear the fruit of the Spirit.  So, I think the issue we need to consider is whether or not the fruit of the Spirit is evident in our lives. Perhaps we should seek the Father today, and pray as David did: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.” (Cf. Psalm 51:10-12) The application is to examine ourselves! As Paul exhorted the believers in Corinth: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!” (Cf. 2 Corinthians 13:5)

I am convinced that “living in the faith” is “abiding in Christ Jesus.” And so, I encourage each of us to seek those things that draw us closer to His presence.  We need to spend time each day in prayer; in meditation on His Word; in praise and worship of His Being; in thankfulness for His grace and lovingkindness. We are to be growing in our faith and in our relationship with Jesus. This is how the Holy Spirit will blossom and produce His fruit in our lives.

A Final Thought:

Paul asserts: “Against such things (the fruit of the Spirit) there is no law.” I am reminded of another passage where Paul states: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Cf. Romans 13:8-9) So, I will simply conclude that if we want to bear fruit … if we want to be living in the faith … if we want to know that we are abiding in Jesus … we need look no further than His command to love one another as He has loved us. For if we keep this command, we will abide in Him and we will bear the fruit to the glory of God the Father. Amen….

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

One thought on “Fruit of the Spirit

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