Freedom #28: The Fruit of the Spirit
One who is saved has the Holy Spirit living in him, according to Romans 8:9. If we are surrendered to Christ, the Holy Spirit controls in our lives and there is evidence of that in that we begin bearing the Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Note that this fruit is singular. It is one cluster of different graces produced supernaturally in our lives by the Holy Spirit. We don’t pick and choose the fruit we want to bear. By His power, we begin to bear all of this fruit, the very life of Christ!
Jesus talked about it earlier in the Upper Room with His disciples before His trial and crucifixion. John 15-17 gives us a summary of the things Jesus discussed with His disciples. In John 15 He likens us to branches on a grape vine. He is the vine and we are the branches. The purpose of this union is the same reason for branches on a grape vine; to produce grapes. So the purpose of our union with Christ is to produce the Fruit of the Spirit. Note that He does the producing. We just stay in fellowship with Him. He lives the life we could never live through our self effort. Bearing fruit should be normal for a Christian. Bearing His fruit evidences that we truly belong to Christ.
This is 180 degrees different from the legalism the Judaizers were attempting to force on the young Gentile converts in the Galatian churches. No wonder the Apostle Paul was upset as he wrote this Epistle, preaching damnation on the false teachers in Galatians 1:8-9.
YOU CAN’T HIDE THE FRUIT
The fruit is not just actions. It also includes the attitude by which we carry out the actions. Whatever is going on in our hearts, will eventually manifest itself in our attitudes and conduct.
Note also, fruit bearing is not something that is just between Jesus and us. When we bear fruit it always spills over into the lives of others. It is impossible to live a private, secret Christian life that no one else knows about. If you are a Christian, everyone who knows you is aware of that fact. You can no more hide your testimony under a bushel basket than you can hide a lighted candle under a basket.
The qualities listed as the fruit of the Spirit are simply qualities in the life of God Himself. The Bible tells us that God is love. He is joyful. He is a God of peace. He is longsuffering. He is gentle. He is good. He is faithful. Jesus, who is God, is meek and lowly of heart. He is temperate. God is never out of control. He is in full control of Himself and His universe.
If these are qualities of God and God by His Holy Spirit lives in the heart of every believer, then you can expect to see these qualities springing up in Christians. Let’s examine these qualities, listed as the Fruit of the Spirit, one at a time.
The love spoken of here is God’s AGAPE, self-giving love. You have never been loved by anyone as much as by God who loves you. That love is described in detail in I Corinthians 13. Read it and meditate on it. This love is not simply a warm emotional feeling for us. It is far more than that. It is a self-sacrificing love. In Ephesians 5:25 husbands are commanded to love their wives with this self-sacrificing love. Therefore only a Spirit filled Christian can be a good husband. Jesus, who is God in human flesh willingly went to the cross and gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. He paid the full penalty simply because He loves us. Romans 5:8 shows us that this is the way God shows His love to us. So, If you reject Christ, you will never know the love of God. One day instead, you will face His fury for rejecting His love poured out for you. I John 3:14-24 shows that His love in us is the primary evidence that we are genuine Christians.
If we are filled with His love, it can’t help but flow out to others who need our love. Though you may not have that love for others, Romans 5:5 says that the Holy Spirit living in and through you will pour out His love for others through your surrendered life.
Perhaps you think of God as a stern faced ogre who wants to make your life miserable with His impossible standards. Though He is stern and furious towards those who reject His love, He is a joyful Father to those of us who trust Him. If you are filled with the Spirit, that joy of the lord passes through you, brightening your eyes and giving you a smile, warming and cheering the hearts of others. Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that it is His joy flowing through us that gives us strength to serve Him joyfully.
Circumstances have nothing to do with our joy. Whether the circumstances are good or bad, the Christian lives above the circumstances. In John 15:11 Jesus declares that He gives His joy to us. In Philippians 4:4 He commands us to rejoice always and in Romans 14:17 we learn that His Holy Spirit produces the joy He requires of us.
When we put our trust in Christ, we have peace with God. The war between us is over. I’ve been saved now for 66 years. I trusted Him at the age of nine. Over these 66 years I have enjoyed a constant peace with God, knowing that my sins are forgiven and I stand clothed in His righteousness. That’s what Justification is. Read Romans 1-5 to gain an understanding of this very basic doctrine of the Christian faith. Paul also writes about it in Galatians 3.
Those who have peace with God enjoy the peace of God in every situation of life. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, brings a settled peace to our troubled hearts. John 14:1. The God of peace spoken of in Philippians 4:9 give us the peace of God 4:6-7.
God is longsuffering and patient with each of us. That’s why He has not returned yet nor let you die. Read Romans 2:4 and II Peter 3:9 to learn of His longsuffering. Christ showed that longsuffering to Saul of Tarsus as an example of His longsuffering towards us, I Timothy 1:16 reminds us.
Like a mother who is gentle with her little child, so God is gentle in His dealing with His own. According to II Samuel 22:36, it’s because of His gentleness that we have achieved anything in life. The Apostle Paul was gentle with Christians, even with those who stumbled in their walk with God. He was gently with the Corinthian Church according to II Corinthians 10:1. The only people Paul showed no gentleness was to the false teachers who were corrupting the young Christians. The only people Jesus did not show gentleness were the wicked religious leaders of His day who were leading the people astray. We do well to follow the example of Jesus and Paul in this matter.
One essential for every servant of God, whether he be a preacher or a teacher, is he must be gentle in dealing with his students or congregation. Without it we are not fit to serve the Lord. See II Timothy 2:24.
Matthew 11:28-30 tells us that Jesus was gentle with those burdened down. James 3:17 reminds us that God’s wisdom is expressed only in gentleness. If we are not gentle in our dealings with others, even with those who personally oppose us, II Timothy 2:24 declares we are not fit to serve the Lord. At the same time, II Corinthians 6:14-18 teaches us that we are to vigorously oppose false teachers by exposing them and making no attempt to pretend to have Christian fellowship with them or have them share with us in Christian service. See my series on SEPARATION for more teaching on this topic.
According to James 3:17 God’s wisdom is gentle. God does not clobber us over the head with His wisdom, nor should we.
Goodness is moral excellence. Everything about God’s creation shows us that God is good. In Psalm 23:6 we are promised that if Christ is our Shepherd, that goodness and mercy shall follow us every day of our life. Again, I can say AMEN to that after 75 years. God has been good to me every day of my life, and not only to me, but to my family. With the Psalmist in Psalm 27:13 I can say that if it had not been for the goodness of God, I would have fainted with the stresses of life many times.
Because He is good and His Spirit dwells in us, it is only right that we show goodness to others, as we are taught in Galatians 6:10
A synonym for faithfulness is trustworthiness. That is a rare quality in people, Proverbs 20:6 tells us. In Lamentations 3:22 we are reminded of God’s faithfulness every day of our life. Jesus is the faithful One In Revelation 19:11 He is called Faithful. This quality is essential for service, according to II Corinthians 4:2. Because He is faithful, He enables us by His Spirit to have this quality II Thessalonians 1:11.
Meekness is one of the Beatitudes, or beautiful attitudes, found in Matthew 5:3-4. These are attitudes found in genuine Christians. Christ. the Meek Saviour, invites us in Matthew 11:28-20 to come to Him for this submissive quality. A meek person is teachable according to James 1:21 because he does not have a know-it-all attitude. A meek person is considerate of others. I Corinthians 4:21
Self control could be described as temperate in all things. Such a Christian has full control of his appetites and desires because he is filled with the Spirit. II Peter 1:6, I Corinthians 9:25 and Titus 2:2, 1:5 all show us the necessity of self control. Parents who lack self control are in no position to try to teach their children self control.
The husband or wife who lacks self-control harm their marriage
God’s Law commands all these divine qualities. They are all humanly impossible to manifest in our lives; but His Holy Spirit enables us to do the impossible by living out this fruit in us. If we are filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit, we do not need any of God’s Laws to control us. That’s why Paul states in Galatians 5:23 , that if we are filled with the Spirit, living the Christian life, “against such there is no law.” That is, living a Spirit filled life has nothing to do with us trying to keep God’s Laws. It’s all the supernatural work of His Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:25-26 teaches us that if we live under the control of the Holy Spirit, it is possible to manifest the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and it is possible to keep God’s moral standards found in the Ten Commandments, not just to the letter; but in our attitudes and desires.
Have you noticed that in all this talk of being filled with the Spirit that we said nothing of having an emotional high or being swept away into an emotional trance or speaking in tongues? For more on Speaking in Tongues, go to my series on SEPARATION.
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