“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
The fruit of the Spirit. Many of us are familiar with this list of spiritual fruit here in Galatians 5. It is commonly referred to as things that Christian people should do and how we should behave. However, if you take a closer look, some of the characteristics on this list are not always so easy to do, things like peace. With all the turmoil in the world and even in day to day living, peace can be very elusive. Worry and fear can be our constant companion if we let them. Longsuffering can also be challenging because we live in a demanding, “right now” world that doesn’t want to wait for anything let alone suffer for it. Self-control?? That is almost unheard of these days. From credit card debt to road rage, self-control is not something that is popular in today’s culture. Most would rather talk about how they told somebody off or got the best of someone rather than how they humbled themselves in a situation.
Having said all that, is it even possible to live by the fruit of the Spirit? The answer is in a seed. In a natural seed, there is every part of a plant within it. The stem, the branches, the leaves and if it is a fruit plant, then the fruit is in the seed, too. When it is planted and cultivated, the things that are already inside the seed will automatically come out, including the fruit.
The spiritual life is the same. The fruit of the Spirit is not something you attain to or try to accomplish in life by being a good Christian. It is merely the produce of the measure of the Spirit inside of you. If you find that fruit doesn’t come out of you easily and that you are working hard at living by a set of rules to try to produce fruit, then it is an indication that there isn’t much of the Holy Spirit inside you. As you fill your life up with the things of God and His Spirit, such as personal time with Him, pursuing a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit, fellow-shipping with other believers, and separating from worldly distractions, then the fruit will be the result or evidence of these spiritual habits and it will be easy for others to see the fruit you are bearing. It is the Holy Spirit within you that produces the fruit, not you. You may not even realize you are displaying fruit just because you have become so close to God by hanging out with Him so much, and developed the spiritual habits that result and automatically produce spiritual fruit.
Today I encourage you to consider how much time you spend focusing on spiritual things and how much time you could be spending growing closer to God. Make a shift in your activities to give God’s Spirit a great place inside of you. Then fill that space up with His presence each day before you let any other influence in. Let the fruit of God’s Spirit be the evidence of who you have become in Christ Jesus.
Today’s scripture reading: Galatians 5:22-26