The Fruit Of The Spirit – A Composite Moral Picture Of Jesus
Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Jesus said that you can know a tree by its fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). He was referring to false prophets. A false prophet being someone who appears to be speaking for God, but is truly speaking by his/her own volition. Therefore, it is not by someone’s words that you can judge intention, but rather by the fruit shown in their life. Discerning who to trust can be a tricky game these days. With the widespread of ideas, everyone can easily have a voice. Thank God for Galatians 5:22-23 that clearly defines for us what to be looking for in the fruit of the speaker or columnist.
In Holiness by Mark Rutland, he remarks that “the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 is the composite moral picture of Jesus.” The Christian life will bear witness, or the fruit, of Jesus. Just like how an apple tree cannot bear figs, in that it would be a fig tree, the spirit of the tree is found in its fruit. It is why the tree exists. Without the fruit of the tree pollination wouldn’t occur. Its life cycle would be cut short and it would die. It is the same way with the Christian life and the fruit of the spirit.
The nine things in the fruit of the Spirit list are all actions. They each have verb tenses that can and should be used. They aren’t just to be studied like chemistry or even philosophy. They are meant to be strapped into place and utilized daily.
Forbearance may be most unusual of all the words in this list. To forbear is to restrain. One of the fruits of the Spirit is literally to not do something. This is restraint from being annoyed. Restrain from belittling. God has written down that we are to be careful with our words and actions. Others matter and by not saying something you may be better off than rephrasing what you may have said to be less offensive.
Self-control is under attack today. There is a general stigma around saying that someone should behave in a certain and defined-for-millennia way. To say that someone should show personal self-control rather than indulging in every desirable vice is Biblical. In fact, showing self-control and discipline produces (bears the fruit of) character. Your character is the only thing you will take with you into heaven.
The fruit of the Spirit was not proposed as a reprimand. Rather, it is available to us as guardrails. These fruits are well attributed ways to live the best life that God has for you. There are nine in the list. If you take nine days to apply each one to your life you will bear fruit. There is no way not to. Just like how if you plant an apple tree into good soil, water it and provide enough sunlight eventually it is going to produce apples every time.
Do your best to bear fruit today. Use the fruit of the Spirit to help you become a discerner of the true and false. The results are always positive.
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