BUT THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS,23 GENTLENESS, SELF-CONTROL; AGAINST SUCH THINGS THERE IS NO LAW.
In the Book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul talks about the fruit of the Spirit.
It’s a section that fascinates me. Because the fruit is produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer.
There are certain areas in our lives we can control.
Think about it.
Honesty. You can force yourself to be honest. I’ll just choose to not lie. You can decide
that for yourself. Honesty isn’t a fruit of the Spirit.
Generosity isn’t a fruit of the spirit. You can choose to give more or to serve more to others.
Those are things you can control.
But the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
These are things we don’t control in ourselves.
They’re…the fruit of the Spirit. Not the fruit of our effort.
Nine graces that God produces in believers.
Love is a fruit of the Spirit.
So what this passage is saying is that if you’re wain gin the Spirit, it will manifest itself in love.
Now there are commands to love given in many places throughout the Bible. We should love people. We should demonstrate love towards others by actions.
And that we can control.
But it’s not just external actions, but in the depths of our soul, are we doing things out of love out of obligation or because we actually love people?
Some people say that love is a choice, that it’s not about a feeling…
That would be wrong. That’s JV love.
Of course love is a feeling too. We are supposed to actually love people, to have affection in our hearts for people. To actually have a desire for what’s best for them and their own salvation and joy and grace.
And there are people in our lives who are hard to love.
And so to love those people is not something we have in ourselves. It must come from God.
Another example: joy. You can’t create joy in your own heart. You can’t make yourself joyful.
You can’t say “I didn’t have enough joy yesterday, but today, I’m going to make myself joyful.”
You can’t do it.
No matter how glad half full you try to look at things, no matter how much you try to force yourself to ignore the little inconveniences, you cannot make your own joy.
You can pretend. You can bury emotions. You can try whatever the self-help gurus are saying to do. Just like love you can outwardly convey joy. But what about internally?
True joy is something that you can’t produce. Joy comes from the Spirit.
Joy is a supernatural delight in God brought about by the Spirit. It’s because joy is supernatural that joy can exist even in difficult circumstances. We have joy from seeing the glory and goodness of Christ.
The Spirit illuminates us to the good things of God. Jesus talks of this in John 16:14: “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
Let’s look at another piece of fruit.
Peace is not merely the absence of war. But peace is safety, harmony, wholeness and unity.
The peace that Jesus brings is a restoration of a relationship that had been lost due to sin.
You cannot give yourself internal peace. You cannot make yourself feel peace with God.
It’s a fruit of the Spirit.
Romans 14:17 says: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
The fruit of the Spirit is supernatural.
You don’t cause fruit to grow.
Quoting Tim Keller: “A gardener doesn’t make the things grow. The gardener just creates the conditions through which the power of the seed is released.”
Another idea Keller brings up. What doe she contact the fruit of the Spirit with?
It’s not the weeds of the flesh. It’s the works of the flesh. We commit our own sins. We choose to sin. We are responsible for our own sins.
And again, there’s both an internal and an external aspect to the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. So with something like kindness or patience, yes you can behave at work and act nice to someone.
But are you thinking nasty things about them while you’re doing it?
Then you’re not really kind are you? True kindness is because you desire to be kind not because you feel you have to be. And you can’t make yourself kind.
We should know the fruit of the Spirit.
We should desire to grow in all of these areas.
And yes, there are times where our outward actions might outpace our inward desires.
We should be loving, or kind, or good to people, because we know it’s what God desires. But as we walk in step with the Spirit, as we walk with the Lord, more and more, we will do these things because it’s what we also want.
It’s the new life God produces in believers.
Originally published January 8, 2019
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