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The Fruit of the Spirit

Scripture: Galatians 5:22-23


Today, let us study a profound spiritual concept presented to us in the Book of Galatians: The Fruit of the Spirit. As we study this scripture, we must understand that spiritual maturity go beyond mere avoidance of wrongdoing; it demands the cultivation of good within us.


From Avoidance to Action


Consider this: it is relatively easy to avoid negative actions—much like a car avoiding obstacles on the road. However, true spiritual life is not about the absence of wrongdoing alone; it's about actively producing something beautiful—like a garden that not only is free from weeds but also bursts with vibrant flowers. Though it takes time that what we should strive for.


A Fundamental Contrast of Works vs. Fruit


The Apostle Paul makes a critical distinction between "works" and "fruit." Works, like those from a factory, involve toil and effort, often leading to fatigue. Fruit, on the other hand, symbolizes effortless natural growth, emanating from life itself. As Hebrews 9:14 reminds us, while the flesh produces dead works, the Spirit gives life to fruitful deeds, which carry the seeds for even more fruit.


The Ninefold Fruit of the Spirit


1. (Agape): This word for love is agape, which means divine love. (The Greek word eros, meaning "sensual love," is never used in the New Testament.) This divine love is God's gift to us (Rom. 5:5), and we must cultivate it and pray that it will increase (Phil. 1:9). This divine love, a gracious gift from God, serves as the root from which all other fruits sprout. Imagine love as the rain that nourishes the entire garden of the heart. Love is repeatedly emphasized as a key trait of Christians throughout the New Testament, supported by numerous scriptures.


Firstly, we are instructed to love God with our entire heart, soul, mind, and strength. This involves delighting in God, actively seeking Him, and dedicating our utmost efforts to Him. God deserves our deepest devotion and highest acclaim.


Secondly, we are called to love one another. As Jesus commands in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” This love extends beyond words to actions. We are urged to serve each other, share each other’s burdens, care for one another, and be willing to sacrifice for one another. We should seek the Holy Spirit’s assistance to foster love for our fellow believers, helping us to love authentically, even when it feels challenging. Through the Spirit, we are empowered to embody true love.


2. Joy: Joy is the peaceful confidence that comes from knowing God is in control, not swayed by our circumstances. Picture joy like a river that flows steadily regardless of the rocks in its path. Joy transcends mere happiness. It is possible to experience joy even in challenging times.


James 1:2 encourages us, saying, “...count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Our joy is rooted in profound truths: we know the living God, our sins are forgiven, we are promised eternal life with God, and nothing can sever us from God’s immense, ceaseless love. These blessings are secure and unassailable.


Even as we traverse the Valley of the Shadow of Death, we can maintain our joy because the Lord is our Shepherd, guiding, caring for, and blessing us. We can also find joy amidst various trials because the creator of the universe is our loving Father. If finding joy is difficult for you, pray for the Holy Spirit to cultivate this fruit within you.


3. Peace: Think of peace as the protective boundary around our garden, keeping out the pests of worry and distress. This divine peace, surpassing all understanding, acts as the shield that guards our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7). Peace is a profound sense of calm and serenity that stems from our relationship with God. It endures even amid life's tumultuous storms. The key to this peace? It lies in centering our thoughts on God. Isaiah 26:3 expresses this beautifully: “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”


By focusing our minds on God and recognizing His sovereignty over all situations, we foster a deep, enduring peace within ourselves. Trusting in God as our benevolent, loving Father allows us to remain tranquil even as challenges arise around us. Our peace does not hinge on our external circumstances; instead, it is derived from the Holy Spirit.


4. Patience (Longsuffering): Patience is the endurance to face trials without bitterness, like a tree that withstands storms with roots deeply entrenched in the earth. Patience is undoubtedly challenging to master, especially when we are anticipating something significant. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is actively working within us to cultivate patience. Whether you're stuck in traffic, dealing with uncooperative children, or awaiting a life partner, these situations are opportunities God uses to develop patience in us.


As we enhance our patience, we increasingly reflect God’s nature. He shows immense patience towards our imperfections, shortcomings, and sins. He doesn’t respond to us based on our failures but patiently guides us back to Him, continuously reminding us of His profound love and aiding us in our struggles.


Since God exemplifies patience, we are called to emulate this trait. If patience is difficult for you, consider praying, “Holy Spirit, please help me grow in patience.” This is a prayer God is eager to fulfill.


5. Kindness (Gentleness): Much like the gentle hands of a gardener nurturing young plants, kindness reflects the tender care we extend to others. We inhabit a world that is crying out for kindness. Amid increasing harshness and unkind interactions, displaying kindness mirrors the profound and boundless kindness of God. As stated in Titus 3:4-5, "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared...He saved us…"


God's motivation for saving us was His immense kindness. Despite our sinful nature and estrangement from God, He viewed us with compassion and love. Moved by kindness, God sent His Son to take our place in death, allowing us the gift of forgiveness. This divine example sets the precedent for our own behavior. If God has extended such limitless kindness to us, we should undoubtedly reciprocate this kindness towards others. Similarly, having received God’s mercy and forgiveness, we are called to offer the same to those around us. We worship a God of immense kindness, who delights in blessing us, and we are encouraged to reflect His kindness in our lives.


To cultivate kindness more fully, we need the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Let us seek His aid in developing this essential fruit of the Spirit.


6. Goodness: Similar to fruits that not only beautify the tree but also nourish those who partake of them, this is an active expression of love that demonstrates our faith in God through good works.


Goodness extends beyond merely being a good person; it involves actively striving to benefit others. This is exemplified by our heavenly Father’s treatment towards us. God’s goodness is abundant and overwhelming; He continually bestows good upon us, and His goodness and mercy are relentless in pursuing us. In essence, we are enveloped by God’s boundless love, manifested through His persistent acts of kindness.


Likewise, we are called to actively seek opportunities to bless others by caring for them and enhancing their lives with good things. We should be generous, sharing our resources freely. As God consistently enriches our lives, we should also implore the Holy Spirit to empower us to enrich the lives of others.


Scripture teaches that giving brings greater joy than receiving. Thus, when the Holy Spirit cultivates goodness within us and we give to others, we not only bless them but also experience profound blessings ourselves.


7. Faithfulness: In faithfulness, we find the reliability and trustworthiness that others can lean on. Other refer to these as social virtues and gifts that enable us to coexist peacefully with others, bringing glory to God and benefitting both ourselves and those around us. God embodies faithfulness; He promises never to abandon us. He remains close, especially during times of sorrow. He redirects us when we lose our way, supports us in our struggles, and revitalizes us when we are drained. The Bible underscores His unwavering faithfulness, stating in Psalm 33:4, "For the Word of the LORD is upright, and all His work is done in truth [faithfulness]."


In emulation of God's faithfulness, we too are called to exhibit steadfastness. Adherence to God can be challenging, particularly during arduous times or spiritual droughts. Yet, it is in these moments that our faithfulness to God must persist, empowered by the Holy Spirit.


Our faithfulness should also extend to others. When fellow believers face hardships, it is our duty to offer consistent support, encouragement, and guidance towards Jesus. Assisting them in recognizing God's constant presence is invaluable. Truly, there is nothing more valuable than the presence of faithful friends.


8. Gentleness (Meekness): True meekness is power under control, similar to how a skilled gardener prunes a plant to enhance its growth, not to harm it. Our society often undervalues gentleness, believing that assertiveness and force are the keys to success. However, God's ways are markedly different from worldly methods.


As followers of Christ, we are urged to exhibit gentleness towards each other. Proverbs 15:4 teaches us, "A wholesome [gentile] tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit." Acting and speaking with gentleness, rather than aggression or harshness, breathes life into our interactions.


Reflect on God's gentleness with us. Despite being the holy Creator and King of Kings, He approaches us with tenderness and care. When we err, He doesn't chastise us harshly but gently draws us back to Him. In our struggles and heartbreak, He doesn't demand toughness but offers His gentle comfort instead.


In imitation of God's gentleness towards us, we too should strive to be gentle with others. Let us seek God's help in cultivating this fruit of the Spirit within us.


9. Self-control (Temperance): Self-control keeps our desires in check, ensuring that our spiritual garden is not overrun by the invasive weeds of sinful temptations. It's widely recognized that maintaining self-control can be challenging. Self-control, a vital fruit of the Spirit, involves mastering our thoughts and actions. It means having the discipline to affirm what is beneficial and reject what is detrimental. Self-control should permeate all aspects of our lives, including our speech, the media we consume, our thoughts, our eating habits, and many other areas. Though self-control can be tough to master, relying on the Holy Spirit allows us to strengthen this crucial quality. With His guidance, we can enhance our ability to exercise self-control.


How have you found the practice of self-control to impact other areas of your life or your spiritual growth?


The Environment for Growth


For these fruits to flourish, they require the right environment: a life led by the Spirit, immersed in God’s Word, constant prayer, and fellowship with fellow believers. Just as a plant needs sunlight, water, and good soil, our spiritual lives need these elements to produce the rich fruits of the Spirit.

Beyond Display


Remember, the fruit we bear is not merely for display but the purpose of our Fruit is to nourish others. In a world starved for love, joy, and peace, the fruits we produce can offer sustenance and hope. It is not about us receiving commendation but about glorifying God through our lives.


The Role of the Holy Spirit


Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit who enables us to bear these fruits. Our role is to abide in Him, to yield to His leading, and to foster the conditions in which His fruit can thrive within us. Without it is difficult to do it on ourselves with self-effort. We will soon or later get weary. Let us commit to this divine partnership, where we are both the recipients and distributors of God's manifold blessings.




In closing, as we reflect on the Fruit of the Spirit, let each of us strive to cultivate these qualities in our lives, not as a badge of honor for ourselves, but as a testament to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit within us. Let us walk in the Spirit, and let us bear fruit abundantly, for the nourishment of many and the glory of our God in heaven.

Gifts are for function and fruits are for character. We will yield to Him and let Him work. The Spirit Enables Us to Produce Fruit.


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