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Sun Mar 09, 2014
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What Is the Fruit of the Spirit?
The Sovereign Spirit: Click | View Series “The Christian life, the fruit of the Spirit, is a constant reckoning of the flesh as dead and a constant relying on the present Spirit of Christ to produce love, joy, and peace within.” – John Piper
In Galatians, Paul gives a list of nine virtues called the fruit of the Spirit. They are nine qualities, where the Holy Spirit endows the church. They are the hallmark of a Spirit-filled life. Paul employs fruit of the Spirit to show the difference between a person who is under the flesh and a person who is walking by the Spirit. J. I. Packer reminds us that, “Holiness is the fruit of the Spirit, displayed as the Christian walks by the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 22, 25). Therefore, the fruit of the Spirit is in stark contrast to the ‘works of the flesh.’” As a farmer prepares for a harvest of fruit, the Lord cultivates the fruit of the Spirit in the life of believers. As you read through the following list of Spiritual fruits ask the Holy Spirit to develop fruit in your life.
The first and most important fruit of the Spirit is love. Love is the virtue of brotherly and sacrificial love. It is a love that seeks the good of others. Paul’s order of placement, as well as his other use of the word tells us that it is the greatest of the fruits. (1 Cor. 13; Eph. 5:2; Col. 3:14). Other New Testament writers such as John and Peter emphasize love as one of the greatest features of the kingdom of God. Love is a spiritual anchor of truth in relationship with God and neighbor. This love is a distinctly Christian love, which finds its source from God alone. Because of this kind of love God sent his only Son to die for us. The Holy Spirit is hard at work to reproduce this kind of love in each one of us. We are to show this kind of selfless love to one another and to the world.
The second fruit of the Spirit is joy. The word joy appears 60 times in the New Testament. Joy corresponds to happiness, but it is independent of outward circumstances and is to be found within every believer’s life. Joy is a deep gladness that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As Christians everything that we do should be done with joy in our hearts. The Bible tells us that we are to serve the Lord with joy and gladness. God desires for his children to know the joy of the Lord. The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Let the Holy Spirit fill you with joy today as you serve him.
Peace is the third fruit of the Spirit. Peace refers to a tranquility of mind, body, and soul. It is a spiritual well being that only God can give a person. Nations might be able to produce a world of peace, but God is the only one who can offer total peace. Jesus said the peace I give is not as the peace that the world may give. God’s peace will never pass away. In fact Paul calls it the peace, which surpasses all understanding. This doesn’t mean that you will never have another problem, but that God will give you peace in the midst of the storm. Let the peace of God fill your heart and soul through the power of the Spirit.
Long suffering is the fourth fruit of the Spirit. The Greek word is commonly translated as patience, but should really be translated “long-suffering.” Christians should be able to hold strong in the midst of trials and difficulty. We need to be steadfast and endure. This means the quality of putting up with others, waiting through the difficult times, even when we are severely tried, confused, or weak. It is like being a spiritual rubber band. When we are being stretched we will not break if we have long suffering. The Holy Spirit will supernaturally give you patience to hold on under difficult situations and circumstances.
The fifth fruit of the Spirit is sympathetic kindness. It is God’s virtuous gift to be able to respond to the special needs of others who are hurting or in need. It is a quality of God’s kindness that is found in the New Testament only in Paul’s correspondence. Those who have experienced the kindness of God’s salvation in Christ are to clothe themselves with the same kindness. In a world full of anger, selfishness, and contention, the Lord wants us to cultivate the fruit of kindness in our lives. Let the Lord use you to show kindness to others.
The sixth fruit of the Spirit is goodness. Goodness is the generosity that overflows from kindness. Although goodness and kindness are similar, goodness is a more active term, which is often directed toward others in a benevolent way. It is the action of helping others in need. We are to take action and become agents of God’s goodness in the world. When we see a need we must meet it. When we see a hurt we must heal it. The virtue of goodness reminds us that we become the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit desires to use us as vehicles through which the goodness of God may flow.
This is one of the most common words in the New Testament. It is used in a variety of ways to mean faith, but considering the ethical context of Galatians the word is accurately translated faithfulness. It refers to being a person that others can rely upon. You cannot have faith in God without being faithful. The two are one and the same. The Spirit of the Lord wants to make us responsible persons in every area of our lives. Can God trust you to be faithful?
The eighth fruit of the Spirit is gentleness. It literally means to be mild or tame. The word is often used to refer to an animal, such as a bridled horse. In the personal sense it refers more to controlled strength than it does weakness. It is closely associated to humility. It is the virtue that is needed when confronted by opposition. Peter tells us that gentleness is necessary to be a Christian witness (1 Peter 3:15-16). Without gentleness we cannot be a true Christian witness.
The final ethical virtue of the Spirit is self-control or temperance. It is victory of the desires of the flesh. It is the virtue of a person who masters their passions and desires. It is opposite to the desires of the flesh. It means victory over the flesh. Self control is closely associated to purity of mind, heart, and conduct. It is the ability to crucify the flesh and walk in the Spirit. It is relying on the power of the Spirit to overcome the desires of the flesh. We need more self-control in our daily lives. To be continued. From the new free ebook by Winfield Bevins.