Today’s article is the fourth of seven installments on “Who is the Holy Spirit”. Last week’s article focused on the fruits of the flesh as found in Galations 5. The article highlighted how the works of the flesh separate mankind from mankind. Additionally discussed was how the fruits of the flesh separate us from God. The acts of the sinful nature concentrate on me. They isolate me and cause me to seek to be king of my own castle (my own body, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:19) instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell where He is meant to live – in me. The fruit of the Spirit focuses on Jesus and seeks to bring me closer and closer to being like Christ.
Galations 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. As we read the fruit of the Spirit we obviously find them in direct contrast with the works of the flesh. We see the fruit of the Spirit “love” is in direct contrast to the work of the flesh - hate. We see the fruit of the Spirit “joy” in direct contrast to the work of the flesh- envying what others have. We see the fruit of the Spirit “peace” in direct contrast with the work of the flesh – wrath. It is obvious where I am going with the comparisons. The works of the flesh separates us from God and each other, for the works of flesh causes hate, jealousy, envy and eventually we may find ourselves at the top of this world – but who did we climb and step on to get there.
The fruit of the Spirit seeks just the opposite for our lives. The fruit of the Spirit challenges mankind to operate in love. Love is the foundation for operating in the rest of the fruits of the Spirit. God’s love for mankind is the theme of the entire Bible. It could almost be said that the fruit of the Spirit, love, is like the trunk of the tree and from the trunk the rest of the Spiritual fruit is birthed. Love is so important to Christ that He dedicated 1 Corinthians 13 to vividly describe how He loves us and how we should love one another.
Bearing the fruit of the Spirit brings us into fellowship with other believers. It brings unity to the body of Christ and as the body of Christ bears the fruit of the Spirit then the Body of Christ expands and grows. It allows a lost and dying world to see a loving, united church that really cares about their lives rather than a powerless, splintered church that has denominations against denominations, churches against churches and ministers against ministers. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a world without denominations, without independent churches but one big church that operates in Christ with order and starting with the foundation of love is able to consistently operate in joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance! That is better than a utopia. That my friend is a glimpse of Heaven.
The Bible describes Spiritual Gifts in great detail. A lot of Christians try to operate in the Gifts of the Spirit when they have not learned to even walk in the Fruit of the Spirit. It has to be understood that when we confess Christ is our Lord it is our goal to become more like Him daily. We cannot attain that goal without the help of the Holy Spirit. We are called to walk in the love of Christ, not only on Wednesday and Sunday, but every other day of the week. When people look at us do they see a tree that is full of fruit, such as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness and temperance. The Holy Spirit works in our lives and brings us closer to Christ as we sincerely try to live our lives bearing the aforementioned fruit of the Spirit. In every area of our lives!
For instance, this election season I have seen several people post Scriptures on their Facebook walls and then on that same wall post hurtful, vengeful statements regarding various people that were running for various offices. So we would see a wonderful piece of fruit and a nasty piece of the work of the flesh on the same wall from the same person. Remember the first fruit of the Spirit is love, and 1 Corinthians 13 speaks regarding love and that love keeps no record of wrongs. As Christ was hanging on the Cross He looked down at those that had crucified Him and asked the Father to forgive them, for they didn’t know what they were doing. God doesn’t put in earplugs and ignore what goes on during election season. And certainly if anything is done illegally then Romans 13:3-5 tells us “3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for [a]good behavior, but for evil.
Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’sake.” We have seen this Scripture come to pass over the last year and maybe there are others that didn’t get caught. Don’t allow bitterness to infect your Spiritual fruit tree. There is nothing uglier than an old apple tree that hasn’t been trimmed and sheared for years. The fruit it bears, if any, is terrible and cannot be picked for the prickly limbs that have been allowed to grow around it.
Next week’s article will focus on the Person of the Holy Spirit. If anyone wants to pray I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org