But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
In the previous verses, we talked about things that endanger us, “don’t’s” that we should avoid, for our own good. All those things are simply sins; all are summed up by that tiny destructive word, sin.
Now, contrast sin with these nine fruits of God’s Spirit.
I hope you know someone who exhibits all of these qualities. Someone who’s loving, joyful, peaceful, shows forbearance and kindness and goodness, who is faithful, gentle, and who demonstrates self-control. I know of a few people like that. And I know some who show most of these qualities but not all of them.
It would be the highest honor of my life if someone would chisel these nine fruits of the Spirit on my tombstone, but I can’t see it happening. I simply don’t exhibit all these fruits. Not long ago, I spent 9 months focusing on them. I’d take one quality at a time, and spend a month researching the word, reading about it in different Bible verses, praying about it, and working on myself to better demonstrate it to my friends and family.
Result: not much changed. I couldn’t seem to re-arrange my life to do better. I was afraid to let the Spirit simply take over. I failed. Does that mean I don’t have Holy Spirit living in me? No. Some qualities I usually show while others are more difficult. I’m human. But here’s a news flash: I bet you could say the same about yourself.
And here’s another news flash: if you admit that about yourself, you’re on the road to better showing these nine fruits. He’s already at work in you. Honesty and humility are foundations of those qualities; they’re key parts of who Jesus is. If you admit you need help in better living out the qualities of God’s Spirit, yours is a heart who Jesus can work through; mine too. He wants us to admit that we’re sort of a mess because, if we recognize that, then we can recognize we need Him alone to clean us up. And that’s when He can get to work.
That’s so much better than focusing on the “don’t’s”, on the negatives. Life can be hard enough; why make it harder? We shouldn’t run from troubles, or negative things that happen. Instead, we should turn first to God, then confront them. That’s how we show these results of having the Spirit live through us.
For the next few days, we’ll concentrate on those fruits, one at a time.
For further reading: Malachi 2:6, Matthew 7:16-20, Matthew 15:19, Matthew 25:34, Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 6:18, Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:12-15, Galatians 5:22
Father, thank You for inspiring Paul to record these qualities of Your Holy Spirit. Teach me to better live them out.
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