But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)
I want the fruit of the Spirit, don’t you? I want to have all the love, joy, and peace that I can. But come to find out—I had it backwards!
A tree produces fruit primarily to benefit others, not for itself. Oh my! My focus unknowingly was on myself. This fruit is not for me, the bearer, but for God and others.
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (Jn 15:8)
This mind-altering truth—that the fruit of the Spirit is more for others than ourselves is more apparent in the last 6 aspects of the list. However, even there we must be careful.
Do I want to be patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled so that I can feel good about myself and that others will think highly of me? Or do I want the fruit of the Spirit truly for God’s glory and the benefit of others?
Tough and very convicting questions!
It always boils down to motives; to what’s in our hearts. I certainly got pricked with these questions. But knowing the real truth will set you and me free. How else can we change any wrong thinking? We need the Holy Spirit to point out our misunderstandings. I want a rich bountiful harvest, don’t you?
So here’s where we need to check our thinking and change if necessary:
1. Have the Right Goal
- Joy should not be the goal. That’s putting our desire for joy before God (i.e. an idol). But seeking God first will lead to that joy (Ps 16:11).
- Having peace in our lives shouldn’t be the goal, but to be at peace with God. Then the peace of God will follow as a result of being right with our holy Creator (Rom 5:1, Phil 4:7, 9).
- Love should be the goal, but not to receive love, rather to give love to God and others (the 2 greatest commandments).
2. Have the Right Source
We don’t produce this fruit—He does. Its origin is divine.
Spiritual fruit develops by abiding in Christ.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing….” (Jn 15:5)
“I am like a tree that is always green;
all your fruit comes from me.” (Hos 14:8)*
Fruit is the evidence of what’s on the inside. Therefore, bearing spiritual fruit is to show others the evidence of God working in us.
In actuality, the fruit of the Spirit is a list of Christ’s character qualities.
Once we have the correct perspective, we will experience what we want in the way of love, joy, and peace. It’s a byproduct of believing, obeying, and living in Christ, the Vine.
So my friends, I may have stretched your mind, but I have full confidence that the Holy Spirit will help you understand these spiritual mind-blowers. Let God teach you and transform your way of thinking so you can produce bountiful fruit for God’s glory that will last.
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“After reading this delightful, spiritually rich allegory, I can honestly say I better understand what abiding in the Vine means.”
~Andy Terryn, IPM National Missionaries in Uruguay
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (Jn 15:16)
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.