But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
We know this passage. It’s something we strive for. We desire to express our love, gentleness, and kindness towards those around us. Sometimes we take time to focus on one aspect alone and sharpen our skills in a weakened area. We may make lists of ways to show self-control. There are times we beg for more peace in our lives. We know these are godly attributes in which to grow.
Whose Fruit Is It?
Before we can grow, we must understand this is not our fruit. It is the fruit of the Spirit. It is not fruit of our hard work, our bringing up, our knowledge, our personality, our will, or our desires. We undeservedly attain these excellent traits through the means of grace by salvation. At the time of salvation we became daughters to the Heavenly Father, heirs to His Kingdom (Ephesians 1:5 and Ephesians 2:6). We are given every spiritual blessing pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3 and Ephesians 1:3). We have been given the Spirit of God to dwell within us, to guide us, teach us, comfort us, and help us. Let me repeat that. We have been given a member of the Holy Trinity to indwell our hearts (John 7:37-39)! It is the Fruit, a display or outgrowth, of the Spirit’s Work through us (Ephesians 1:13).
We are sinners. We forsake kindness for selfishness. We lash out instead of being long-suffering. We fret instead of being joyful. We hate instead of love. This side of heaven we still produce rotten, sinful, self-seeking fruit, of our own work–for we are not yet complete. This does not mean the fruit of the Spirit is missing from our lives; it means we chose to display our sinful hearts instead of demonstrate God’s transforming grace. Our lives are brimming with precious fruit to be exercised, because the Holy Spirit is in us.
Do we desire to show more kindness? Do we want to be characterized as faithful? Is goodness flowing from us? Can we withstand those temptations with self-control? A resounding yes to all! How can we routinely show the work of God in us?
Ephesians 4:20-32 teaches us how to change and grow:
- Confess. It is “the kindness of God that leads to repentance” (Romans 2:4). Realize that we have missed the mark on our own.
- Renew. “The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). What does godly obedience look like in this situation?
- Repent. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Turn from cultivating our own sinful ways and rest in the Spirit’s fruit.
Let’s feast on the “Fruit” of what God has done for, in, and through us:
Let’s list all the blessings we have “in Christ” in Ephesians 1-3.
Let’s read Titus 3:3-8 and remember the humbling gospel that God gifted us.
Let’s relish in Psalm 103 for a few days.
Let God’s grace, Christ’s work, and the Spirit’s Fruit be exemplified in us.