This month we are beginning a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. As we have been talking about the Holy Spirit, God’s Word tells us that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have the Holy Spirit in us. He helps us to grow and become more like Jesus and we begin to show that growth through what the Bible calls the Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.” (CSB) The King James Version says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law.”
As I look at this list, I see several things that I need to work on. Patience is a hard thing for me. I’m just going to be real up-front right now. I am NOT a patient person! I tend to want things yesterday, not tomorrow, and if things aren’t done exactly the way I want them done I get upset. My poor husband usually bears the brunt of this, and he usually points out that this is my problem and I need to work on it. He’s right! It is my problem and I do need to work on it!
Each of the fruits of the Spirit is evidence of our growth in our Christian walk. As we mature in Christ, each of these fruits will show out in our life. As Believers, we need to be exhibiting each of these attributes of the Holy Spirit in our lives. How are we able to do this? By allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives so that we exhibit each of these. J. Vernon McGee states in his commentary on Galatians, “Now the fruit is produced by the Lord Jesus using the Spirit of God in our lives. He wants to live His life through us. That is the reason I keep saying that you are never asked to live the Christian life. You are asked to let Him live through you. No believer can live the Christian life himself. The old nature cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit.”
At first glance, there are some fruits of the Spirit that seem to be easy to do. As an example, love seems to be an easy one for most people, but I know people who love only those who are loving in return. They don’t seem to even want to try to love the unlovable, but God calls us to love. John 13:34-35 says, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (CSB) Notice there is no distinction in who we are to love, He just says to love one another; that includes the unlovable. For those people, it is a fruit that they need to develop.
However, some fruits of the Spirit are extremely difficult and require work. Just like for me, patience is a Fruit that is a life-long struggle, and I will be working on that until my dying day! So, some other Fruit for someone else will be a battle they must face every day.
Can we accomplish this on our own? No, it requires the help of the Holy Spirit. When we listen to His promptings and follow His instruction, we can accomplish growth in that area. The more we succeed in the area that we have a hard time with, then we produce more Fruit and it becomes evident in our daily lives to others that we are growing in our Christian life and walking in a way that brings honor and glory to God.
When we ask God to help us, His Spirit goes into action, guiding and directing us in how we are to accomplish these tasks so that the Fruit will grow in us. As Believers, we need to take stock of how well we are exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit, and then focus on allowing God to help us develop that Fruit so that it is evident to others.