THE FRUIT OF THE RIGHTEOUS (Pt.1)

“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 NASB)

Paul mentions nine fruit of the Spirit when God is doing a new work in the life of a believer. A careful examination of this list indicates that these nine are not natural to our human nature. In other words, these qualities do not originate within ourselves nor are they sustained by our sometimes “on again–off again” moods. The fruit of the Spirit are not based on our feelings. It is a by-product of the life of God in the soul of those who welcome His grace-work within.

THE DEEDS OF THE FLESH

The apostle Paul contrasts the “deeds of the flesh” versus the fruit of the Spirit: “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NASB) Paul is addressing the new community of believers in Galatia. They have been part of the world and its culture. They displayed by their lifestyle the value they had been accustom. (It is interesting that the list mentioned, as “deeds of the flesh” have not changed in 2000 years!). Values are based on our belief system. They shape our attitudes, drives and decision-making process. Values are the stuff of our character. So Paul is simply stating the data of their life apart from God. The fruit of our values tells who is really in charge or at the center of our life. Jesus said, “By their fruit you will know them”(Matt.7: 20).

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

The good news is that the fruit of our behavior can change. When we decide to go God’s way through Jesus Christ there is a different kind of fruit manifest. In the Letter to the believers in Galatia, Paul enumerates the God-kind of fruit. “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 NASB)

One of the clear signs that the Spirit of God has taken over the management of our life is that whereas apart from God our behavior hurt us (and others) the opposite has become true. Our lives have become fruitful, experiencing God’s blessing and being a blessing to others. Fruit does not hang on the tree or vine by itself, detached from the branch. As a part of the branch it is connected to the life of the tree or the vine producing fruit. Our Lord Jesus (Yeshua) taught, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. ” (John 15:5 NASB)

As a true Son of His Father, Jesus shares the secret of His fruit bearing with His disciples. “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.” (John 6:57 NASB) This gives us insight into Adam, God’s son in the Garden of Eden. Adam was not only created by God, but until the fall, he knew no life apart from God, his Father. But when rebellion (wanting to be on his own) and disobedience (wanting to do it his way–not God’s) things took a drastic turn in his life. The fruitfulness of his life and work became hard. The Bible is true, “Good understanding gives favor: but the way of transgressors is hard. ” (Proverbs 13:15 KJV) If only Adam had trusted that God was His life. Apart from Him there can be no life or fruitfulness.

LOVE

The Holy Spirit is given to the believer to cultivate and bring forth fruit in our life. He is the One that Jesus promised would come and bring forth the Family likeness. “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:16-20 NASB) Wherever the Holy Spirit is at work it will be manifest by the love of God.

The fruit the Father desires in our life is the fruit of love. The apostle Paul notes this is what gives us hope. “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”(Romans 5:5 NASB) The love of God sustains us even in the midst of things that come to assault us, bringing with them hopelessness and despair. Why? Because Paul tells us that, “Love…. bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails”(C.f. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NASB). God’s Love is the bedrock of our foundation in Jesus Christ. The apostle John, the beloved, who laid his head upon Jesus’ breast testifies with full assurance: “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16 NASB)

May the Lord make us fruitful in this hour. Amen.

(c) Copyright 2013, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights are reserved. This article may be copied and shared at no charge provided it is not altered from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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