Good morning to you my precious family in Christ
Galatians 5:22-23 says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
The life of George Muller contains an amazing example of lasting faithfulness and patience. Muller was best known for his work as an evangelist and director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, where he cared for 10,024 orphans over the course of his life. He also established 117 schools, which provided a Christian education to over 120,000 children, mostly orphans. But on a more private level, shortly after he became a believer, Muller began to pray for the salvation of 5 of his best friends. The first one came to know the Lord after Muller had been praying for 5 years; the second after 10 years; the third after 25 years; the fourth after 50 years; and the fifth came to the Lord at Muller’s funeral, after 52 years of prayer.
The result of a Spirit-filled, empowered life is faithfulness in many areas, especially prayer.
Have you ever tried to build character in your life, but realized you fell short? Maybe you tried really hard to stop being unkind, but the more you focused on trying to not do it, the more unkind you became.
Trying to do the right thing and build character in your life can be challenging. Even though it’s not always easy to be a person of character, it’s the right thing to do. So how do we get from being unkind to kind? How do we get from being upset to being at peace? How do we let these fruit of the spirit become real in our lives?
The answer is in focusing on the Holy Spirit. These verses say that the Holy Spirit produces the fruit in our lives. So instead of focusing on how many times you mess up each day by not being patient or kind, focus instead on God. Realize that He has put His Holy Spirit in each believer so we have the ability to be kind. You’re not doing it in your own strength, but you’re relying on what’s already in you to live out a life of character.
The Greek word πνεῦμα (pneuma) has multiple meanings including breath, spirit, or wind. It is most commonly used to describe the holy presence of God on earth.
In Galatians 5:22, the phrase “fruit of the Spirit” is specifically referring to the Holy Spirit.
As believers in the Lord Jesus, Christians are given the Holy Spirit to lead them and empower them. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 explains that the Holy Spirit is a deposit given to believers in Christ that guarantees their relationship with Christ. In Galatians 5, Paul wants to make sure that people know how to spot the evidence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The result of the Holy Spirit in their lives will be good things like love, joy, kindness, and self-control.
Paul also wants to make sure that Christians know that evil actions like sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies are not the work of the Holy Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit is evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of born again Christians.
Where the Holy Spirit lives, human character is changed and spiritual fruit can be seen. Certainly this maturity isn't found overnight! It is, however, noticeable over the long haul of life. What fruit is the Holy Spirit bearing in your life? In what ways have you and I matured? In what areas do you want the Spirit to exercise greater control?
The Apostle Paul does something interesting in verse. He writes, “the fruit of the Spirit is love” (singular), and then lists 8 resulting attributes (plural) of love. It is clear from the rest of the letter that this list is not given as a set of goals to be pursued. Remember Paul was writing to correct a group of believers who were mistakenly trying to reduce salvation to a list of rules or things to do. No, this is a list of the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of us. The third person of the Godhead is active in this list. He alone can produce this fruit in its genuine form within a believer’s life.
A gifted pastor from the last century, Donald Grey Barnhouse, said it this way:
Love is the key. Joy is love singing. Peace is love resting. Patience is love enduring. Kindness is love’s touch. Goodness is love’s character. Faithfulness is love’s habit. Gentleness is love’s self-forgetfulness. Self-control is love holding the reins.
When the Holy Spirit is alive in our hearts the character of God comes to life in our lives as His Spirit works to conform us ever more closely to the image and the character of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
In Matthew 22:37-39 when a lawyer asked Jesus which commandment was the greatest, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’”. What an overwhelming assignment!
In our own strength, none of us can live up to this obligation, but the Lord has provided a way for Christians to do the impossible. The indwelling Holy Spirit works to produce His fruit in us, and first on the list is love. In fact, the other eight qualities are really just descriptions of expressing love.
The nine graces that together comprise the single, fruit of the Spirit, combine to display a perfect portrait of the Lord Jesus Himself.
Each of the nine individual qualities that are listed as the fruit of the Spirit, and their origin in the fountain-head of God's sacrificial LOVE. The triplet of love, joy, and peace demonstrates an inner quality that permeates the entire character of the One that is producing this fruit of the Spirit, as believers grow in grace and are being conformed into the image and likeness of Christ, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The trio of patience, kindness, and goodness are predominantly attributes, that are displayed in gracious conduct towards other people, while faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are hidden facets, deep within, that God alone can truly discern.
Whenever we demonstrate kindness, patience, or gentleness, we see the Lord’s love at work through us, especially when the other person has been unkind and doesn’t deserve such pleasant treatment. This fruit is not produced by trying harder to collect good will toward someone who is irritating or hard to get along with. Instead, think of the process more like sap running through a branch on a grape-vine. The branch doesn’t make grapes; the sap does. In the same way, the Spirit flows through us, producing God’s love in us, so that we can pass it on to Him and others.
Agape love is the reason we are able to care for someone who mistreats us—it’s God’s doing, not ours. Even the adoration we offer the Lord is not something that we can produce in our own heart apart from His assistance. Though the command to love is enormous, God’s grace makes it possible.
Why not take a moment and consciously yield those areas in which you struggle to Him now, as we pray?
Let us pray
Almighty and ever-present Father, thank you for empowering positive changes in our lives as we seek to be more like Jesus. Please bring to full maturity the fruit the Holy Spirit is growing in our life. You know very well that I continue to struggle with in my life. I intentionally turn over that part of my life to Your Spirit to redeem and fully sanctify me. Only Your Holy Spirit, Lord, can control my innermost feelings. Help me to be conscious of Your presence this day. “LORD, we are clinging to You so that Your life can flow through us and bring spiritual fruit for You today. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Much love and blessings to you from Maurice and Margaret.