Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Not A Gift

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” —Galatians 5:22-25

There is a difference between spiritual fruit – the result of a transformational process – like in an apple tree bearing fruit in its season – and a spiritual gift or ability.  Spiritual fruit is a reflection of a life submitted to the lordship of Jesus. A life that is in step with the leading for the Spirit. Spiritual fruit is not dependent upon life’s circumstances but is revealed in the midst of life’s circumstances – no matter whether the circumstances are good or bad.  To near the fruit of peace, could mean that  I have peace in within me even though there is turmoil raging around me. It is not a feigned peace – like keeping a stiff upper lip. By the way, that phrase has traditionally been used to describe an attribute of British people in remaining resolute and unemotional when faced with adversity. The opposite, and a sign of weakness or fear is trembling of the upper lip. The fruit of the Spirit is very real and very possible in the life of every Believer. But its presence and evidence is a reflection of the condition of each Believer’s spiritual walk.

In Haiti, mango trees are as common as oak trees in our country.  They are everywhere. Huge trees growing along the roadsides. The fruit is available for the picking. Anyone can have a mango pretty much any time of the year. Those mangoes are available, but I must take action if I want a mango. Maybe I will have to climb a tree, but certainly reach up to pluck the fruit from the trees branches.  The same is true for the fruit of the Spirit. God seals me with His Spirit at the moment of my rebirth. At that moment I become the temple of the Holy Spirit (think about the implications of that that Truth). But the fruit will not be mine if I do not submit to the leading of the Spirit.

Earlier in Galatians chapter 5, Paul refers to the works or you might say fruit of the flesh. 

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like” – Galatians 5:19-21

I often used the example of a mango tree when I preached in churches in Haiti.  I would tell the people that if you say you are a mango tree (a Christian) but when I look at the fruit in your branches and see sour oranges (another tree that thrives in Haiti) my conclusion is that you are not really a mango tree.  The fruit of the spirit and of the flesh are a direct reflection of the heart. Like a fruit tree, the fruit of the spirit in my life is dependent upon the proper nourishment – spiritual nourishment.  Someone might be saved – but not bear fruit.

Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, ‘Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.’ And His disciples heard it. …. Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.’” – Mark 11:12-14,19-21

If Jesus wanted a fig, it did not matter the season. (Read John chapter 1) Jesus wasn’t being unreasonable to expect that tree to bear fruit when it was not the right season? Bearing spiritual fruit is not dependent upon the season or circumstances. The Bible is a spiritual book and what God has chosen to reveal to us through it is, well, spiritual.  Listen, we all struggle with the lack of fruit in our lives. I can always trace it back to my heart. The fruit of the Spirit is for every Believer as a living testimony to their spiritual transformation. Not all of the gifts of the Spirit are for each Believer, but each Believer is gifted with one or more for the purpose of edifying the Body of Christ.  So what kind of fruit are your branches bearing? Like the fig tree, Jesus expects the same from us.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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