With summer just around the corner, it’s obvious that we are experiencing the attributes of spring with rain, rain and more rain here of late in the Midwest. While it may be quite annoying for most of us, our farmer friends are rejoicing. The torrential downpours of April and May provide the much needed water and nutrients plants need to grow, therefore bringing a lush harvest come fall. Just as a farmer reaps what he sows, we as Christians, walking in the Spirit reap the same harvest; in our case, “fruit” as the Bible calls it. This is known as the “Fruit of the Spirit.”
I’m sure I’m not the only one that has taken hold of what appears to be a juicy red apple, only to find that it was rotten and spoiled on the inside. Good for nothing.
Galatians 5 of The Message says, "It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community …"
Then verse 22 asks, "But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard." This is the fruit of the Spirit:
1) Love: Respect, devotion and affection that lead to willing, self-sacrificial service for others with no intention of repayment.
2) Joy: A happiness based on God’s promises and His existence. Not generally the result of favorable circumstances, by definition just the opposite. Temporal circumstances are drowned out by eternal promises.
3) Peace: The inner calm that results from confidence of our saving relationship with Christ, not contingent to our circumstances. The verb form of the word describes a “binding together,” implying unity.
4) Patience: Refers to the ability to endure injuries inflicted by others and the willingness to accept irritating or painful situations. This patience is acquired by consistently displaying the attitudes of love, joy and peace. Without walking in the Spirit of the first three, your suffering becomes anger and vengeance.
5) Kindness: Tender concern and awareness for others, reflected in a desire to treat others gently, just as the Lord treats all believers. This kindness in not to be partial in it’s giving, yet distributed to all.
6) Goodness: Moral and spiritual excellence shown through active kindness.
7) Faithfulness: We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments and trustworthy relationships with no thought of betrayal.
8) Meekness: It allows us to not force our way in life, having a humble and gentle attitude, submissive in every offense, with no desire for revenge.
9) Self-Control: This specifically refers to the restraint of passions and appetites, using our energies wisely and effectively.
When a farmer tills the soil of the land, weeds and unwanted plants are exterminated, giving way to healthy plants that grow unhindered. This harvest is too great and large to be enjoyed solely by the farmer but is available to all. As we daily plow the fields of our heart, removing any unwanted sin and weeds, we make way for the fruit of the Spirit to prosper, not only benefiting us but those around us.
Since the life of the Spirit is the kind of life we have chosen, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.
[Along with serving as Youth Pastor for Living Water Worship Center in Spring Valley Ohio, Martin is a professional Graphic designer, a musician and a 23-year-old father of two…under two.]
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