Be filled with the Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
(Eph 5:18; Gal 5:22–23)
This begins a new series on the fruit of God’s Spirit. Entries will not be technical nor exhaustive studies of each item listed in Gal. 5; they are merely my reflections. The format will be simple. After a brief definition based upon my findings in Scripture, I offer highlights on each of these manifestations of God’s Spirit. The next post will be up on Monday, 09/26/2011.
By way of introduction, the first and most important observation about the Spirit’s fruit is that, well, it is the Spirit’s fruit, not ours. Galatians 5:22-23 lists evidences of God’s Spirit in us, not the result of our own human efforts. Sure we are involved (how could we not with ‘self-control’ on the list), but these qualities come from God and are expressed in and through us. As such, Spirited fruit is organically grown, not synthetically fabricated.
A second observation is that we are not called to show more love, kindness, or forbearance, but must be loving, kind, forbearing, et al. This is a call to being; not merely a call to doing. Only through our intentional and habitual discerning of and yielding to the promptings of God’s Spirit in us do these qualities become a part of our being and issue forth from our lives. Of course this requires that we silence our own voice long enough to hear the voice of the Spirit. A key to this is a life that is informed by God’s Word. After all, God’s Spirit and God’s Word speak with one voice; they are always in sync. This is not to say that being informed by God’s Word is a replacement for being transformed by it. Only that the the Spirit’s work in us is in accordance with the Spirit’s Word to us.
Third, it is the “fruit” of the Spirit not “fruits” of the Spirit. I suspect this is due partly to the seamless continuity between the virtues. One can hardly be loving and not patient, kind but not gentle, etc. The virtues of God work together in one harmonious, united fashion to display the divine persona of God in our being. As we increasingly “walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:25), or progressively and actively move in the direction God intends, our lives look less like us and more like Jesus (2 Cor 3:17-18).
Finally, in a seemingly ironic twist of the biblical storyline, it was the abuse of fruit that set us on our way toward ruin (Gen. 3) and it is the fruit of God’s Spirit that will guide us out of the maze of destruction and restore our fallen human condition (Gal 5:19-21). The display of God’s Spirited fruit actually reverses the effects of the Fall and moves us one step closer to that glorious optimal human existence as originally created by God!