We pick peaches at a local orchard virtually every summer. Not only can you select your own peaches, but you can eat some while you pick. The limbs of each tree are so laden with fruit that they strain under the weight. The scent of peaches fills the air, and bees and ants flock to the base of each tree and feast on the fruit that has fallen. Since this is an orchard, there are hundreds of trees equally bursting with fruit. The authors of scripture, and our Lord himself, often spoke of fruit to teach about life in the kingdom of God.
The apostle Paul says Jesus’ disciples bear fruit because of the Lord’s work in our lives. In Galatians 5:22-25 he tells us the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Paul introduces this passage by telling us to “live by the Spirit,” and that in doing so we will not “gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Paul is not telling us these desires will be eliminated, but that we do not need to be enslaved by them any longer. Paul closes the section by telling us that “since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Paul discusses the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit in between these bookend statements about life in the Spirit that. Read Galatians 5:15-26.
Let’s consider some of what the fruit of the Spirit means for our lives;
- The fruit shows the Lord is at work in our lives. Also read Philippians 1:11.
- The fruit is not our focus. Our focus is the presence of the Lord and his work in our lives. Also read John 15:5
- The fruit of the Spirit is a changed life. The change is experienced in our heart, soul, mind and actions. Also read Luke 6:43-The fruit of the Holy Spirit refers to every item on Paul’s list, and not just a few of them.
- No matter where we are, or what circumstance we encounter, every Christian is a fruit producer because of the Lord’s presence and work. Also read Romans 7:4-5, Colossians 1:10.
- The Lord’s purpose is that our lives would be like the orchard we visit. That is, that each of us would be continually laden with the fruit of the Spirit.
- We learn to view each Christian as a tree bursting with fruit, and the church as the orchard.
- As Paul teaches about love in 1 Corinthians 13, the fruit of the Spirit is more important than empty acts.
The fruit of the Spirit describes one of the primary changes the Lord works in us. This is a promise we need to understand and embrace. Here are a few recommendations for opening our lives to the Lord’s Spirit to produce this fruit.
- Memorize and meditate on Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit.
- Pray for the Lord to change you so that you naturally produce his fruit in every moment of the day. Ask the Lord to develop each item in the list in your life.
- Focus on the Lord and permit him to have his way.
- Cultivate his fruit until you are continually laden so that all who are near you may see the demonstration of the Lord’s presence in your life.
- Spend a day, or week, paying attention to whether or not you produced his fruit in the various situations of your daily life.
- Consider where the fruit of the Spirit is produced in your life. Give thanks to the Lord when you experience this.
- Consider those times when you have difficulty producing the fruit of the Spirit. Take this as an opportunity to pray and grow.
- Understand that this is a promise from the Lord for us to accept and grow into.
- Locate and read other passages of scripture about each portion of the fruit of the Spirit. Watch for lists of passages for each fruit coming to our web site.
- Let each time you see fruit serve as a reminder of what the Lord is working to accomplish in and through you.
- Speak and pray with other Christians you know who clearly display the fruit of the Spirit. Learn from them.
May our lives produce the fruit of the Lord’s presence, and may the sweet aroma of this fruit draw others to him.
Review our New Testament list studies to explore what scripture teaches about each fruit in greater detail.