Living By The Fruit
The Bible is filled with nuggets of character building traits. Paul concludes his letter to the churches of Galatia with a warning of the temptations of the flesh contrasted with the fruit of the Spirit. Both of the lists are lifestyles that will bring either sorrow or joy. The fruit of the Spirit is a divine pattern when followed will fill life with an abundance of satisfaction and happiness. Thousands of self-help books are written trying to help people find a direction in life but two thousand years ago, the Holy Spirit laid down a plan that cannot be improved on. The fruits of the Spirit are an ideal way to pattern life.
As people of God, we should learn the character of love. This begins with our love for the Lord and His wisdom. Loving people are filled with compassion and understanding. Husbands love their wives as Christ loved the church. Families are filled with love for one another. The church must be a place where God’s children love one another. In the workplace Christian’s should be seen as people of love. This will bring about a spirit of joy in the heart of the individual. There is enough sadness in this world but a child of God should be a beacon of delight. We have joy because God loves us. Our view is not from a worldly view of materialism. Saved people have a hope that reaches beyond the grave into the heavenly portal giving them a joy to live by. Having a heart of love and living joyfully will bring about peace in our hearts. The Holy Spirit is not unaware of the trials of life and how hard it can be. What He offers is the peace that will pass all understanding guarding our hearts with a calm spirit of trust in God. Disciples of Christ are peacemakers and peace givers. That is in contrast to angry, unhappy trouble making people of the world. As children of God, we are filled with love and joy and peace.
What sets the person of righteousness apart from others is the longsuffering spirit. Forgiveness is the key ingredient of the righteous man. Jesus left a powerful example of forgiving others and we can do no less. Living by the Spirit is forgiving the unforgiving. Love, joy and peace will develop a character of forgiveness. A longsuffering heart will bear with one another showing the same love the Lord bestows upon all of us. This makes us to be kind people. It is interesting such a simple idea can make such a powerful difference. What a difference the world would be when we start learning to be kind. Husbands and wives being kind to one another; parents and children learning the art of kindness toward one another; the local congregation filled with those who are kind to one another; and going to work and showing a spirit of kindness to the fellow employees. Unkindness does not suit the character of a Christian. The fruit of goodness grows from the spirit of God living within the heart. Instead of the ‘badness’ of the world infecting the heart words are good, actions are good, thoughts are good – the heart is good. It goes without saying that Christians need to be good people.
The final three traits of faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the manifestation of how deeply we are indebted to the Lord for His grace. Faithful men and women are people of the book living by the book. The truth of God’s word is a constant source of comfort guiding the heart by the will of the Father. Spending more time in the message of truth will bring an overwhelming gentle spirit. The Bible was given to man to soften the edges of his character in a humble realization of his need for God. Finally this brings about a spirit of controlling self for the glory of God. If all of the other fruits of the Spirit are built upon the word of God, it will become easier to exercise self-control. Sin will not have the allurement it once had. Life will be filled with a greater focus on the blessings of God without the regrets of an unrighteous life. Sin is defeated by filling the heart with the fruit of the Spirit.
How you choose to live will be determined whether you walk after the flesh or live by the Spirit. Living by the fruit will bring greater happiness. Fill your life with the Holy Spirit. Come taste the fruit. It is wonderful.
Nor shall I believe that you are in the Spirit except I behold in you the fruits of the Spirit. (Desiderius Erasmus, Enchiridion, 1503)