So…yesterday’s (fruity) devotion was a bit of a downer. We looked at God creating a paradise for man to live in… one rule… don’t eat from the tree of good and evil. Eve did! Adam did! Each of us do! The good news is that God still loves you…sent His Son to pay the price for you sins.
Today we will begin to look at what the FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT is all about. We begin in Galatians chapter 5. Starting in verse 19 we see the problem: The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. These verses confirm what we talked about yesterday…we are all sinners!
So now what? Do we just throw our hands in the air and say “that’s just who I am so I might as well give in to those sinful ways!” NO!!! God wants us to be transformed…changed to be more Christ-like.
Galatians 5:22-25…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
This section may be familiar to you. We call this the FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT section. We’re not speaking of spiritual apples, grapes, pears, or peaches here. We’re talking of what’s going on in the orchard of your life. What are you producing?
“Christian character” is produced by the Holy Spirit…not by merely trying to live by the law. The indwelling Holy Spirit produces faith and Christian virtues. We contrast the plural “sinful acts” described in the verses above…with the singular “Godly Fruit” (like a cluster of grapes) listed in Galatians 5:22-25 above. If the goal of the Christian life may be stated as Christlikeness, then surely every trait developed in us that reflects His character must be fruit that is very pleasing to Him. Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit in nine terms.
So, let’s get personal.
- Which of these virtues or characteristics do you seem to be lacking in?
- Would your friends recognize these qualities in you?
- Would a stranger meeting you for the first time see those characteristics in the way you talk and act?
- If there were 9 buckets filled with these virtues and you could get more of one of them…which would you take?
The fable tells of three merchants who were crossing the Arabian Desert. Because of the heat of the desert they were traveling at night. On that starless night they were crossing over a dry creek bed. As they were crossing a voice in the darkness spoke to them. The voice told them to stop right where they were. Then they were commanded to bend down and pick up the pebbles that were around them in thedry creek bed and put them in their pockets. After they did this they were told to leave and continue on their way and not to camp near the creek bed. The voice from the darkness continued to tell them that in the morning they would be both happy and sad. Being very frightened by all of this, they traveled through the night and did not stop until they could see the sun. With the arrival of the morning they began to look in their pockets. Instead of finding pebbles in their pockets they found precious jewels. Yes, they were both happy and sad. They were happy that they had listened to the voice of the night but they were also sad that they did not pick up more pebbles.
Note that the FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT is not something that you earn or buy or go “pick up”…this fruit is a gift of the Spirit…as He works in you and transforms you from the inside out, but:
I want to end this devotion by painting a picture using Colossians 2:6-7… So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Think of a healthy tree…strong roots for strength in the storm, and for nourishment. It grows and is built up with branches and places for birds to rest…overflowing with leaves, flowers, and fruit.
Colossians describes a Christian life (our intimate, spiritual, living union with God) in the same terms:
- Rooted in God’s Word for strength and nourishment. (do you connect with God and read His Word daily?)
- Growing to become all that God has planned for your life. Strengthening in your walk as to be a blessing to others. (Are you responding to God’s direction in your life?)
- To be Christ-like…producing good fruit…living out the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT characteristics and virtues for all to see. (Are you loving others?)
- Over the next devotions starting on Monday, I want to look at each of these 9 characteristics and virtues, mentioned in these FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT verses.
Over the weekend, I encourage you to worship with us at royred.org. While you are there, check out the other tools and opportunities to connect with us. Spend some time looking at the verses that I have used in this devotion….and look for God for direction, hope, strength.