The fruit of the Spirit
The fruit of the spirit is produced by walking in the spirit. Walking in the Spirit of God has been the focus of my teaching for the past 36 years. My hope is that I am hearing correctly and this is a thing the Lord wants me to do. I am praying like crazy that I can do it well and accurately.
In the process I am developing a mini-site on the Radiqx site focused on walking in the Spirit. This is one of the partially developed pages so far:
- Fruit is not the people you save
- Fruit is not the good deeds you do
- Fruit is not going to church or bringing people
- Fruit is not the size of your audience
- Fruit is Not the scope of your influence
Fruit is the character of Jesus lived through you by the Holy Spirit
Our goal in life is to produce fruit—good fruit. There are several things to notice about this. There is only one list of fruit in scripture and that is seen below:
- Galatians 5:16-24 ESV— But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires
First of all, the list of fruit in Galatians 5 shows the character of Jesus—and by extension the character we are expected to have as believers.
Jesus made it clear how important he thinks this process is to our life as His disciple. In John 15: 1–16 he uses the analogy of a vine and its branches. We are those branches. I’ll excerpt it to give focus & make it more clear.
…Every branch in me that does not bear fruit (God) takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit… You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. esv
Branches do not automatically bear good fruit or lots of fruit. A branch must be pruned to bear more fruit. Pruning is painful to the branch as things are cut off.
However, it goes much further than that. The quality of your fruit depends on the source of your life. If you are still foolish enough to believe that you have any real control, that you can really make good choices, that you understand what the Hell is going on, your fruit will be bad. There may be a lot of it. But it will be rotten, stinky, bad tasting fruit.
Only in Jesus, by His Holy Spirit
In the midst of the verses referenced above in John 15, the message is clear: fruit comes from the life flowing through us—the life of Jesus, our messiah. There is not good fruit without walking in the Spirit. As usual, Jesus did not pull any punches but talked openly and directly. In verses 4 & 5 we read:
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. NLT
Fruit is singular. Works are plural.
If you read the passage in Galatians, I want you to notice that the works of the flesh are many, divisive, and fragmenting. They drive us apart from each other, set up walls between us, and isolate individuals.
The searches for power, pleasure, and bad relationships have terrible results. They keep us on our own, focused on ourselves, complaining about others, and all of that which is stated in this list of the works of the flesh.
On the other hand, the fruit of the spirit is whole. You cannot get joy or love or kindness or peace or any other part of the fruit without all of it. It is a package. It is the character of Jesus. It is the personality of a man or woman of God after they become mature. There are glimpses of it in new believers. But it does not develop as luscious, good fruit until it ripens and becomes mature.
It is the focus of our life. At least it is for God. You need to make it your conscious focus also. Nothing else matters, and it is the result of your drive to know Jesus, to become one with Him, to allow Him to live in you and work through you. The success of your life will be measured in the quantity and quality of your fruit.
Walking in the Spirit
I usually use walking in instead of walking by the Spirit. Though both are accurate and true, I need to remind myself, that in him I can do all things. He is not a tool or power source to enable me to do good. He is good and I am as good as I allow Him to flow out through me. The key is found in the last verse you see below from the quote from Galatians 5.
- Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires
The only part we have in all of this is cooperating with the Lord as He prunes us. When the evil rises up in us with bad attitudes, horrible thoughts, nasty words, unkind self-centered actions, and the like, all we can do is react in horror and repent.
As usual, the key is repentance
When we repent, we give the Lord the authority He needs to cleanse us. Remember, he will never force you to do anything. It required your cooperation and approval of the process. You need to ask him to fix you. You need to allow Him to prune you. You need to put away the flesh and put on the new creation.