Summary: An exhoration to live a truly alternate lifestyle.
Live The Alternative Part 2
Last week we discussed the World’s or establishment’s lifestyle. The normal lifestyle if you please. This week we will study the only true alternative lifestyle, that of the Spirit. It is rare and radically different from normal. As the works of the flesh are manifest or open for all to see so also should the works or fruit of the Spirit.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
The fruit of any tree is determined by the makeup of the tree. Unless there is human intervention by grafting you will not see peaches on an apple tree or grapes on a strawberry bush.
In the case of the fruit of the Spirit, unless we are a branch of the Vine we cannot bring forth fruit. We must be open to the flow of the Spirit through us or our fruit will be dried, shriveled, and small in quantity. (John 15:1-8) Indeed, the saved or saints are branches of wild grapevines grafted into the Vine. The fruit that comes is not of our true nature. We could never produce it. We can only receive it. (Romans 11:17-24)
While we appreciate the blossoms of a fruit tree or vine and seeing the fruit mature, we look forward to the completion of that maturation and the pie or preserves that will result from that completion. We do not want to just look at it. We want to benefit from that fruit. We want some sort of nourishment and tangible pleasure from that fruit.
The word fruit in the Greek is not fruit on the tree or vine. It is plucked fruit! Fruit that is mature and ready to provide nourishment to the partaker. It is not plastic fruit to decorate but potent, proactive fruit to revolutionize our life and the lives of those around us. It is meant to alleviate spiritual hunger and bring the joy of Heaven and our salvation into a form that all can benefit from.
Too many Christians are looking for the fruit of the Spirit to just decorate their life for people to see. "Look at me, I have this fruit or that fruit of the Spirit! Aren’t I wonderful and beautiful to behold?" That is the wrong reason!!!
We are to take that fruit and with His help bake it into a sweet and rich pie of His precious promises and offer it to the spiritually starving. We are to be used in allowing that fruit to be processed through the pressures and heat of this life and sweetened by the comforts that God gives us in that processing. We are to become vessels of His preserving power that He opens and spreads on the Bread of Life to bring sustenance to the wounded and hurting.
The first fruit mentioned is love. As the vanity of the flesh hung on three categories, the lust of eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life all the laws fell under two and both fell under love. (Matt 22:32-40)
The writings of man abound with love songs, poems and stories. Yet, it is still "the only thing that there is just too little of." Why? Because the flesh lifestyle has no clue as to what it is and there are just too few who practice the Spirit lifestyle.
Only self and various lusts motivate fleshly love. A person loves one who loves them and that usually translates as meeting their needs or demands. When the other person fails to do so then love ends. When the thrill of possessing another person wanes, then the love for the person ends. It rests in the emotions that fluctuate worse than Texas temperatures. God’s Spirit love, agape, does not fluctuate. It is not self-seeking or based upon lusts. It loves because it does. The object of that love is chosen because it is chosen. It does not have to deserve it. It has no way to maintain it. It is a consistent, committed love of choice. God chose to love man and He has been through thick and thin with mankind. He manifested His love through sacrificing His Son for our salvation even when we and the rest of mankind was shaking our fist in His face and cursing His name.
If we are truly walking in the alternative lifestyle of the Spirit, we will exhibit the same kind of love. We will choose to love people because He does and He uses His Spirit to show that love. We will choose to love all people because He does.
Yes, He is angry at the wicked, but He loves them and wants them to be saved. (Psalm 7:11,12; 2 Peter 3:9) He did send the Spirit to reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (John 16:8) He cannot lie to them, or look past their sin without the Blood of Christ. He must speak the truth to them, but He does it in love and so should we. (Eph 4:15)