Summary: Nine perils of allowing spiritual fruit to spoil. Failure to fully appropriate the fruits of the Spirit lead many to a false assumption that they are not doing anything wrong. (Symptons include possessiveness, frenzied actions, passivity, leniency, s

Please, Do Not Let Your Fruit Spoil (Gal 5:22,23)

Many believers are suffering needlessly because they are not allowing the Spirit of God to exhibit the fullness of the nine fruits of the Spirit in and through them. Consequently, many tolerate the leaven of neutrality, apathy and indifference that cause them to pervert (or fall short of the manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit). Many of the ideas for this message came from the "The Mind of Christ" by T. W. Hunt.

Illustration: Jesus said, "A little leaven leavens the whole loaf of bread."

We couldn’t figure it out. My son and I had purchased an old powerboat for fishing and couldn’t make it run properly. We were unable to get it up to speed, and it shuddered when we tried to go faster. We figured that the trouble was with the fuel system, so we adjusted the carburetor and changed the fuel filter. But that still didn’t solve the problem.

When we took the boat out of the water, my son found the cause of the trouble. One of the propeller fins had a 3/4-inch (2 cm) nick in it. That can’t be it, I thought. That nick is too small. But when we installed a new propeller, what a difference it made! We had been slowed down by a tiny nick.

A similar problem is often at work in our lives as Christians. Sinful practices like those described in Galatians 5:16-21 have their roots in the seemingly insignificant thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Matthew 5:28; 15:18-19). If we ignore or tolerate these "little" sins, they will eventually grow, corrupting more of our thoughts and actions—even harming people around us. Just as a little yeast leavens a whole lump of dough (Galatians 5:9), so also a "little" sin can eventually weaken our service for Christ and the ministry of His church.

Remember, little nicks can cause big trouble. —Dave Egner

One little sin, what harm can it do?

Give it free reign and soon there are two.

Then sinful deeds and habits ensue—

Guard well your thoughts, lest they destroy you. —D. De Haan (Our Daily Bread)

Little sins won’t stay little.

Here is the overview of how a failure to extricate even the smallest element of the leaven of apathy, selfishness and carnality deludes many. Leaven tends to cause one to think they have caused no harm to others and yet they are guilty of terribly offending God and doing pernicious harm to themselves:

1. The fruit of the Spirit is love; the opposite is hate but the perversion is possessiveness.

People who are not controlled by the Spirit begin to dominate those who they profess to love by controlling their time, activities and decisions. This leads to a perverse sense of cultic control over those who we believe we are loving. This often occurs when a husband tries to control his wife’s every minute by insisting that he be given information about her entire schedule. A mother often smother’s her children when she evidences possessiveness in her attempt to express too much fleshly oriented love.

2. The fruit of the Spirit is joy; the opposite is pain but the perversion is frenzied expressions that are out of control.

People who are not given over to the control of God’s word and His Holy Spirit often are hasty to try many things without experiencing the peace of God that passes human understanding. They are always in a hurry to go somewhere, do something without allowing the Holy Spirit to give them the calm to make solid decisions. They are often not able to say, "I have perfect peace because my mind is not stayed upon Jehovah." (Isa 26:3)

3. The fruit of the Spirit is peace; the opposite is war but the perversion is neutrality.

Many people believe that we should be at peace with everyone by assuming a neutral position with all people. However, there are numerous enemies of Christ that need to be confronted, contended with and opposed for the sake of righteousness, godliness and the gospel. Paul said, "Fight the good fight of faith." We do not war against the flesh but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:10-12)

4. The fruit of the Spirit is long-suffering; the opposite is impatience but the perversion is lenience.

People who are too lenient allow for the leaven of tolerance to reign over all their decisions, values and choices. Many believers are guilty of too much leniency in the kinds of televisions programs they allow themselves to watch. The Nielson TV ratings company has indicated that Christian families viewing habits are not distinguishable with those of most non-christian homes. This would indicate that the faith that Christians profess in public is often not lived out in the privacy of our homes because we are too lenient with ourselves, our children and those who pick up on our leniency that compromises our godliness.

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