Summary: If we want to produce the fruit of the Spirit then we must be a "Holy Spirit tree".
Last week after church we stopped at Trader Joes on our way home. We just needed to pick up a few items so I picked up one of the small red baskets on our way in. As we entered the store and tried to go down the first aisle our way was blocked by two women who had parked their carts right in the middle of the aisle and were sitting there talking, oblivious to the other customers trying to get down the aisle. So I just calmly walked around them, grabbed the items we needed and proceeded to check out.
Most of the checkout lines were pretty long, but I got in the express lane, figuring it would move pretty quickly. When the woman in front of us reached over to grab a candy bar to add to the items already in her cart, Mary looked over at me and said, “You’re counting, aren’t you?” Busted! But when the cashier finished ringing up that customer, Mary turned to me and said, “17”. So I wasn’t the only one counting. “No, actually it was 18”, I corrected her. “There were two cans of tuna that she rang up together.”
As I was working on the message this week, God brought that event to mind to remind me how often I fail to manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s presence and work in my life. At that moment there sure wasn’t a lot of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control operating in my life.
I’m sure that’s just a problem for me and that all the rest of you probably don’t struggle with seeing the fruit of the spirit in your life on a consistent basis. But just in case that is an area where you also need to develop some maturity, we’re going to spend some time this morning focusing on the fruit of the Spirit and how to experience it in our lives. So if you have your Bibles go ahead and open them up to the 5th chapter of the book of Galatians and follow along as I begin reading in verse 16:
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. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:16-25 ESV)
This week I went to Howard’s orchard with Pam and our grandkids. And while we were there we picked some apples and peaches. And I can tell you that confidently that every tree and plant in that orchard produces fruit that is consistent with the kind of tree or plant it is. Every peach tree produces only peaches. Every apple tree produces only apples. Every tomato plant produces only tomatoes. So even if I don’t know anything else about those trees and plants, I can tell what kind they are by the fruit they produce.
Our lives are just like that. The fruit that is manifest in our lives will reveal what kind of tree we are. If we’re a “flesh tree” then our lives will show evidence of that as our lives produce “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these”.
But if we’re a “Holy Spirit tree” our lives will also show evident of that as our lives produce “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”.
So let me ask you a question this morning. But before I ask you to answer that question I want you to listen carefully to what I’m going to share with you this morning so that you understand the consequences of your answer before you respond.
Which tree do you want to be?
Do you want to be the “flesh tree” or do you want to be the “Holy Spirit tree”?
The two trees could not be more different. And the process by which one becomes one or the other contrast starkly as well. Since it by far the easiest, let’s begin by describing…