Summary: Many Christians believe that the indication of true spirituality and maturity in Christ can be assessed by looking at the evidence of gifts of the Spirit in an individual. Others believe that the fruit of the Spirit demonstrated in the life of a believer
Who is fruitful?
Many Christians believe that the indication of true spirituality and maturity in Christ can be assessed by looking at the evidence of gifts of the Spirit in an individual. Others believe that the fruit of the Spirit demonstrated in the life of a believer is a better assessment.
The Apostle Paul presents a case that both gifts and fruit are necessary:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and angels (gift of the Spirit) but have not love, (fruit of the Spirit) I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, (all gifts of the Spirit) but have not love, I am nothing (fruit of the Spirit).” 1 Corinthians 13:1-2
The list of the Fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Which fruit do you find most of in your life?
Which fruit do you find the most difficult to cultivate?
Which fruit is the primary fruit we must have?
The bible tells us “God is Love.” (1 John 4:8). The list of the fruit of the Spirit begins with LOVE and from love the other 8 characteristics of the Spirit of God will be manifest.
The fruit of the Spirit is not a collection of unrelated fruits, which can be selected or neglected according to our personal preference, situation, circumstance, or agenda.
The fruit comes as a whole package, cultivated and matured only by being in the right relationship to God. The Bible confirms this “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Each of the nine fruit or character traits can be seen in the life of Christ. He is our pattern, our example and our source for leading a fruitful, fruit filled life. This is clearly seen in John 15:4 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
The characteristics of God, found in the fruit of the Spirit, are not a suggestion for a fulfilled life; this is a command we need to obey. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5
Jesus was asked the question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love you neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40
The fruit of the Spirit deals directly with our character – character deals with our integrity - our integrity is who we are when no one else is looking, our integrity is what is really going on inside us.
How does the way we react to situations or circumstances demonstrate what is on the inside of us? Our character is more important than any gift we have, if we are operating in the gifts of the Spirit without the fruit of the Spirit, we damage the Gospel: “By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:16-23