Previously, I wrote about the gifts of the Spirit found in Isaiah 11. Those are meant for our own personal sanctification and the building up of the Body of Christ. This post will feature the fruits as found in Galatians 5. Upcoming is the post on charisms.
If you have been Baptized, you have received the gift of the Holy Spirit and the fruits mentioned in Galatians. Fruits are important because they visibly give witness to the workings of the spirit within us. We want God to be in control, so we listen to His Spirit.
Without the Holy Spirit, our lives bear the fruits of our fallen natures.
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
Do any of these sound familiar to any of you? I know I recognize a few that have given me trouble. I worked at living a good life, but often found myself still struggling with unruly emotions and sin which left me feeling horrible afterward. The problem was that I was living out of my fallen nature and following influences that were not of the Holy Spirit. However, once I started working with the Spirit and allowing Him to work in me then my life started looking a bit different than it had before.
What does a Holy Spirit led life look like?
When we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, our lives produce a different set of fruits, or results, than they did before. These fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, are the outward signs that the Holy Spirit is working within us. Our fallen nature will not produce these results, nor will any other spirit. True to the nature of fruit, these spiritual fruits also take time to grow, develop and mature.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.
As these qualities start becoming evident in our lives, others will notice the changes in us as well. Things that we reveled in that were offensive to God will no longer have sway over our hearts. We will no longer be snared by certain temptations because we now display self-control where none existed before. We will become more even-tempered, patient, and kind with others as the Holy Spirit leads us.
The fruits are not based on our emotions.
The fruits are not dependent on our outward circumstances or how we feel about them. In fact, they can seem to be in direct opposition of our emotions. For example, we can have peace even when our lives seem to be falling apart. We may find that we can genuinely love our enemies and be joyful even in severe trials. Our prejudices fall away and are replaced with a love that extends God’s kindness and gentleness to those we may have labeled as outcasts and outright sinners.
These fruits allow us to reach out to people just as Jesus did during his time on earth. They bring the character of the Living God alive in us.