Category: Church and Discipleship, Word: FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
March 4, 2016 | by: Kendell Easley, prepared by Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: 52 Words
45. FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
DEFINITION: The fruit of the Spirit refers to the character traits growing in believers as they mature. The Spirit producers these. Further, these traits are all attributes of Jesus Christ that the Gospels report concerning him; therefore the fruit of the Spirit is another term for Christ-like character.
Both Testaments contain lists of virtues that God expects His people to exhibit (Micah 6:8; 2 Pet. 1:5-7). Often these refer to specific actions: obey God’s words; pray; follow the Ten Commandments; tell others about Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit, however, is more about inner character, reflecting a heart being transformed into Christ’s moral likeness. There is no essential difference between growth in sanctification and growth in the fruit of the Sprit.
Both the “gifts of the Spirit” and the “fruit of the Spirit” are empowered by the Spirit working in cooperation with the individual believer, yet they differ significantly as well. The Spirit’s gifts are capable of misuse and abuse. The Corinthians, who lacked no spiritual gift, were at the same time divided and “people of the flesh” (1 Cor. 1:7; 3:1-4). In fact, Jesus warned that flashy gifts such as prophesying, exorcism, and miracle working might be counterfeited (Matt 7:21-23). The Devil, masquerading as an angel of light, is well able to perform [so-called] “supernatural” deeds through willing human agents (2 Cor. 11:14; 2 Thess. 2:9-11).
The fruit of the Spirit, however, can’t be faked. The Devil has neither the desire nor the power to transform people into Christ’s moral likeness. Many Bible students have noted that the word “fruit” is singular and that the primary character quality God desires is love (agape, see the article on love--Word 6). When love is exposed to the various demands of life, it expresses itself as joy, peace, patience, and so on. A useful illustration from everyday physics may be helpful. Pure light is composed of all the colors of the rainbow. These colors are not seen, however, until a prism breaks white light into its components. So it is with the believer. The Spirit’s fruit enables us to grow in loving God and our neighbors, and such love will be expressed in the manner most appropriate to the situation.
REFLECTION: Which aspect of the Spirit’s fruit do you personally need the most for today? Evaluate your life over the past month. Which aspect of the fruit is the Spirit developing in you?
PRAYER: Help me live today aware that You are empowering me to grow in Christ’s likeness. Amen.
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.