The Fruit of the Spirit. I’d heard that phrase all my life. I could even stand up in church and quote the verse word for word. But those who knew me didn’t see the evidence of it through me. Instead, they saw selfishness and greed and rudeness. Pride and fear and self-centeredness. On the day I came face-to-face with the attitude of my heart, I was shocked. I was ashamed.
Friends, the Fruit of the Spirit is not a list of nice things we should try to do. Neither is it a collection of possible gifts we may or may not have. Instead, this is God’s command to those of us who belong to Christ Jesus: to crucify the sinful nature and the evidence it produces.
Crucify is such an ugly word, but that’s exactly what we have to do. We have to kill that sinful nature with all its ugliness, and live in the Spirit of Christ.
The real Fruit of the Spirit requires us to ask ourselves these questions. Can we:
- Love the person who lies about us?
- Find joy in the midst of our overdue bills?
- Claim His peace when the medical report is bad?
- Be patient with the little old lady who could have made it through the yellow light?
- Be kind to the neighbor whose leaves fall on our side of the fence?
- Demonstrate a heart of goodness by sharing our food, our money, our time with the homeless?
- Be faithful to pray for those we promised to pray for?
- Let our gentleness override the temptation to scream at our kids?
- Use self-control to guard our mouths from saying those words that hurt and hate and hinder relationships?
There it is—the Fruit of the Spirit. If we adorn ourselves with it, others will be led to praise the God of our salvation…and our presentations.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26 NIV
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.