Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Catechism #44

Q. What is the fruit of the Spirit?
A. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). 

The fruit of the Spirit is contrasted with the works of the flesh. In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul says,

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

The unsaved person naturally produces any or all of these works of the flesh. Instead of living like the lost, we should live a life characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. But those characteristics do not come naturally.

At the moment of salvation believers receive the Holy Spirit of God into their lives, and it is that Spirit who helps to cultivate His fruit. In John 15 Jesus said believers will produce fruit, but “without me you can do nothing (v5).” On the other hand, we “can do all things through Christ” who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).

Through the power of the Holy Spirit we will begin to shun the natural works of the flesh and live a life that resembles the teachings of Christ. This is a lifelong process, so we should never foolishly think that we have arrived. We need to determine every day to choose the fruit of the Spirit.

We also need to realize that Galatians 5:22 says fruit of the Spirit, not fruits of the Spirit. This is not like the variety of Spiritual gifts, where one person has one gift and another has a different gift. God’s desire is that all believers have the whole list of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. We do not pick our fruit.

I have joy, you have patience.

No, we all need to work on the whole list. Read over the list of the fruit again, and ask God to reveal any fruit that may be lacking in your life.

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