What about the Fruit of the Holy Spirit?
Visit God's Fruit Market
When we become a Christian we are 'born again' into God's family, and we begin to take on the 'family likeness' - a Christ-like nature. God is committed to seeing this happen (see Romans ), and it's the job of the Holy Spirit to bring it about in our lives.
In Paul's letter to the Galatians we see what our own human nature can be like. Paul describes it like this: "The acts of the sinful nature 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).
This is clearly far from being Christ-like so the Holy Spirit has to encourage us to change and allow the 'fruit' of a Christ-like nature to grow in our lives. Here is a list of this 'fruit' as recorded in Galatians 5:22-23): 1: Love. 2: Joy. 3: Peace. 4: Patience. 5: Kindness. 6: Goodness. 7: Faithfulness. 8: Gentleness. 9: Self-control. Let's look at them one by one:
Check the stock list:
Definition: Love in the New Testament can refer to sensual, brotherly or divine love, depending on the original word used. Here Paul is speaking of divine love which reaches out to others in sacrificial service.
Challenge: Seeking another's highest good whether you feel warm about the person or not, and so to obey God.
Definition: Joy in the Bible has its source in the Lord rather than in mere physical comfort and well-being. Joy is also grounded in the hope of Christ's return. That is why Paul could rejoice even in prison.
Challenge: To recapture the joy of the early disciples.
Definition: Peace in the New Testament is related to the Old Testament concept of shalom. It denotes wholeness, well-being, and harmony with God and others.
Challenge: To get to know God better, to see that he is always with us no matter what happens to us, and that he will love and care for us because we are precious to him. Knowing and trusting this kind of God produces the fruit peace within us.
Definition: Patience refers to the prolonged restraint of anger. In English we speak of certain people as being 'short tempered'. A patient person is 'long' tempered.
Challenge: To understand why we should be patient and understanding towards others.
Definition: Kindness means treating others as God has treated us - with compassion and generosity.
Challenge: To consider how we can show the fruit of kindness to others.
Definition: Goodness is primarily a moral quality which has as its standard the moral perfection of God.
Challenge: To see how God's goodness becomes standard for developing this fruit in our lives.
Definition: Faithfulness means to be trustworthy or reliable. Because God is faithful, his Spirit desires this quality in his children.
Challenge: To gain a fresh awareness of God's faithfulness and how we can develop this fruit in our lives.
Definition: Gentleness can mean being gentle, humble or considerate. Gentleness is also meekness which, far from being weak, is strength harnessed for good.
Challenge: To learn the true meaning of gentleness and apply it in our lives towards others.
Definition: Self-control is set in contrast to the sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery mentioned in Galatians 5:19. However, the Greek word has the wider meaning of 'power over oneself' and applies to all categories of life.
Challenge: To submit to the Holy Spirit so as to learn to have 'power over oneself' and not to blow-up.
Ripe for picking
Jesus said that we need to 'abide in him' in order to bear much fruit (see John 15:5). To 'abide' means to live there, feel at home. To abide in Jesus means feeling happy in his presence and staying in fellowship there close to him.
Our old human nature had something inside it which produced sin as its fruit. Now, our new 'Christian' nature has something inside it which produces the nature of Jesus as its fruit. Through this, the image of God (see Genesis l:26), destroyed in man by sin, is being restored, and God has a testimony through our lives.
In addition, this fruit provides a right foundation and motivation for the release of God's power through our lives in signs and wonders. See the leaflet 'What about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?'
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