Fruit of the Spirit // Part 2 of 2
Last Wednesday, we began a discussion of the fruit of the Spirit. Tonight, we’ll finish that talk by taking a look at each individual fruit and the connection the fruit has to our wholeness in God.
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.
/// Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
The word “fruit” used in Galatians to describe the motivations of God’s heart is plural. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not manifest in one fruit, but in many. Just as the power of God is manifest in several gifts the heart of God is manifest in several fruits or motivations of the heart. Yet, when you study the fruit of the Spirit, you begin to recognize how related and closely connected each fruit is. Here we go:
We all know that love is the single most defining characteristic of God’s nature. So much so that 1 John 4:16 tells us that “God is love”. To truly understand the concept of God’s love, you must understand preference. Preference is a root concept of God’s love. God’s love has an object of preference and a pathway of preference. The object is the one preferred and the pathway is the decision to put the one preferred first. God’s love is a discriminating affection which involves choice and selection. God’s love selects the one it prefers, makes a decision to live its preference and discriminates by rejecting anything except that which it prefers. Love in us will do the same. It will select God, make a decision to follow His will, and will reject everything else. This fruit reveals the believer’s freedom from double-mindedness or spiritual schizophrenia.
The fruit of joy actually has its origin in word for grace. It is a product of God’s grace and favor in the life of the believer. As a matter of fact, it is the response that comes when we recognize the reality of God’s grace and favor in our lives! You have joy when you recognize that God has graced and favored you!
Peace relates to love in that it is a product of freedom from a fractured mind. Peace is a feeling that originates from wholeness. Think of whole numbers verses fractions. Peace comes when we are not fractured in affection or vision but are settled on God. We feel peace because we are not fractured.
Patience is related to a fruit we’ll look at later: gentleness. Patience in the avoidance of acting out of personal want. It is the avoidance of error made by premature and hasty use of force.
A product of preference, kindness is meeting real needs in God’s way and in His timing. Kindness is the biblical response to that which the world defines as tolerance. It identifies the real need and meets it in God’s way in His time. Kindness is strong enough to stand back and not act when solutions offered are not God’s solutions. And, it can wait on God’s timing.
This fruit is very interesting and is a product of relationship and not behavior. This fruit is an intrinsic goodness. That means that the object is good because of what or who it is, not necessarily because of what it does. How can you have good mental health when you are constantly afraid of losing God’s love? The goodness described here is broad in that it goes beyond behavior. A fruit of the Spirit is the impartation of goodness to you – a sanity that comes from knowing that God loves you, period!
You see scriptures written by the apostles that say something to this effect: “I am persuaded!” That’s what faithfulness is – God’s will working together with the will of the believer to guarantee that what God says will come to pass. It is a Spirit birthed persuasion that is closely connected to preference.
Like patience, gentleness is power or strength under the control of something. Patience protects the believer from acting out of personal want. Gentleness is a power released through the inspiration of God, which follows His direction and graces the object of its attention.
Self-control is dominion. It is the evidence of the dominion of the Spirit within the believer. Closely connected to other fruits, it is Spirit driven living. Without the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit are hollow. Let’s look at what the Bible says and at how the fruits work together.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NIV)
- Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
- 1 John 4:16
- Isaiah 26:3
- 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NIV)
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