You may have spent years trying to work to develop the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23
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
But when we try to develop the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, we are missing the whole point. These character traits are fruits (results) of the Spirit. Trying to instill these traits into our lives on our own is like trying to grow apples without an apple tree. It just cannot be done. The fruit of the Spirit must be grown by the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is the one who does the work in us and produces His fruit.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control: These traits are essential to the Christian life, and we need an extra dose of them in our everyday lives. But the gospel has a better approach to spiritual growth than you trying to become more mature on your own and by your works.
Instead of trying extra hard to be good, we must instead focus on our relationship with God. We must spend time with Him in prayer and seek Him through His Word. As we grow closer to Him each day, He will work in us and develop love, joy, and peace. He will help us be more patient, kind, good, and meek, and we will have more self-control.
Here are three things to remember when you think about this passage:
1. Healthy Fruit Comes from Deep Roots
With a literal plant, you don’t grow fruit by focusing on the fruits. Fruit happens naturally when the roots are deep and healthy. The same is true in our spiritual lives.
In the same way, you won’t grow spiritually by trying to add love, joy, peace, and everything else to your life. You can only do it by driving your roots deep into Christ.
2. You are Already Complete in Christ
The more you embrace Gods love and promise in the gospel, the more spiritual fruits will appear naturally in your life. Instead of looking at yourself, you need to look at Jesus and say, “In Christ, I am …
- Chosen before the foundation of the world.
- Predestined to bring forth fruit and give him glory.
- Appointed to be an overcomer.
- So precious that Jesus poured out his blood for me.
- No longer only a servant but also a friend.
- Not a slave, but a son or daughter.
- Blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
- Filled with all the fullness of God.
- Predestined for good works that I should go and walk in them.”
3. Walking in the Spirit is the way to Avoid the Lusts of the Flesh, Not Vice Versa
Notice the order in Galatians 5:16: “I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
Most people tend to flip that. We think we have to avoid sin in order to be filled with the Spirit. But Paul says walking in the Spirit comes first, because without the Spirit, you’ll never be able to say “no” to the lusts of the flesh.
When Adam and Eve first sinned, they were stripped of the love and acceptance of God, so their souls felt naked, and naked souls look for clothing. This is a picture of how we go about our lives – we feel vulnerable and spiritually naked, and we are looking for something to replace what God used to be to us.
We need a larger dose of the Spirit’s presence in our lives. His power is released in us by daily believing this truth: “It is finished.” The first time we believed “It is finished,” we were released from the penalty of sin. As we continue to believe it, we are released from the power of sin by the Spirit.
The more we soak ourselves in the love of Jesus, the more the fruit of the Spirit will naturally appear.