Once More on Grace and Spiritual Fruit
He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit . . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering . . . . (Gal_5:22-23 and Php_1:11)
As the Holy Spirit works the grace of God in our hearts, the various aspects of spiritual fruit are manifested through us. “The fruit of the Spirit is . . . kindness.” Kindness is moral goodness and integrity conveyed toward others. It includes showing concern and consideration to people, desiring not to offend them. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another” (Eph_4:31-32).
“The fruit of the Spirit is . . . goodness.” Goodness is quite similar to the preceding term, kindness. The additional perspectives contained in goodness would be acts of generosity and beneficence. This somewhat repetitious concept indicates the high priority that God places upon our treatment of others.
“The fruit of the Spirit is . . . faithfulness.” Faithfulness embodies responsibility and loyalty. It also comprises reliability and consistency. “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1Co_4:2).
“The fruit of the Spirit is . . . gentleness.” Gentleness is explained by such terms as meekness and lowliness. Such quality of character takes on special significance when we recall these words of Jesus. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mat_11:29).
“The fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control.” Self-control is a fascinating subject, because it is not what it seems to be at first. Natural human thinking would assume it refers to self keeping self under control. Such a description would have to be listed under the previous verses pertaining to “the works of the flesh” (Gal_5:19). Here, it describes the Spirit of God maintaining control over our lives.
When we reflect upon the fruit of the Spirit, the character of Christ typically comes to mind. This is appropriate, since godly fruit comes to us through the presence of Jesus in our lives. “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” When we depend upon the Holy Spirit, He imparts the life of Jesus, our true vine, into and through our experience. The character of Christ is then seen in us. Consequently, all glory and praise goes to God!
Dear Lord Jesus, how I long to be more like You. I can easily be selfish, inconsistent, or out of control. I see that only Your Holy Spirit working in me can bring the necessary fruit. Lord, I pray, work deeply in me by Your irreplaceable grace, for Your glory and praise, Amen.