In Ken’s message this past Sunday he talked about two things concerning the Spirit: living by it (Gal. 5:16 and being led by it (Gal. 5:18). The verses that caught me, though, in the passage of Galatians that he was going over was v. 22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” This caught my attention because some passages that God has been put on my heart as I’ve been going through the book of Matthew share this “fruit” theme.
This issue of “fruit” comes up twice in Matthew, as far as I’ve gotten into it. First, John the Baptist warns of the ax being “at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt. 3:10). Second, Jesus reiterates this warning in the context of watching out for false prophets (Matt. 7:15-20). He says that, “…by their fruit you will recognize them.” To me, the passage in Galatians 5:16-26 gives clarification of what John the Baptist and Jesus were saying, especially vs. 22-23.
Now, as I have reflected on these passages I’ve also reflected on who I was before I accepted Christ and received the Holy Spirit and who I am now. I marvel at how much God and His Spirit has transformed my life. He has transformed a man whose acts reflected several things of the sinful nature talked about in Galatians 5:19-21, into someone who detests those things and strives to let the Spirit produce in him its fruit. May God be praised!!!
God really is amazing to be able to transform us as we live by His Spirit. It just blows me away. What blows me away even more is that the Holy Spirit is still working on me to produce more of its fruit. There is always room to grow. I know that I learn more and more about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control as I spend time getting to know God through prayer, meditation on His word and interacting with His creation. I know I don’t produce this fruit all the time, none of us do, but as the closer I grow to Jesus, the easier it seems to be to produce Spiritual fruit. And when I’m not working on my relationship with Jesus, the fruit seems to be less appealing and more burdensome, even if I know that’s not the case.
So, to me it seems that if a person is living by the Spirit then the fruit of the Spirit is evident in that person’s life. And my thought on being led by the Spirit in context of the passage is that when a person is led to do something what motivates that person is one or more of the fruits of the Spirit. I can only think this is possible if a person is investing time into his/her relationship with Jesus. It causes me to go back and invest even more time into that relationship, because I really want the fruit of the Spirit. How about you?
–Insights from Rob Scott