22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
One of the greatest revelations I have had in the last two years regarding these verses is in regards to the first six words. We read this and see this beautiful list and focus on those things. We focus on how walking in the Spirit should produce love, joy, peace, etc., yet we have already rushed past one of the more important contingencies in these verses. I want you to notice those first six words. “But the fruit of the Spirit” Paul says these things are FRUITS of the Spirit. That means they aren’t things you are going to naturally start producing or something God is going to mature you into producing more consistently. Rather these are the characteristics you display when you are currently walking with the Spirit. He produces those fruits. Now YEAH after spending years walking with Him you will likely take on some of those characteristics since we are shaped by those we spend the most time with. However, don’t assume God is gifting you with a supernatural ability to be kind, good, faithful, etc. just because you are saved. NO! God tells us through Paul that these are characteristics of what the Spirit will pour out in our lives if we let Him.
As we’ve been saying, many Christians struggle with being obedient to God, which is mainly acting in the listed ways towards others. The reason is they, without realizing it, skim over the first six words and assume it CAN be read “But the fruit of the Christian”. You will not experience a sustainable change in character without the Spirit. Your life may be marked by these attributes for a season. Perhaps even naturally you are inclined towards kindness. However, you will not experience that SUSTAINABLE CHANGE without Him. Meaning you may add things, or change things up in your life, but nothing will be conformed to Christ’s image for long term without having the Holy Spirit come in and do that for you.
Don’t read so quickly, take time to open up each verse and ask the Spirit to show you things you may be missing!
God I want to display the attributes that are mentioned here. I know I cannot do this by myself. Help me to see the places in my life where the Spirit is asking for an opening so that I can let Him move, changing me and affecting others. Keep me attentive to Your involvement in my life. Amen.
This is a basic truth you can show anyone and they’ve likely missed it. Simply point out that the Bible says the good characteristics (fruits of the Spirit) are something that come from God within us, not a new heart inside us. Our new heart is able to yield to Him but are not made to produce His character.