Paul has been clear on the works of the flesh (5:19-21) and has even declared that those whose lifestyle is characterized by these works cannot enter the kingdom of God. So, how are those who are controlled by the Spirit different? Paul begins to list what he calls the “fruit of the Spirit” which implies that these attitudes/actions will be produced in those who have believed in faith. When I think of fruit, I picture something that begins small and grows to full maturity. These fruits of the Spirit begin by the believer taking small steps in life but will grow over time. He lists nine characteristics in Galatians 5:22-23 and I will give a brief description of each so we can honestly examine whether these attitudes/actions are being modeled in our life. Love
is a self-sacrificial concern for another which leads to action. Joy
is a settled emotion of confidence no matter the circumstances. Peace
is firm belief that God is in control and therefore no need to worry. Longsuffering
is patience during unfavorable situations. Kindness
is simply being nice to others. Goodness
is the act of selflessly serving others. Faithfulness
is loyalty and being dependable. Gentleness
is humility and control over one’s response to circumstances. Self-control
is the ability to hold back emotions or desires. Paul then immediately says “against such there is no law.” He was emphatically declaring that the law could not produce these attitudes/actions, but only the Holy Spirit will produce these things in us when we allow Him to have control over our mind and heart. The reason for this is because “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” And now “if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” We are able to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit because Jesus Christ died for our sin and provided the indwelling Holy Spirit for those who would believe in faith. Although we still struggle with the flesh and the Spirit, one day our flesh will be totally redeemed making us no longer subject to sin. But now we can bring pleasure to God when we choose to walk in the Spirit and evidence the fruit He is producing in us.
Dear God, manifest within me the fruit of the Spirit so I may please You and others would see You through my attitudes/actions.