I will only talk here briefly, because a preacher could easily fill volumes on the subject. For the sake of brevity, I will keep it short and sweet.
“Fruits of the Spirit” is a biblical term that describes the visible attributes of a true Christian walk. It is visible physical manifestations of the work the Holy Spirit has done in your life. It’s a sign of maturity as a believer.
Throughout the Bible, greater emphasis is placed on bearing the Fruit of the Spirit than Gifts or any other topic on victorious Christian living. Gifts of the Spirit are great, but it’s more important for us to have visible fruits in our life. It’s a sign both to myself and the world that the new life Jesus gave me is taking shape and growing in my life.
Imagine a Christmas tree and an apple tree. The Christmas tree has gifts during Christmas that you may take and use. These gifts are not from the tree itself. They are freely given and it takes no effort on the part of the tree to bear the gifts. The apple tree on the other hand must grow for years, survive the harsh cold, treacherous winds, pests, famines, and other hard weather conditions before it can bear even one fruit. Even when the fruit is ready, it is subject to attacks from small animals, worms, frostbites, etc. The amount of effort put in to get even one good apple out at harvest time is huge.
Our Christian lives are very similar to this. God gives us free gifts that are totally free, which we may use without any efforts on our end. He also expects us to bear fruit in our lives even though we will face hardships, trials, tribulations, and tough situations throughout this life. One of the reasons we are blessed with the Holy Spirit is that we bear fruits in spite of all this. Once we bear the fruits, they will come under constant attack from Satan and the world around us. We need to protect and nurture these fruits so that they survive till the harvest.
John 15:8 – “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples”
Jesus says that proof of your discipleship can be found by the fruits you bear. It is a test of being a mature Christian. It takes perseverance and sacrifice to be able to bear acceptable fruit. Jesus also warns about the type of fruit you bear.
Matthew 7:17 – So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit ..
If throughout your life you carry on following your own selfish desires and are more interested in the world than God, then Jesus warns that it will not be tolerated. God is patient and merciful. He gives you plenty of time, so if you still carry on in your own wicked ways, you will be removed.
John 15:2 – “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
And no devotional on the Fruit of the Spirit would be complete if we did not reference Galatians 5:22-23
Galatians 5:22-23 – 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
So I would do well to ask myself, do I see these changes in my life? Are there more of these fruits since I started professing to be a Christian, because if there is no change in these categories, I would do well to check in with God on that to see whats up.
1 John 4:16 – God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him
This is the first and foremost fruit. It also is the most important fruit you can bear. Love is the defining characteristic of God himself. Love is not a feeling or an emotion, it’s a conscious choice or decision you make that seeks the best for the person you love. This does not change even if the person hurts you, disrespects you, does not care for you or will never give anything back.
The love described here is not human love that is conditional, which demands something in return and is temporary. It is easy to love those who love you and do good to you. It is easy to love your friends and family. It is easy to love attractive people or rich people, who are able to give you something back. This is human love, which is temporary.
This is how the Apostle Paul describes love to the churches at Corinth
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 – Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
This love is “agape” or God’s love and it is unconditional. Try replacing the word “love” with “Jesus” in the above verse, it will still make perfect sense. The goal is one day you too should be able to put your name instead of the word love and it will ring true. That is the power of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit developing in your life.
God’s love is divine, it is the ability to love your enemies, it is the ability to love those who hate you and want to destroy you. God even loves thankless and unrepentant people. As this fruit manifests in your life, you too will be able to love sinners, oppressors, and the most difficult people, in spite of everything they say and do.