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The Fruit of the Spirit

January 16, 2017

assorted-fruits-01 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Love is a commitment to the benefit of others no matter the cost. It sacrificially and selflessly serves others for their gain. Love is the definitive trait of the child of God. Love fulfills all the law and motivates all obedience. Love is the first piece of the fruit of the Spirit out of which the rest grow.

Joy is contentment of heart that rejoices in God no matter the circumstances. Happiness is often fleeting because it depends on what is happening. Joy surpasses situation and explanation. “Ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:8) Joy is not the absence of tears and sorrow. Joy can be found in great grief because it is a deep delight in God. Joy knows His character and promises are unchanged no matter the event. Joy rejoices in God in all of life’s seasons.

Peace is also in the knowledge of God and confidence in Him. Peace is quietness of soul that reigns in the heart and mind no matter what may be approaching. True joy is beyond description and true peace is beyond comprehension. “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

Longsuffering is the patient endurance of wrongs done by others. The long-suffering one is far from anger no matter the carelessness or callousness of others. This is a relational fruit that endures the hurts inflicted by people. Longsuffering continues to seek the good of others while bearing injuries and insults from them.

Gentleness is an inward attitude that desires good for others. It is a heart of benevolence, a spirit of kindness, that genuinely seeks others benefit. Kindness is closely related to love in its real desire tod o good for others.

Goodness is the outward expression of kindness of heart. Kindness that remains locked inside the thoughts and feelings of the person is not complete. The Christian’s life and affection is not private. Christianity cannot remain within the walls of the heart, the home or the church. Christianity must be exercised in all places the Christian goes. Though none are saved by good works are who are saved are saved to do good works.

The Holy Spirit also produces faith in the Christian. The fruit of faith is not saving faith but living faith. This is the same faith which the book of Hebrews enjoins when it says, “The just shall live by faith.” (Hebrews 10:38) Faith is the confidence that God exists and rewards those who diligenlty seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) The fruit of faith is the conviction of the truth of God’s Word that responds in trustful obedience to the commands of God.

Meekness is a gentleness of demeanor rooted in humility. While many unsaved remain unruffled in the face of opposition, meekness exceeds mere stoicism. Meekness is built on a fundamental humility. The unflappable may hold his emotions in check, but the meek is truly unoffended by trouble. Meekness is not rash in troubling situations. The meek recognizes the hand of God at work through all situations and humbly submits to God’s good purposes.

The last piece of the fruit of the Spirit is temperance. This is self-control or, more accurately, Spirit control. Though the Christian still resides with his sin corrupted nature, the Holy Spirit actively works to restrain the Christian. God the Spirit dwells within the believer and holds back the evil passions of the old man.

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