Day 1: The Fruit of the Spirit
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Welcome to the 21 Days of Prayer, January 2021. In the next three weeks we are going to take time to unpack what it means to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in our lives - for ourselves and His harvest. It’s one thing to talk or to cognitively understand what the fruit of the Spirit is, but it’s another thing for it to be from the overflow of our lives. Granted, on this side of heaven, things are tough. We have bad days. We yell at our kids out of anger and pain. We ignore important priorities because of life’s demands. We think a bad thought about the person who cut us off on the highway. We argue with a friend, spouse and or co-worker. Whatever it is, fill in the blank. We just have bad days, months, and sometimes years. Not to mention the added burden and sorrow that is often associated with this COVID pandemic.
When we read about the “fruit of The Spirit'' in Gal. 5, we learn about a cluster of different attributes that indicate what a life lived by the Spirit is; and let's be honest--- they seem IMPOSSIBLE to achieve. I wish we could see the Christians of Galatia’s response to this letter from Paul. I wonder if their response was one of unbelief. Who can live out the fruit traits all of the time?! But that’s the point: we can’t, at least not on our own.
Friends, living a life of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, was always made to be a bi-product of God’s spirit flowing from your life. The fruit also comes in a bundle pack. These attributes work together as a perfect expression of His nature and love.
So, where does that leave us? How do we facilitate this life lived by the Spirit in order to produce the fruit?
I believe Paul answers this question in verse 25, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
If you’ve ever been on a walk with a friend or spouse or even children, in order to commune and connect with that person, you must keep the pace with the other person(s). Like any human relationship, I believe God is calling us to stay in step with Him. By remaining at His pace, we both learn from Him and cultivate and nurture the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
So the next time we express characteristics opposite of the Spirit fruit, allow this to be an indicator that most likely we are “off” and out of step with Him. Don’t allow lies of shame and guilt to turn you away from the Lord; instead, let your sinful nature be a “red flag” that you just need more of Him! Take the time you need to connect with Him so that you can hear His voice of acceptance, approval, love, conviction, direction, comfort, or even just silence.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to show or reveal to you the places you have been “out of step” from Him. Perhaps you already know the answer. If so write it down.
- In Gal. 5:7, Paul writes, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” Like the Galatian Christians, perhaps there was something or someone who distracted you from your race in the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if there’s anything or anyone keeping you from following Jesus with your full life.
- If ready, repent or turn back to Jesus from the direction you’ve been going. Perhaps you’ve run ahead or away from Him. Or perhaps you’re dragging your feet in the past and He’s asking you to come forward to follow Him. Whatever it is, take your next step and return to Him.
- Lastly, ask the Holy Spirit for His fruit to flow from your life for yourself and others. Ask Him boldly for His love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and see how God wants to show up in you today!
Thank you for the oft needed reminder that I cannot exhibit the fruits of the Spirit on my own strength!
Beautifully written message on the Fruit of the Spirit. Helpful, and clearly presented.
Thank you for today's devotional. It is indeed ONLY by the filling of the Holy Spirit that these fruits will flow out of our lives. In the flesh, our own sinfulness seeps out through the cracks of our best efforts to show forth those qualities. For me, it's a matter of breathing in and out all the day long - breathing out my sinful thought or initial response and breathing in the Spirit, the LIVING GOD, Who lives within me so that He controls what comes out. It is very much a team effort that we are privileged to have. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer i who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which i now live in the flesh i live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Gal. 2:20