The View From Here

The Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 1): God's Grow List

What is the fruit of the Spirit?  Galatians 5:22 might come to mind.  If you are able, turn to your neighbor and list the fruit of the Spirit (without looking it up). God did not intend this as a "do list," but a "grow list."  The fruit of the Spirit is something that happens as a result of God working in your life.  There is something we are called to "do."  Read on, in the first of this 10-part series, to learn "how" God plans to grow fruit in your life.  
 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Gal.5:22-23 CSB)
First, all who truly believe in Jesus Christ will bear fruit at some point in their lives.  There may be fruitful seasons and barren seasons, but this fruit is the result of faith in Jesus Christ.  Next, fruit does not just "happen" by itself.  Followers of Jesus are to be involved in "good works," so that they don't end up being "unfruitful" (Titus 3:14).  But it is not just good works that does it.  Jesus says "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Fruit is also a result of being "plugged in" to Jesus.  A lamp has no light unless it is plugged in. Are you plugged in to Jesus? Many claim to follow Jesus, but their lives do not show it. If you belong to God, then you are his work zone.  He has a new purpose for you. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). 
 
You cannot have a fruitful life if you are not in a relationship with Jesus. He has a plan for you, and wants to use you. You cannot be fruitful if you refuse the job He has prepared for you. Are you doing what God has prepared for you to do? Take some time and take your plans before God.
 
Next week we will begin to look at the fruit of the Spirit, listed in Galatians 5:22-23.
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Walking with Jesus

The walk with Jesus results in true freedom. In Galatians, Paul writes to believers who were "running well," but something "cut in," on their  walk of faith (5:7).  The path of faith borders two worlds.  One world says faith is not enough, and you need to do more. The other world says faith in Christ takes care of it all, so what you do now doesn't matter.  The first world leads to the chains of legalism.  The second world leads back to the chains of sinful practice.  Both deny the price of the cross and the power of the resurrection. Jesus calls us to walk this path of faith without reverting to the old ways of sin or legalism.  Read on about where Jesus is leading.
 
The path Jesus leads us on does not lead to a life of rule following. There are people who claim to follow Jesus, but have a "better way." They are more concerned about the outward appearance than about heart-condition. Legalism denies the sufficiency of Jesus' death. In Galatians, Paul explains that rule following was not intended to make us better, but teaches us that we need help (3:24). Salvation comes by agreeing with the law's teaching and then believing in Jesus.
 
And yet, just because Jesus freed you from sin's penalty does not mean you can go on in the old practice of sinning. On the contrary, Paul argues that you are not able to. You see, as a believer in Jesus, you are given His Spirit, called the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit has several different jobs in the life of a believer, one of which is to mark you out as belonging to Jesus (Eph. 1:13-14). In Galatians 5, Paul says the Holy Spirit also frustrates your ability to keep on sinning.  It happens in this way, the Holy Spirit gives you new desires.  Of course you will have the old "fleshly" desires to "please yourself," but you will not be able to simply please yourself as you once did (v.17).  You will have two sets of desires at war within you (Rom. 7:23; cf. Jas. 4:1). You cannot truly believe in Jesus and keep on sinning as though nothing happened. Salvation results in you being changed, transformed, reborn, given new life (thus new desires) (Titus 3:5).  
 
So as you walk the road of faith, recognize that you have left these two things behind: legalism and sinful practice.  You leave the law behind because you learned the lesson taught by the law: you are a helpless sinner in need of a Savior.  You leave behind sinful practice because you have been transformed by the indwelling Spirit of Christ and have new desires and motives at work within you.  
 
Walk forward in faith in the freedom Christ has secured for you and deposited in you through His Spirit.
 
Paul says that the fruit of this new life is "of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22). This fruit is the sign that you are walking the path of faith. Over the next 9 weeks, we will take a look at each part of this fruit.  These qualities will become evident in your life as you "walk in the Spirit."
 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23 NAU)
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