To go through life as a Christian, despite the unfavorable circumstances and challenges, is not an easy task without the Fruit of the Spirit. Life is unpredictable sometimes! You never know when someone is going to bump into you with a hot coffee on hand. And, splash! The temptation to lash out at someone is surely strong. And this is just a superficial day-to-day annoyance. At times, life hits us even harder.
Human as we are, it is difficult for us to remain calm, positive, and kind in these situations. Thus in this article, we are going to explore more on the topic of the Fruit of the Spirit. As taken from the book of Galatians, written by Paul. Let us study this text deeper so that we as an individual, and as a Pastor of a congregation, can grow and influence others to be fruitful.
“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.” – Galatians 5:22-23
What is the Fruit of the Spirit?
This is a biblical term that sums up the nine attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit. The term “fruit” was used to help us understand that these nine attributes are not achieved through our own effort but it is a by-product of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.
The best way to understand this metaphor is to view it as a farmer would. Just as a physical fruit needs time and effort to grow, the fruit of the Spirit does not manifest overnight. It doesn’t mean that since you accepted Christ today, tomorrow, you’d be a totally different person in and out. Like a farmer, we must battle against the weeds and pests first to enjoy the fruit that we desire.
This is a common misunderstanding for new believers who just got out of a crusade, youth camp, revival night, etc. Often leading them to feel frustrated about their lack of growth and sometimes even falling back to their old lives.
“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.” – Mark 4:26-29
In truth, we need to understand that God knows the seasons best. We only need to yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading and wait for our season of growth! As we give the Holy Spirit more control of our lives, instead of our old sinful desires, He begins to do the work He can only do — Transforming our lives to be more like Christ’s.
The 9 Attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit
It is good to note that Galatians 5 did not use the plural word “Fruits” and instead used the singular form, “Fruit” despite referring to 9 attributes. This shows that these attributes are a unified whole and not independent characteristics. As Christians, we must desire all of these 9 attributes. We cannot just pick one we like and disregard another because all of them are of equal importance to our lives.
Let’s look closer at each of the nine attributes and understand the importance of each in our daily Christian lives.
“8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12)
This text shows the importance of love in each believer’s heart. As the source of love, God reminded us how He sent His son from heaven to earth for the redemption of our sins. Jesus showed the best example of what true love is. In turn, His believers must follow the same example.
This is important because we are now the living expressions of God’s love. Through our actions and speech, the world in darkness will come to experience unconditional love. We should understand that we are God’s means to share His love to this earth.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13
With this pandemic around, many of us are isolated and have found little joy in life. Due to social media, people easily become insecure and depressed. The numbers are growing even in the Christian community!
This is the best opportunity for our churches to be reminded of God’s fruit of the Holy Spirit, Joy. Many people feel downcast because they do not see a bright future ahead. But for us, God has declared that we shall overflow with hope as long as we trust in Him. And that hope in our hearts would lead us back to a life full of joy. This joy allows us to see how big our God is over every negative circumstance.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
God did not promise us a life free of problems and challenges, because if He does that we would never have the opportunity to grow and mature. But one thing for sure, as He has declared in this verse, He has overcome the world!
This attribute allows every Christian to be free from anxiety and worry despite the troubles we may be facing. Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to choose to be at peace amidst the chaos of the world. As we connect with God through prayer and devotion, He has a way of easing our minds and reassuring us of His promises.
“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” – Proverbs 14:29
We are living in a fast-paced world where fast food, instants, and ASAPs are a trend. This culture sometimes drives people to easily lose patience in things that actually require time to accomplish. Like building a career, a relationship, or a healthy lifestyle. These things turn out to be of higher importance than those which are easily acquired.
This text in the Bible indeed shows great wisdom. Without patience, one can easily make poor decisions, get you in danger, or even waste your time.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
“Let brotherly love continue. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:1-2
Compared to goodness, kindness is more about being generous and considerate to others. It is how we treat others on a daily basis. Do we still give way for pregnant women and elderly people? Do we still have the heart to share our food with the needy?
This is another trait that is slowly dwindling in our fast-paced world. People do not feel like stopping by another to help. We tend to be selfish. This is why we need to grow in the spirit so we can show the same kindness God has given us. This kindness will allow us to be the salt and light in this world. People will see that we are different and they will come to know Christ.
Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. – Titus 2:14
Goodness is the attribute of being virtuous or morally good. It is our capacity to choose right from what is wrong. This is an attribute that will be very difficult for us without Jesus dying on the cross for us. Our sinful nature naturally draws us to choose what is wrong.
But in this text, Jesus has redeemed us from all wickedness and as a result, allows us to be eager to do what is good. Not because we are good, but because Christ is living in us.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering; for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23
Faithfulness refers to our capacity to be continuously devoted, dedicated, committed, loyal to God. In our daily life, the temptation of sin is attractive. This is why without faithfulness, some of us are in Christ yesterday, but today are not and will be in Christ tomorrow. When in fact, God calls us to be faithful, first and foremost, to Him.
Above anything else, knowing that we have a faithful God allows us to keep our faith without wavering. When we are faithful to a faithful God, only then can we become faithful to other significant people in our lives. We can be faithful to our spouse, our friends, our parents, or our children.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” – Philippians 4:5
More often than not, gentleness is seen as a weakness instead of strength. But in truth, it actually is strength under control. You can be meek and gentle, yet strong. You can be humble, yet are full of authority.
Gentleness promotes peace and unity in the body of Christ. It restores broken spirits and uplifts the destitute. This is why God commands us to evidently show gentleness to all. As the day of Christ’s return draws near, the body of Christ must be more solid than ever.
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.” Titus 2:11-12
The bible has so much to say about the negative effects of lack of self-control. Ultimately, the message is that it leads man to fleshly ungodly lives and to destruction. Without this last attribute of the fruit of the spirit, man can never fight against sin and temptation. This is why self-control as led by the holy spirit is a gift to man.
There is so much in our lives that needs control. And, as we remind ourselves and the people whom God has entrusted us with, we should take time to self-evaluate on which areas we need to say “No” to. Rest assured, with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can triumph over it.
Since growing the fruit of the Spirit requires a process, we must remind our church that God wants us to grow this fruit. This topic is often taught to children in Sunday schools to the point that the congregation feels too familiar with it, yet still lacks it. We often forget that it is our goal to produce this fruit in our lives.
God does not want to save us and yet have miserable lives plunging in and out of sin, in and out of God’s love. So, the best time to start preaching about the fruit of the Spirit is now. Empower your church today with this Fruit of the Spirit Sermons for Pastors.