Much of what I share today is from a study in my Women’s Study Bible. It blessed me so much, I wanted to share it with you! In Galatians chapter 5, Paul is writing about walking in the Spirit. Verse 16 tells us that when we “walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Then in verses 19-21 he tells us what the works of the flesh are and that if we walk in them we will not inherit the kingdom of God. Note he says, “if we walk in them.” Everyone messes up from time to time, but Paul is talking about a lifestyle of walking in the flesh.
In verses 22-24 Paul tells us what the fruit of the Spirit is. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace , longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Some of you may be wondering what the “fruit of the Spirit” is. The fruit is the Godly attributes of those who “walk in the Spirit.” As the Holy Spirit works in a believer, he or she becomes more and more like Christ in character and actions. Every believer can manifest the fruit of the Spirit, not just the spiritually mature.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit affects the life of a believer in three distinct ways. It affects the believer’s relationship with God, others, and self. As our relationship with the Lord deepens, we begin to develop unselfish love. A love that puts the needs of others before our own. True joy comes as we realize how much Jesus loves us and all the wonderful things He has done for us and desires to give us. We experience lasting peace as we take our eyes off our problems and focus on Jesus. As we begin to build relationships with others, there is the constant challenge to reflect the love of Jesus through patience, kindness and goodness. It is not easy, but as the Holy Spirit manifests Himself through us, we can do it. And lastly, as we mature spiritually we discover an inner strength. This inner strength results in a life characterized by faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is not necessary for salvation, but these godly virtues are evidence of salvation and the change that has taken place in us. The life of Christ is manifested in us by the fruit of the Spirit and the ministry of Christ is accomplished by the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit will never operate as effectively in us as God wants them to until we are manifesting the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. As the Spirit works through us not only do we receive the blessings of God, but we also reflect His character to all whom we encounter.
So the questions we need to ask ourselves today are: What fruit are we bearing? Are we walking in the Spirit or are we fulfilling the lust of the flesh? God has provided the Holy Spirit to enable us to reflect His character, so let’s start walking!