The fruit of the Spirit Part 1
Updated: Aug 2, 2022
I have been blessed recently to hear three of our recent speakers mention the fruit of the spirit (FOTS), notably the sister who correctly identified the FOTS in the character of the Shunamite woman. As you all know we find the FOTS in Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
As we consider the FOTS you will begin to see that what we are really looking at is the character of God. The Lord wants us to become Christ-like and therefore it is essential that we know what the character of Jesus is like, so we know what we are aiming at in our own lives.
Popular Misconceptions about the Fruit of the Spirit
There are a couple of popular misconceptions about the FOTS where we find in Galatians 5:22-23. The Greek word for fruit is karpos (also see John 15:1-8) is singular and therefore it is incorrect to refer to the fruits of the spirit. Rather, the idea conveyed by the expression ‘fruit’ is that of a blended whole and not nine separate items. The blended whole is love which expresses itself in various ways:
Love is Joy.
Love is Peace.
Love is Longsuffering (if your translation says patience then it is less accurate). Patience is standing on a cold, wet night at bus stop and waiting an hour for your bus. Longsuffering is the same but with someone poking you with a stick, but you do not respond to the poking!
Love is Gentleness.
Love is Goodness.
Love is Faith and Faithfulness
Love is Meekness.
Love is Temperance (self-control)
Sometimes we can spot the fruit of FOTS in people just like the sister did with the Shunamite woman. Fruit spotting is a lovely hobby!
So how can we understand what a blended whole means?
a] If you drink a tropical fruit punch your will be able to recognise the various flavours pineapple, mango, grapefruit etc. Love is the fruit punch, but you can taste or recognise its components the joy, peace etc.
b] Think of what causes a rainbow. When white light (the sunlight) shines through a raindrop (the drop acts as a prism) it is separated into red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The colours in the rainbow merge so that it has hard to tell where one ends and another begins, so with the fruit of the spirit. The love (like the white light) is shed abroad in our hearts (acting like a prism) by the Holy Spirit and as it passes through us the love is split into its component parts such as joy, peace, faithfulness etc. which can be seen in our lives.
Romans 5:5 tells us that as the Holy Spirit sheds the Love of Christ into our hearts, the love then enters our souls and the FOTS is produced.
The Holy Spirit is reproducing the life/the character of Christ in us. This process involves our obedience both to the written word and to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Word and the Spirit work together.
In John 15:1-8 is a fruit-filled portion of scripture.
Jesus is the vine; the Father is the gardener, and we are the branches. The Holy Spirit is the sap (liquid love that is pumped into hearts and through us) that causes leaves, flowers, and fruit to appear in our lives. We can hinder this process by disobeying the word of God i.e. sins such as, selfishness, unforgiveness etc. are like ligatures/blockages that stop the flow of love out to others. Abiding in the vine (which means walking close to the Lord in obedience) allows a steady flow of the liquid love that produces the FOTS. Spiritual fruit as with natural fruit takes time to develop. Fruit in the natural sense (think apples and oranges) contains the seeds for reproduction. When an unbeliever tastes or sees the FOTS in your life, a seed of love is sown in their hearts which God can bring to life. This in effect is love reproducing love.
Just in closing the Greek word for love in Galatians 5:22 is agape which became the characteristic/defining word of Christianity. The Holy Spirit brought new meaning to this word. Agape love is the love of God himself and is selfless and seeks to do good to all men, but especially to God's children.
So, as the Holy Spirit sheds his agape love into your heart, let this love flow unhindered from your heart, into your soul and be transformed into the FOTS that others will taste.
It is all about love!
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