Galatians 5:22-23. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
In Galatians 5:22-23 we are given the most beautiful metaphor for the life of Christ in us – fruit. The fruit of the Spirit.
Why fruit? Because fruit grows naturally, not mechanically. Simply put, you cannot try harder to produce more fruit of the Spirit. No amount of resolution, no doubling down on your efforts can make it grow. The fruit of the Spirit is the natural result of trusting in the life of Christ, receiving his finished work, and his unconditional love. The Spirit’s fruit comes only by trusting Jesus death for you more and more, not by doing more and more for Jesus.
But it is important for us to understand that although we cannot force the fruit of the Spirit to grow, we can prevent its growth. How? By resisting grace and grieving the Spirit. We can choose to live by the flesh rather than by faith. Even though we are free in Christ, it is possible for us to run back to the slavery of law keeping (5:1). And who among us hasn’t done this?
But Christ’s love in us always wins. His life always breaks through. Why? Because that is what all seeds do. They grow. Slowly. Gradually. Even painfully. And like a plant in your garden, you can’t see the growth by staring at it. In the same way, we will never see our own spiritual growth by focusing on our own spiritual growth. In fact, focusing on your own spiritual growth easily turns into more “works of the flesh.” Instead, we must be focused on Christ alone. His cross. His sacrifice. His love. His life.
That’s what the fruit of the Spirit is – Christ’s life lived out in us. His character expressed through us.
Notice also how Paul calls it the fruit, singular, of the Spirit. One fruit. Why? Because when we have the Spirit of Christ in us we have all of his character at once. We don’t have Christ in pieces. We don’t get his love without his gentleness. Or his peace without his self-control. Jesus in you is one piece of fruit. His whole life flowing from all of his love. And against such things there is no law?
Christian, if we have to work for God’s love, then we will never have love as a fruit. If we never receive his unconditional love, we will never be free to love the same way. But if we stop resisting God’s love for us in Christ, and wholeheartedly receive it, then we will see the true fruit of his love in our lives.
Christ’s love will produce a joy that replaces hopelessness.
A peace that replaces worry.
A patience that replaces resentment.
A kindness that replaces envy.
A goodness that replaces indifference.
A faithfulness that replaces passivity.
A gentleness that replaces both inferiority and superiority.
And a self-control that replaces impulsivity.
“To live is Christ” is to grow from a seed into fruit. It’s gradual and unstoppable. Difficult and delightful. And it is a growth that comes by faith alone. Faith in Christ’s love as the seed placed into the soil of our hearts, and faith in Christ’s love as the fruit of our lives. Lives that are learning to depend more and more on his grace.
In what ways are you rejecting Christ’s love for you?
You in Christ?
How does knowing that the seed of Christ in you will never stop growing encourage you?
Christ in you
Have you had anyone tell you lately that they can see you growing in Christ?
Playlist: Fruit of the Spirit.
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