Fruit of the Spirit
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Introduction: Fruit of the Spirit
Turn in your Bible to Galatians 5:22. This is a relatively familiar verse. Ask any child fresh out of a bible-learning programвЂ”Bible School, years of Sunday School and Awana, whateverвЂ”to name the fruit of the Spirit, and they can probably tell you. вЂњThe fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.вЂќ They can recite those words with huge smiles on their faces, ticking them off on their fingers and expecting to be rewarded for remembering all seven. Most adults can probably name at least five or six of the вЂњfruits of the Spirit.вЂќ
Or, if you, like me, are a former attendee of GA (Girls in Action) or presumably RA (Royal Ambassadors) camp, you can sing a little song to come up with all seven. вЂњвЂ™Cause the fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.вЂќ This is in response to the statement that the вЂњfruit of the spiritвЂ™s not aвЂ¦.вЂќ fruit of choice. The ones coming to mind at the moment are вЂњwatermelonвЂќ and вЂњcherryвЂќ simply because I can remember the motions that go along with them. Of course, if you want to be either a watermelon or a cherry, вЂњYou might as well hear it: you canвЂ™t be a fruit of the Spirit.вЂќ This song can go on for quite some time, especially if the camp counselors are trying to stall and entertain a large crowd of girls who are about to beat down the doors to the lunch hall if they arenвЂ™t fed soon.
HereвЂ™s the thing, though: if youвЂ™re still ticking off seven вЂњfruitsвЂќ of the SpiritвЂ”regardless of whether or not you have a handy song to go along with itвЂ”youвЂ™re missing the picture. Read Galatians 5:22 again. вЂњFor the fruit of the Spirit isвЂ¦.вЂќ One fruit, all the product of the same tree. One Holy Spirit, who will give all of these things to each and every one of us.
Turn to John 15:1-8. Jesus tells us several crucial things here.
Jesus is the vine and the Father is the gardener. He will prune away the branches that are not bearing fruit, but for the ones that are, he will provide everything they needвЂ”sunlight, fertilizer, a strong wall to climb upвЂ”on order to flourish and produce even more fruit.
This one is important: Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. With him, there is no limit to the fruit we can produce. Without him, we can do nothing. For us to produce this fruit, we have to be relying on him every day. Without him, we canвЂ™t even come close.
All of the fruit we bearвЂ”no matter how small it may seem to us at the timeвЂ”is for the glory of God. We arenвЂ™t bearing fruit to make ourselves look good, or to have bragging rights later. We bear fruit to glorify the kingdom of God and draw others to him.
If your heart is in the right place, your focus on God, all seven aspects of the fruit of the Spirit will be a natural outpouring of what is in your heart. Read Matthew 7:15-20 and Luke 6:43-45. A good treeвЂ”a person with his or her heart taken over by the power of the Holy SpiritвЂ”will as a matter of course bear good fruit. A bad tree, on the other hand, will never be able to produce anything that is bad and pure, and the deeper the rot goes, the more vile the fruit will be. Consider what happens to fruit when it gets too wet, with no attention from the gardener: it rots on the vine before it even has a chance to ripen.
I have a good friend who grew up in a вЂњChristianвЂќ home with some of the most hypocritical parents I have ever met. On the outsideвЂ”at church, within the communityвЂ”they were seen as good, Christian people. They went through all the motions, made it appear that they were doing all the right things, and were even highly esteemed within the church. That image, however,