Monday, October 13, 2014

How do you want to be known?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law…  Galatians 5:22-23

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 20:11 that even a child is known by his doings, whether his actions are pure and right.  Whether we like it or not, we will get a reputation by how we act, how we treat others, by the friends we associate with, and by the activities we participate in.  It is true that character and reputation are not synonymous, because reputation is what men think you are while character is what God knows you are. The character of a person can be defined by the fruits they show in their life. 

What are the Fruits of the Spirit? 
When my kids were younger I used to tell them that the Fruits of the Spirit are the good things that come out of our lives when Jesus is in our lives.  When we have a relationship with Jesus as our Savior, there should be a difference in our life.  People who know us should be able to see that difference, as well as strangers we meet every day.  It is not just a matter of becoming a Christian, it is a matter of having a relationship with Jesus – praying, studying the Bible and growing daily in our relationship with Him.  When we neglect our relationship, the fruit doesn’t grow, much like a plant you might forget to water.  The plant will not produce much fruit if you don’t feed it.  We need that daily refreshing and filling of the Spirit to keep ourselves in line.  It is hard enough when we are prayed up and ready for whatever Satan throws at us to have control over our words and actions and keep them God honoring.  It is so much harder when we are out of fellowship with Jesus.  We need to pray and saturate ourselves daily with God’s word and ask Him to cover us with His grace that we can extend to others. This grace and so much more will come out when the fruits of the Spirit are evident in our lives.

Fruit is used a lot in the Bible in comparison to what we produce in our lives.  It can be good fruit or bad fruit.  When we walk in the flesh, we produce rotten fruit, but walking in the Spirit will produce life giving sustenance.  God is the master gardener and Jesus says in John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  When we draw from Him, we can bear lots of fruit and Jesus can use us for His glory in this broken world. 

When we have committed our life to Jesus and live to please Him, the natural result in our lives will be choices that reflect Him. Fruit.  What is the fruit on a plant you have been pruning and watering and caring for?  The fruit is the reward.  The fruit of the spirit is the reward for living a life that is faithful and diligent.  It is a reward to have fruit in your life and to be known for it.  The glory certainly does not go to us but a life filled with fruit is much more rewarding than a life that is not filled with fruit.  The Spirit inside us contradicts our old sinful nature.  Living a life in our old sinful nature that is not obedient and God honoring will certainly bring more pain and struggles than we have to endure. There will be fruit, but not good fruit.  It will be fruit that reflects our old sin nature.  When we have the Holy Spirit, we produce fruit that reflects His nature.  The fruit happens because of Him and for Him and for us as well.

This week we will look at the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.   Of course we are human and cannot exhibit all these attributes, all the time.  This week open yourself up to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to produce more good fruit in your life and to destroy the opposing sinful nature. 

Scripture to Claim:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 

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