But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
– Galatians 5:22-23
I wanted to share today about the Fruit of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. If we allow the Spirit to live in our lives, to live His Life through us, we will become more like Jesus, (2 Cor 3:18 and Romans 12:2), and incidentally we will also become the people we should always have been. (On an individual level, this means you becoming more the person you always wanted to be!) That is, good, decent people who live in the power of the Kingdom on a daily basis, loving God and loving others. In short, we exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit.
So, how do we grow this fruit in our lives? The really interesting thing is that, just like soaring on wings like eagles, it is really effortless. You only need to spend time walking with Jesus in order for this fruit to appear virtually without you noticing it. The really odd thing about this fruit is that it usually takes others to recognise it; we generally do not recognise it in ourselves, unless we one day look back at how far we have come, and how much we have changed. And even then it comes as a surprise.
C. S. Lewis once wrote a similar thing about the quality of ‘humility’ (which does not mean being all mousey and submissive, but instead means having gentleness combined with strength). Here’s what he wrote:
“Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody.
“Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.
“If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
– C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
“…he will not be thinking about himself at all.” That’s the key. It’s probably why he doesn’t notice the Fruit in his own life; he’s looking to God and outwards to others, and not at himself at all.
And let me tell you something else: the Fruit of the Spirit is the strongest and most compelling evidence for the work of God’s Grace in the believer’s life. I can think of many people I know, from homeless people ministered to by our Church, to members of my own family, whose lives have been radically infused with the Fruit of the Spirit. They didn’t try for this to happen; they didn’t strive for perfection; they didn’t suddenly decide one day to start following a set of rules or adopt a certain formula. They just walked with Jesus, and the Fruit appeared naturally all of its own accord.
And that’s the way it should be. Walk with Jesus, and you will become the person you always wanted to be, and that you always should have been. And you’ll bear the Fruit of the Spirit.
Which is no bad thing….