Fruits of the Holy Spirit
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control …24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Love …joy …peace …forbearance …kindness …goodness …faithfulness …gentleness … and self-control.
These words have power, these specific intangibles, the fruit of the Holy Spirit express the type of people we are supposed to be, as Christians who have accepted the Holy Spirit into our hearts. Seems simple enough, right? Maybe at face-value, they seem fully accomplishable, and frankly, anyone can easily live a life reflecting three or four of these traits at any given time. But all of them, all the time? That is a different story. But, that is what it means to keep in step with the spirit.
So, how do we walk this out? I only need to look at the verses directly above this one to see what it looks like to live a life absent of these fruits. “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like…” (Galatians 5: 19-21)
That covers a lot of thoughts and actions. Yes, thoughts matter. Take pornography: it is impure thought, promoting impure actions. Yes, those are real actors being paid to commit real sexual acts for the pleasure of the viewer.
Or how about envy and jealousy? Have you ever coveted your friend’s home (boat, car, wardrobe, income)? Those are thoughts of the flesh.
Hatred, discord, and dissension are all sins of thought, that can result in sins of the flesh. Some Christians are known for hating entire groups of people; consider the heated topic in the church concerning the LGBT community. Many Christians profess to hate the person. Jude 1:22-23 tells us to “be merciful to those who doubt, save others by snatching them from the fire: to others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by the corrupted flesh.” Nowhere does it say anything about hating the sinner.
Think idolatry and witchcraft don’t affect you? Wrong. Some well-meaning Christians participate in areas of witchcraft and idolatry without even realizing it. In my former life immersed in the flesh world, I owned a spa. I became certified in Reiki, a technique claiming to transfer universal (Rei) life force (ki) energy to a client for healing and restoration. At the surface, it seems harmless, but it calls me to suspend my faith in God as my creator. The symbols used to conjure these forces are connected to ancient Japanese evil spirits. Further, Reiki students and practitioners must undergo initiations, called ‘attunements’ or so-called sacred rites, as they climb the ladder to becoming a Reiki Master. That sounds like a cult, even the occult to me! That is only one of many examples I can offer from the world of “alternative healing”.
A life bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit requires intentional, mindful living. We must take captive our every thought, our every urge, keeping our eyes wide open and on only our Saviour. We must protect our hearts, always proceeding with caution. If anything does not point directly to The Trinity and reflect Christ, it is not a fruit of the Spirit.
Are you up for the challenge of walking out a life that demonstrates only the fruits of the Spirit? I am! Lord, guide me as I endeavor to live a life rich in the fruits of the Spirit, always reflecting You.