The Fruit of the Spirit
We have looked at the Holy Spirit, His Baptism, and His gifts, and now we want to look at His fruit. Galatians 5 gives us the list of the Holy Spirit's fruit. It is His orchard of righteous living. Like in any garden, a gardener knows that he must dig up the fallow ground. He must remove the obstacles that will hinder any growth. He must plant the seed, and with water and fertilizer and much care, the seed will grow and eventually bear fruit. So too in our lives, we must do exactly the same things.
Yeshua (Jesus) tells the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. He says, "Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. And others fell upon rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil, But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away, and others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty." Yeshua tells His disciples that this was a mystery of His kingdom.
So why is it that we do not see a move of the Spirit today like we saw in the days of Yeshua and His disciples? He quotes Isaiah and tells His disciples that the people's hearts have become dull and their ears scarcely hear and that they have closed their eyes. He says, "If they would understand with their hearts and return (repent), then He would heal them." Well, let's unravel the mystery.
Yeshua explains, "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in the heart." When a man hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no firm root in himself, but only a temporary one, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. There is the man who hears the word and the worries of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Then there is the man in whom the seed was sown on good soil; this man hears the word and understands it and indeed bears fruit, and brings forth a harvest.
Yeshua tells His disciples that he is the vine and we are the branches and apart from him we can do nothing (John 15). So how do we begin to grow the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Let's take a closer look.
The Spirit vs the Flesh
Galatians 5:24 tells us, "Now those who belong to Messiah Yeshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Verse 17 goes on, "For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please." Verse 16: "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." Verse 19 tells us, "The deeds of the flesh are evident, which are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Paul tells the Romans, "Do not be conformed to this world, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." How do we renew our minds? The Psalmist writes in Psalm 19, "The Torah of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much gold; sweeter also than the honey and the drippings of the honeycomb."
Is this not what hindered the seed from growing in Yeshua's parable, the riches and cares of the world, along with the fact that you must be abiding in the word? So let us now look at the fruit of the Spirit.
The Fruit of Life
We find in the fruit of the Spirit the character of God. The first fruit mentioned in Galatians 5 is love. God is love, and we are to love like God. "For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." Paul tells the Corinthians that love was the greatest of all; it is what the rest is built upon. The Law of God can be summed up like this: love God with all your heart and life and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. You can not even go on unless the seed of love has been planted in your heart.
Next is joy: "The joy of the Lord is our strength." Love is our foundation and joy is our strength. We are to serve the Lord with gladness and joy. Paul tells the Philippians to "rejoice in the Lord always."
Then comes peace; peace is what guards our hearts. Paul tells the Philippians, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua."
From here we go to patience, for patience gives us character. Patience is what we need when trials and tribulations come our way. Paul tells the Romans, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about patience (perseverance); and patience, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." James writes, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience (endurance). And let patience (endurance) have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." The writer of the book of Hebrews writes, "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."
Next on the fruit tree are kindness and goodness, and gentleness which comes from the Greek word "chrestotes," which means serviceable, good, pleasant, kindness of heart, goodness in action, upright, to bear gently, and to be gracious. Paul tells the Colossians, "And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity, and let the peace of Messiah rule your hearts to which indeed you were called in one body, and be thankful."
Faithfulness (keeping faith) is our next fruit, and without faithfulness your fruit will never mature because you will not have stayed the course till your fruit matures. The word "faithful" is rendered as "trustworthy" or "loyal." We find examples in the Bible of God's people being faithful, remaining true to God in their service, and loyal to those they work with in the service of the kingdom (Colossians 1:2, 4:7). And Revelation 17:14 tells us, "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen faithful."
Last is self-control. We must have control over ourselves in every area of life. We must deny our flesh, and actually put to death our old self. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us, "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Yeshua the author and perfecter of faith." Galatians 5:25 says, "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."
Just accepting Yeshua as our Lord and Savior is only the beginning; we must be full of His Spirit, using His gifts for the kingdom in service to one another, and growing His seeds in our lives.
Happy gardening, and have a bountiful harvest!