I need to admit I’ve got to learn more than I teach. I know I can only teach what I’ve learned. I don’t have all this together, but I do have an understanding of I can pass onto you.
We picked up a dog on the weekend that is great with the kids, but afraid of me. It’s really testing my patience… anyway, the thought occurred to me that the Father is probably using the dog to teach me more about Him, so I’d better be ready to listen. One of the ways I listen is to meditate on what I know.
Here’s some of what I know about Pastor.
We need to be growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. So how do we do it?
There are 5 truths of the fruit of the Spirit we need to understand and implement into our lives.
- The Fruit Reflects the Goodness of God
- The Fruit is Natural to our Spiritual Nature
- It is Our Choice to Grow in the Fruit of the Spirit
- Growing the Fruit is a Process
- The Holy Spirit Empowers Us
The Fruit Reflects the Goodness of God
When people see the fruit of the Spirit in us, they see the reflection of the Goodness of God. We may not possess these qualities in ourselves, and if we do, they pale at what God will eventually have us reflect.
The moon does not have its own light, but reflects the light of the sun to the part of the world that’s away from the light. There are two things that happen to stop the light from the sun being reflected to the world. They both have to do with the position of the moon.
When the world comes in between the moon and sun whose light it was created to reflect to the part of the world that’s away from the sun, it’s called a lunar eclipse. The shadow of the world covers the face of the moon that reflects the light of the sun.
The moon is also capable of coming in between the sun and the side of the world that is directly receiving its light. The shadow of the moon covers a portion of the earth instead of reflecting the suns light to the side of the world that is away from the sun. We call that a solar eclipse.
However, there is also a time when the moon is in the perfect position to reflect the greatest amount of the light of the sun to the part of the world that is away from the sun. It is the brightest, biggest moon of the year. We happen to call that the “harvest moon”.
The same is true for us. We reflect the goodness of God by choosing to grow the fruit of Spirit that reflects His good nature. It puts us in the position to reflect the greatest amount of His light to the part of the world that is still in darkness.
The Fruit is Natural to our Spiritual Nature
Made in the image of God, we are tripartite beings and have a Spirit, Soul (mind), and Body. The Bible says we are saved (Eph. 2:8) (Spirit), we are being saved (1Cor. 1:18)(Soul) and we shall be saved (Rom. 11:26) (Body)
Galatians 5 makes it clear that there are two natures at work in our body. Since we have crucified our flesh and all its desires (verse) we can keep in step with the Spirit.
When we make Jesus our Lord, our natural being becomes our Spirit. We make our choices based on the word of God and no longer on circumstance or negative feelings. Although we can choose to, we no longer have to live by the works of the flesh.
It is Our Choice to Grow in the Fruit of the Spirit
Some people think the fruit of the Spirit just naturally grows, as an offshoot or sign that we have raised our hand or said a prayer. When it doesn’t happen it’s easy to conclude that our experience was not as profound as we thought at the time.
That kind of thinking is a great way to stay immature.
We have a choice to live by the flesh or live by the Spirit.
It is a choice we begin making by agreeing with what God says about us and declaring who we are in Christ daily or even hourly and then choosing to act in the nature of God (fruit of the Spirit) in a situation-by-situation basis.
Eventually our choice becomes a habit and we begin to naturally work out of the Spirit.
Growing the Fruit is a Process
Fruit grows in the spiritual as it does in the natural. There are places in the same orchard that grow better fruit faster because of soil and amount of direct sunlight.
We start stronger in some areas and weaker in others – but we grow in all. As we make choices, we start habits and soon the habits bring our body and soul in line with our Spirit.
This is “working out our salvation with fear and trembling.”
Theologically it’s known as Sanctification.
Poetically it’s “becoming more like Christ.”
Philosophically it’s “become who we already are.”
Because it’s a process we have patience for ourselves and grace for others. It is difficult at first, and we all make mistakes. But aren’t you glad God has the full measure of the fruit of the Spirit? When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John…)
The Holy Spirit Empowers Us
Whatever God calls us to do, He empowers us to do and provides everything we need to do it His way and in His power.
No one can will himself or herself to have joy over an extended period of time. But it is possible because the Holy Spirit grows joy in us. More than that, the Holy Spirit breaks the yoke off of those with depression when counseling and drugs can’t even work. Maybe we should start with the Holy Spirit?
How Do We Show the Pre-Eminence of Love?
I’ve got to learn to apply the fruit of the Spirit in my relationship with my relationship with our new dog. Is there someone God’s given you to help you become more and more like Him?
Love to know your thoughts. Please comment.
I’m Trevor Lund, a Christian Writer, Pastor