Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fruit of the Spirit

Fruit of the Spirit – Part 1

This article will lay the ground work as to why we need the Fruit of the Spirit, some basic foundation that will set the stage for us to meditate on each virtue in detail in the coming articles.

Gal 5:22-23 NLT
 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
ஆவியின் கனியோ, அன்பு, சந்தோஷம், சமாதானம், நீடியபொறுமை, தயவு, நற்குணம், விசுவாசம், சாந்தம், இச்சையடக்கம்; இப்படிப்பட்டவைகளுக்கு விரோதமான பிரமாணம் ஒன்றுமில்லை.

Point1: The Fruit of the Spirit and not Fruits.
It is singular and not plural. So if anyone says fruits of the Spirit, please correct them humbly. So what does that mean to us? All the 9 virtues mentioned under the Fruit of the Spirit, we must exhibit. We cannot say, today I will show love and joy and tomorrow Self-control. It doesn’t work that way. As a child of God, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, you and I are called to reveal all these 9 virtues in our day to day walk. Is it easy? Of course not! But is it possible? Absolutely yes!

Point2: Gifts Versus Fruit
Paul mentions about the gifts of the Spirit in 1Cor 12:4-11 NKJV
Message of wisdom, message of knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues.

a.       What is the difference between the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit? There are actually 9 gifts of the Spirit. The Gifts of the spirit is plural. That means you need not have all the nine gifts to be an effective Christian. These are distributed by the Spirit to each one as he determines (1 Cor 2:11). The Lord determines what gift each one must have. In verse 31 we read, ‘Now eagerly desire the greater gifts’. We must all desire or seek or ask for these gifts but the Spirit gives it to us. It is a gift. All we have to do is open in faith and use it. Imagine the gifts under the Christmas tree. We just open it and use it. We must operate the gifts the Lord has given us.
But the Fruit of the Spirit must be cultivated. A fruit is produced only after much pruning. Before we go too far on this, I want to make it very clear that is not our work that produces the fruit. It is His spirit that produces the fruit in us. Fruit of the Spirit is not works based Christianity. It is the mark of a mature Christian.
Derek Prince says it in this way “There is a difference in kind between gifts and fruit. This may be illustrated by comparing a Christmas tree with an apple tree. A Christmas tree carries gifts. Each gift is attached to it by a single act and received from it by a single act. No time or effort is required of the person receiving the gift. On the other hand, there is both time and hard work required to cultivate an apple tree. To produce fruit, it must go through a series of stages that takes several years.”

b.      Why we need both? Why the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write about both about the gifts and the Fruit of the Spirit and not just one? The answer is simple - both are essential for our Christian living - to be an effective Christian.

Point3: Why we need the Fruit of the Spirit?
1.       It is expected of you as the Father invests in you. Fruit is the result of some work – we say fruit of the labor, fruit of the womb. We work for a month and we get paid. That’s the fruit of our labor. Same way God is working in us, and it is His expectation that we produce fruit.

Luke 13:6-9  Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any.  So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’  “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.  If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

In this parable, the owner is the Father and the gardener is Jesus. He is interceding for you even today. The fertilization that is talked in this parable can refer to the many sermons we hear, many bible studies we do etc. In the place of 3 years, substitute the years you have been saved and read it again. Are you producing fruit?

2.       It brings glory to the Father
 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. John 15:8

3.       Others will know us by our fruit.
Matt 7:20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
The fruit is what attracts others to us and eventually to Jesus. The fruit is evident in the inner circle of friends, work place, at home etc. When we operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit but do not exhibit the fruit of the spirit we become a hindrance to our brothers and sisters. We are becoming as stumbling stones for those who look to us. They begin to think ‘she is so anointed on stage, but how come she does not love? How come she is not patient?’.  We become as hypocrites to the world. So let us be very careful that our fruit is evident.

Point4: How do we produce the Fruit of the Spirit? By abiding in Him.

John 15:4-5 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “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.

Col 2:7 NLT
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him

It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jer 17:8

When all goes well, anyone can bear fruit. But even in times of drought, are we murmuring or producing fruit? We can bear fruit even in times of drought, even in adversity, if our roots are deep in Him. The peace in the midst of storm, the joy we possess in the midst of sickness or job loss is what attracts the world to Jesus. I want the Joy you have, I want the Peace you have – and this opens a door for us to share the gospel.

Let us bear much fruit and bring glory to the Father.