Traits that identify a follower of Jesus Christ are found in Galatians 5:22-25. Would you please take a minute to review the fruit of the Spirit?
At first glance, we could conclude that the qualities listed in Galatians 5 are impossible to get. But are they?
It’s possible to be like Jesus when there is fruit.
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).
What makes these outcomes of the fruit of the Spirit so radically different from the traits that clean-living, law-abiding people have? This fruit is evident even in the most unguarded, private moments when there is pressure and when others hate us. This is the kind of fruit that Jesus showed even while He was hanging on the cross. In the dying moments of His life—as the Roman soldiers, jealous religious leaders and angry mob looked on—Jesus uttered “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” This is amazing fruit!
Reflect on the nine fruit of the Spirit. Are you ready to give up trying to produce them? How much do you want them to be qualities in your life?
It’s possible to be like Jesus when there is death.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24).
Consider the first of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
In more specific terms, the fruit of the Spirit cannot be generated by our own willpower or inner goodness. In fact, the doorway to spiritual life is marked “death”. Our flesh includes our human frailties, passions and selfish ambitions. These must be put to death on the cross with Christ—before His life can be exhibited through us.
One of our problems is that we fail to understand the holiness and perfection of God. He is completely without sin and unblemished in any way! The Bible says that we are all sinners and that none of us deserves to go to heaven. Because we were all born with sin in our hearts and have broken at least one of the Ten Commandments, we are all destined for eternity outside of God’s presence.
The good news is that God has come up with a plan to ensure that we can spend eternity with Him starting here on earth and in heaven after our life here on earth is over!
There is only one man in human history that was without sin—Jesus Christ. What looked like an unjust act of betrayal, false accusation and murder was actually the plan of God being fulfilled. When Jesus was crucified on the cross on our behalf, He took upon Himself the sin of each person who accepts Him.
Those who accept Christ’s death on the cross have put the old life [separation from God and human effort to bring spiritual results] behind them. Are you one of these people?
It’s possible to be like Jesus when there is life.
The New Testament was originally written in the Greek language. It is interesting to note that the same Greek word that Paul uses here for “Spirit” can also be used for “breath” or “wind”. The key to a fruitful life is not simply to try harder; the starting point is to rely upon the Holy Spirit just like you would rely upon the air that you breathe for life.
Years ago my son, Braden, and I were trying out a kite that he had been given. First, we tried flying it in the yard surrounded by tall trees. There was not enough breeze. And what little breeze there was, the tall trees were blocking. It wasn’t until we got into an open field [away from the obstructions] that the kite was able to ride on the breeze.
What obstructions prevent you from being carried higher by the wind of the Holy Spirit? Have you given up trying to be a loving, joyful and peaceful person? The moment you reach this conclusion is the moment the Holy Spirit can begin to live through you.
Maybe you have sent a card or phoned someone and they replied, “That was just what I needed. Thank you.” Those were more than just coincidences. They were times when the Holy Spirit has seen what a person needs and has spoken to someone else to meet that need.
The Lord is calling us to:
- Slow down, simplify our lives as much as possible and let Him renew our strength.
- Watch and listen for where He is going and go there with Him.
Becoming a godly person begins with recognizing our source.