57. Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith. —Galatians 5:22
If a farmer taped artificial apples to the trees in his orchard, it might look good at a distance; but no one would be fooled for long. Genuine fruit is produced from within. We don’t need artificial attitudes or synthetic personality traits. We need the genuine love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 5:16-26 is all about walking with Jesus Christ by means of the Holy Spirit. Verses 16, 18, and 25 tell us to live by the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit, and to keep in step with the Spirit. We can walk with Jesus just as surely as the two disciples did in Luke 24; but now it’s via His ever-present Spirit. As we do this, there are two results:
- We minimize our faults (vv. 16-21). When we live by the Spirit, we won’t gratify the desires of the sinful nature, and we’ll be increasingly able to overcome the lusts of the flesh, which are listed in this passage.
- We maximize our fruits (vv. 22-23). When we live by the Spirit, we’ll begin to develop nine attitudes that make up the Christian personality, and these are listed in verses 22-23 as the “fruit of the Spirit.” These traits describe perfectly the personality of Jesus of Nazareth. It’s a description of His character. If you had to make a list of nine words to describe Jesus, this would be the list. The only way to develop more love, joy, peace, and all the rest is to abide in Him.
When God created the world, He built the same patterns and principles into both the physical and spiritual realms. That’s why we can illustrate spiritual truths with physical realities like trees and grapevines.
- Psalm 1 says that when we meditate on Scripture we’re like fruit trees planted by rivers of water.
- The writer of Psalm 52 compared himself to an olive tree in the house of God.
- Psalm 92 likens us to trees that still bear fruit in old age and who stay fresh and green.
- Jeremiah 17 says that when we trust in the Lord we’re like trees planted by the water, the leaves of which are always green even in drought times.
- The blind man who Jesus healed said at first that he saw people like trees walking.
- Jesus used a slightly different analogy when He said in John 15 that we’re like branches connected to the grapevine of Himself.
- Galatians 5:22-23 compares us to grapevines that should be bearing fruit if the sap of the Holy Spirit is flowing unhindered through our branches.
Every time we say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” we mean that we believe there is a living God able and willing to enter human personality and change it. —J. B. Philips
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