You may have authentic faith if… you display the Spirit’s fruit (Galatians 5:22–26).
Welcome to Day Four of our series of “You may have authentic faith if …” Today, I will talk about the fruits of the Spirit. The apostle Paul used the word “fruit” for our Christian character. Most of us have heard the saying, “First impressions are important.” What we display to others, is what they will think about us.
Earlier in Day Three, I talking about love, the first fruit of the Spirit. Without love, the others do not exist. The fruits of the Spirit are our Christian character. You should not have to tell anyone you are a Christian. People will know you are a Christian by your fruit (Matthew 7:20). The nine fruits of the Spirit, divided up into three different and unique categories.
HABITS OF THE MIND
Habits of the mind start the first set of the nine fruits or virtues. They find their source in God.
- Love (agape): Many additional words, phrases, and definitions exist for the word love. In our Christian character, we want to show agape or the God-kind of love toward others. As I mentioned, love is listed first and the foundation for the other fruits. God is love and He loves the world (1 John 4:8, John 3:16). If God did not love us, He would have not sent His Son, Jesus, to die in our place. We call that self-sacrificing love. As Jesus told His disciples, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13).
- Joy (chara): It is a deep and abiding inner rejoicing promised to us who abide or accept Christ as Lord and Savior (John 15:11). Joy does not depend on any circumstances as it rests in God’s sovereign control of all things (Romans 8:28).
- Peace (eirene): Jesus gave us the gift of peace. It is a relaxation and quietness inside of us, even when we face adversity. It defies human understanding (Philippians 4:7).
REACHING OUT TO OTHERS
Reaching out to others continues the next set of the nine fruits or virtues of the Spirit, fortified by the first three of love, joy, and peace.
- Patience (makrothymia): The quality of forbearance or mercy under provocation or frustration. Having patience will allow you to not entertain any thoughts of retaliation when others treat you wrong, are different, or bully you physically, mentally, and emotionally. We are not to repay evil with evil (Romans 12:17), but we are to conquer or overcome evil by doing good (Romans 12:21).
- Kindness (chrestotes): It is an all-loving action as God revealed towards everyone. Since God’s kindness is shown towards sinners (Romans 5:8), as Christians, we should display the same virtue to everyone.
- Goodness (agathosyne): This virtue may be thought of both as uprightness or honor of the soul. An example would be showing honesty in the face of adversity or peer pressure. The other is an action such as reaching out to others to do some good for them. An example of this would be doing good for people that do not deserve it.
Therefore, God is Good and showed His goodness by sending Jesus to die for us (John 3:16) when we were sinners (Romans 5:8). That is called “unmerited favor.” We do not deserve it and never will. Only God’s love and goodness make it happen.
THE BELIEVERS CODE OF CONDUCT
The last set of virtues or fruits of the Spirit are used as a guideline for our general conduct as believers.
- Faithfulness (pistis): It is the virtue that makes a person trustworthy or reliable. A really good example of faithfulness is in Luke 16:10-12. If you are faithful in little things then you will be faithful in large things. If you are untrustworthy in the world’s wealth, then why would anyone trust you with the riches in heaven. Not faithful with another person’s belongings, why should you be trusted with belongings of your own?
- Gentleness (prautes): It describes a person who is obedient to God’s Word (James 1:21). A person that is obedient to God’s Word has it planted in their hearts, and the Word has the power to save souls. Correct a brother or sister in Christ in a respectful and gentle way with love and compassion (1 Peter 3:16).
- Self-Control (enkrateia): It mainly relates to controlling the flesh side or sinful nature. Even though we have our spiritual person inside of us, we still have our sinful nature. As long as we continue obedience to God and His Word, we can get that sinful nature part of us under control. Self-control is impossible to attain apart from the Spirit. You cannot obtain self-control on your own power as it all comes from the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16)
Remember, the flesh cannot produce any of these nine fruits of the Spirit. The way these fruits grow in your life is through cultivation and allowing them to grow in your life. If you have authentic faith, these fruits will continue to grow in your life through maturing in faith through love, Amen!
I am Dale Van De Bogart and I approve of this message!
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