As we walk with God, so the Spirit of God works in us our lives demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. Since God is love, our character becomes transformed to express His love. When looking to see if God is at work many are distracted by the spectacular and miraculous. These extraordinary things are often seen in the gifts of the Spirit. These are good, but God is far more interested in the more subtle expression of His work; the transforming of a person’s Character to become like Christ. This is seen in the fruit.
Fruit the Indicator
The fruit of a person is an indication of what is going on inside. It shows what spirit is at work in that person. Jesus gave the following parable in Matthew 7:15-20.
Matthew 7:15-20 15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions
- What symbolism is used for good or bad leaders?
- What are we to look for to identify the spirit at work in a person?
- How do people normally evaluate a leader in our day?
- Consider a fruit tree what factors contribute to good fruit?
Fruit of Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit is what can be seen as the outworking of the Spirit in a person’s life. Galatians 5:22-26 gives examples of the fruit of the Spirit:
Galatians 5:22-26 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
- What examples are given to illustrate all that consists of the Spirit’s fruit?
- How could you see such fruit in a person’s life?
- What works against the work of the Spirit in a person’s life?
- What choices in our lives will influence the quality of fruit?
Compare to love
Compare the fruit of the Spirit and the attributes of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 Note: The lists in the Bible are not intended to be complete, but to give a broad range of possibilities.
1 Corinthians 13:4-6 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
- Which terms appear in both lists?
- If love is the key indicator of God being at work in a person, how can you work towards being a loving person?
Acts of Sinful Self
Galatians 5:19-21 looks with a broad brush stroke at the product of living by our old nature. One needs a little care here, for we tend either to be highly critical of ourselves and see all of these things in our own life, or we live in denial, white washing all our evil behaviour and pretending to be right with God. It is good in looking at a passage such as this to ask the opinion of others who know you well.
Galatians 5:19-21 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
- What does the sinful self produce?
- Which of these can you be prone to?
- What is the outcome of this lifestyle in oneself and in those affected?
Choosing the Spirit
The quality of the fruit depends on what the tree is fed by. We have a choice of what we feed on, and that choice will determine to a large degree the fruit of our lives. Take a look at Galatians 5:16-18
Galatians 5:16-18 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
- What choice is set before us?
- What are the outcomes of our possible choices?
- Why would a person not be under obligation to the Old Testament law if they were led by the Spirit?