Fruit of the Spirit

Gal 5: 22-26

Lesson 1

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christís have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Everyone would like to have the Fruits of the Spirit operating in their lives. But how many people actually can quote what they are and what it takes to get them operating in their lives. It is not something that automatically comes when you get saved. It takes being filled with the Spirit, and yielding to Him to develop them in us.

You donít plant a tree in the ground today and see fruit on it tomorrow! It takes years of growth and pruning to come to a place where fruit comes to blossom. Notice it is called the Fruit of the Spirit, not Fruit of the flesh. We cannot be operating in the flesh all the time and expect Godly fruit. But I am a Christian you say! Iím not a bad person! Then we look at the verse in Gal 5 right before the Fruit of the Spirit.

Gal 5: 16-18 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

"Walk in the Spirit" Too hard? Not with the Holy Spirit on our side. We must learn to be led by the Spirit.

Verses 19-21 lists the lusts of the flesh. I certainly donít do these bad things. Maybe not all of them, but we are all guilty of some of them, or some form of them. Jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensionís, envy. The list goes on. These are all works of the flesh.

Sometimes we would like to skip over those verses and go on to the Fruit. "Oh yes! That is what I want! Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control. Oh please Lord, give me those things! I want to be like you Lord!" And we want it to drop like fruit off a tree, right into our hands. Sorry, it is not that easy! But not impossible to obtain.

Here is what Paul had to say, in

Romans7:15-25. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am!

Up to verse 25, it sounds pretty hopeless doesnít it? But thank God for verse 24b & 25.

Who will deliver me from this body of death?

I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!

It isnít a hopeless situation! With God all things are possible!

Even though I am not going to go into it in depth. There have been studies done on the 4 different personality types. For simplicity and for time sake we will divide them into 2 groups. Extroverts and Introverts.

In the extroverts there are two types. One we will call "Happy". He is always, you guessed it, Happy. Very outgoing and carefree, and usually loud! People like him! You just have to! He expresses the fruit of the Spirit of Joy. The joy is contagious! Unfortunately, he doesnít show much of the other fruits. He wants to have a good time! He is friendly to everyone, but doesnít take much time to listen to others. He ranks high in the selfish ambitions area! He doesnít mean to hurt people, he just doesnít think about it! He is too busy having fun! He was voted the "Class Clown". But led the right way and he is a good leader, full of goodness, and kindness.

He makes a good Youth Pastor, or Sunday School teacher. His enthusiasm and good nature, make him an asset to any area of the church.

Then we have "Hard Head". "Do it my way or forget it." The fruit he shows is faithfulness and a certain kind of self-control. He is usually a perfectionist, which means that no one else can do it right. He can be hard and unfeeling, and possibly voted most likely to be a "serial killer" in his senior class! But he is a born leader and if led the right way, will do great works for God. He will be a faithful and hard working person in his church. And a great organizer. And will stand behind what he says!

Then we have the introverts. There is "Mopey the Melancholy". (Doubting Thomas was a melancholy I believe.) He is the cup is half empty sort of person, prone to complaining. He thinks a fruit of the spirit is "I suffer long" instead of long-suffering. 

But because he is an emotional person, he can have a kindness about him, if properly led, he is a kind, loving, good person, that cares about others. And a faithful member of the church. Takes instruction well and does a good job.

Then we have "Easy going Jo". Everyone likes Jo. He shows most of the fruits of the Spirit. He is loving, a peace maker, long-suffering, kind, good and gentle. So what are his faults you say??? He needs to be motivated and is easily manipulated. He will do what ever the crowd is doing because he doesnít want to make waves. He hates confrontations and making decisions.

But properly led, he will make a wonderful pastor, or counsellor. His meek, quiet spirit, and gentleness will be a bonus to him and his long suffering will help him to deal with people.

As you can see depending on the "Type" of person we are, we find it easy or hard to see Fruit produced in our lives... But with God there are no hard cases! He made us different, because His work needs all different types of people, to meet all the different needs in the church.

I want to tell you now how he has and is developing "Fruit" in my life. I am in the extrovert category. I am a mixture of Happy and Hard Head! Fortunately I got saved when I was 5, so I didnít become a "Serial Killer!".... However, I have always been the "Class Clown"!

Growing up in a wonderful Christian home and having two "Easy Going Joís" raising me, I had the advantage of a loving upbringing. But I was a very strong willed person. Yes...A Hard Head! Very stubborn, and determined. As I grew up, I knew that something was missing in my life! Someone told me about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I received this experience when I was about 25, and God started doing a new work in my life.

The temper was the first thing that had to go. Talk about "Outbursts of Wrath". I would get mad at anything. Didnít take much. God did a supernatural work in my life, he started developing the fruit of "Self-controlí and "Long-suffering". I am not saying I donít lose my temper ever, but the fuse is a lot longer.

The next thing he had to teach me was love. Love of unlovely people. It is easy to love those that love you. But some people are not so easy to love. I can think of one man in particular. I almost hated him. Finally I asked God for a supernatural love for him, and he gave it to me. After that, no matter what he would say, it wouldnít bother me. Now I can love anyone.

The next thing was gentleness. Tom used to say I blew peoples doors off. I figured I could force people to see my point of view. "You are going to listen and like it. What do you mean you donít agree with me???" He began to develop gentleness in me. He showed me you can catch more bees with honey than vinegar. I am still learning that.

I always had a hard time letting anyone do anything for me. I just didnít trust them to do it right. As a result, I never delegated authority. This can become burdensome and exhausting. So what I needed was patience! But tribulation brings patience, didnít want any of that! I wanted patience, and I wanted it now!!!  Funny how God doesnít do things our way. We have to do it his way.

James 1:2-4. Count it all Joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience, But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

So I started developing patience. You might say that it is a work in progress! I do know how to delegate authority now and let people do their job. But I still need it in a lot of other areas.

I always had Joy! "Happy" you know. But Satan will try to steal that too.

Donít let him! Make him return it seven fold!

I learned goodness, kindness and gentleness from the people that God brought across my path. My parents early in my life and others throughout.

My Mom and Dad were the kindest and gentlest people I have ever known, and goodness was their middle name. I thank God for them. That was my "touchí of "Easy Going Jo" in my life. God has just developed it over the years.

The ideal person is the person that has all the good qualities of the four personalities in his life. That is the "Fruit of the Spirit"! God can do that for us. I am still a work in progress, that will never be finished until I get to heaven. With Godís grace, I will become a better person everyday.

We will continue next week by going through the Fruits of the Spirit and seeing what God has to say about them and how to get them operating in our lives.

Written by Judy Warren

Lesson 2
 

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