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The Fruit of Life

The fruit of our lives is very important because we can evaluate our walk with the Lord as well as the walk of other believers and non-believers. Before we go too far I do want to talk about “evaluating” the lives of others. Many times we as believers, and non-believers alike, have been misguided when it comes to the word “judge.” It has been given a bad connotation. Judging is not a bad thing unless you are taking the role of God and determining the destination of peoples final resting place. Judgment as we are looking at it here, not referring to legal terms, is to form an opinion or to decide matters. When we are evaluating or judging it is not a bad thing to do. As a matter of fact it is recommended through out the Bible (1st Corinthians 6:2,3). I also need to say that we as people judge everything that we do. Think about our kids. Before we leave our kids with others we judge whether or not it is a good idea. Before we go to movies or concerts we make, according to the definition, a decision an opinion or a judgment as to whether or not we will go. Through the Bible we can further our walk as we determine, evaluate, or judge those around us. Will we decide to hang around certain groups of people? Will we support the different programs in the world? Will we be obedient to God’s word? As we start to look through the fruit for life we will be able to answer these questions simply by evaluating the fruit in our lives as well as others around us. Jesus warned the people in Matthew 7:15-20 about false prophets and how we would know who they are. Look at what Jesus tells the people (verse 20 is the main focal point at this time), “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” The instruction that Jesus gave to the people then still applies to us here today. How do we know this? We know this because in the Bible we find the fruit that we must use as a guideline. We find both the good fruit and the bad fruit. We find the fruit that leads to eternal life and the fruit that leads to eternal death. We find the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of the flesh. Lets look at the fruit of the Spirit. As we read the fruit of the Spirit, we can begin to examine or judge our own lives. When looking through the list we can start to ask ourselves the question, does this fit me? Does the fruit of the Spirit fit me? Do I reveal the fruit of the Spirit in my life? These are important questions because we have to remember that the fruit of the Spirit is given at the point of salvation. The fruit is not a progression. We know that the fruit is not a progression because the Bible refers to the fruit as, “the fruit of the Spirit.” With the word Spirit starting with a capital “S” it shows you and I that its referring to a proper noun or a name. This fruit does not belong to you or I. This is not something that we can earn or go out and purchase or take from someone else. The fruit of the Spirit belongs to the Spirit. We know that once we are redeemed (received Jesus as Lord and Savior) the Holy Spirit takes permanent residence in us which means, once you are a saved person you receive from the Spirit, the fruit. 2nd Corinthians 6:16, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” This is accomplished because He, the Holy Spirit, brings it with Himself. The fruit of the Spirit is brought with the Spirit simply because there can not be a separation of the Spirit and fruit. It is a packaged deal. This is referred to as communicable attributes (characteristics of the Spirit which we take on). Lets look at the attributes that the Holy Spirit brings. Galatians 5:22-23 says, Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Lets define each piece of fruit in order that you and I can determine whether or not we are demonstrating our faith in the Lord. Remember, by looking at the fruit of the Spirit we can know whether or not we and those around us walk in a relationship with the Lord. Romans 8:16 tells us, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Love is the unselfish, benevolent concern for another. This definition reveals to us that we must be willing to do exactly what Christ told us, which is to love. John 15:17 says, John 15:17, “These things I command you, that ye love one another.” Through out the Bible we find Jesus always talking about love. The love of the Father was revealed to us because He was willing to send His perfect son for us. And the love of Jesus was revealed to us through His willingness to hang on a tree for our transgressions. 1st Timothy 1:14-15, “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Love is a command not a request. Jesus says in Mark 12:30, Mark 12:30, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Joy, great delight or gladness of the heart. This is an emotion that is revealed through our actions and our appearance. Do you truly have the joy of the Lord in your heart? It will be very difficult to love one another if you do not have joy. Remember that our joy, gladness of the heart, does not come from the world or possessions but by the Lord. Look at Psalm 43:4, Psalm 43:4, “Then will I go unto the alter of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.” When you read this verse you can truly see the joy of the writer (David). His excitement is obvious just by looking at this one verse. How does your joy appear? Can others looking at you see that there is joy because of all that the Lord has done in your life? Peace is having presence and experience free from anxiety, annoyance, and hostility. Peace is something that only God can give. Listen to what Paul says in Philippians 4:7, Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” This peace that is being referred to here is not just a peace that comes with silence or in the time that our country is not in war but it goes so much deeper. The peace that God gives is the peace that surpasses all understanding. That means when your company lays you off you don’t become worried because you know that God said He would supply all your needs. Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Peace means that you need not worry what will happen tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself. Peace means that you can rest assured that when you pass from this life and enter eternity, you can be with the Father (John 6:47 see Are You Sure?). Longsuffering, is a word that we do not use much but whether we use the word or not it does not matter. What matters is that we have the evidence of this fruit in our lives. Longsuffering means that we must have restraint or patience. In one of the most popular verses used in scripture reading, in weddings, we find that love is patient. 1st Corinthians 13:4, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,” Another fruit that we receive from the Spirit is gentleness. Mildness combined with tenderness is the definition of gentleness. In 2nd Corinthians we find out a little more about who Christ is by Paul’s writing. He states, “Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ…” Psalm 18:35, “…and thy gentleness hath made me great.” The combination between the statement that Paul makes about Christ and the writing of David we find that gentleness runs ramped through the Trinity. This should make you and I very happy because if the Trinity has gentleness, then you and I as saved people have gentleness. This being the case we also have the potential to be great. Greatness through our Lord. Goodness are the things that are beneficial. As we look throughout the Bible we find that goodness is an essential attribute of God Himself. Look at Jeremiah 31:14, Jeremiah 31:14,“And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.” We find that through God’s goodness we will be satisfied to the fullest. The word satisfaction or satisfy is to gratify to the fullest. The benefit of this fruit is that we will be completely and utterly satisfied to the fullest with who God is. Look at the goodness, which are the things that are beneficial, which is offered to us as a fruit of the Spirit. Salvation, forgiveness, hope, redemption, and justification. Looking at these few items we find that our satisfaction is guaranteed. We are satisfied to the fullest because of God’s goodness through salvation we have eternal life. With forgiveness we don’t have to walk around in shame of what we have done. Hope is what we have when everything seems to be going wrong. We are redeemed because of Christ dying on the cross. And finally justification. Christ made us acceptable to God because of the price that He paid on Calvary. Faith is the placing of trust in the hands of God. Faith is a common theme through the entire Bible. We find in the book of Genesis where Abraham (Abram when the covenant was first established) was challenged with his faith in the Lord. Later we find that Abraham was considered righteous simply because he believed or had faith in what the Lord was promising. We find the same to be true with us here today. We are questioned with, “are we willing to trust or place our faith in the Lord.” Faith is a fruit of the Spirit and that is why we should be able to trust in the Lord with all that we have upon receiving Christ. Meekness is an English word that is usually associated with weakness. However, meekness is best viewed as a condition of the mind and heart which displays power under control. Meekness, once again, is displayed through the life of Christ our role model. Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Meekness was not only demonstrated by Christ in the beginning of His ministry but also to the point of what is referred to as palm Sunday. Even as Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Matthew 21:5, “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” He did it with meekness. The characteristic of Christ is also a characteristic that we must have. When you look at the definition, power under control, you begin to realize that true power under control is only obtainable through Christ. The power which is given to us through the obedience of the scripture under the control of the Lord. That means that we believe that God always has our best concern at hand and it is He that will work everything out. Look at Matthew 5:5, Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” The promise of inheritance is for the meek not the proud. Once again those that receive the inheritance are trusting that God has their best interest at hand. Finally, we have temperance. Restraint or self control best define this word. Restraint is something that we must do on a regular basis. Look at what Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians 9:25-27, 1st Corinthians 9:25-27, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Temperance is demonstrated for us as we look into the life of Paul through that scripture. Temperance, or restraint, is how we must govern the things of our life. What movies to watch, video games to play, people to hang around are just a few item that we deal with on an everyday basis. The Bible goes on to tell us that against all of these fruits of the Spirit there is no law. And how true that is. There are no laws against having love, joy, and peace in the heart. No where in the law does it state that you cannot be patient or have goodness or faith. These are the fruit of the Spirit and these are gifts to you. As the Holy Spirit enters He brings with Him the gifts of a life time. All that you need to be a successful believer in Jesus Christ is contained right here in these gifts. Just remember, God has your best interest at hand so have faith in Him.