The Fruit Of The Spirit
When the Holy Spirit is allowed to operate in a believer’s heart, He produces deep changes. In contrast to the ‘acts of the flesh’ (Galatians 5:19-21) - which are all offensive to God, His law and to other people - the Spirit’s activity is fully in tune with God’s heart. There is no Divine penalty for anything produced as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work. Instead, God is glorified, people are blessed and the believer is satisfied.
Paul did not write a list of all the possible good actions which stem from the indwelling Spirit’s influence, but identified three groups of three character qualities, which are the same as God's character. Love, joy and peace are the foundation of godly personality (joy is love expressed in action, and peace is love expressed at rest). Forbearance, kindness and goodness are love expressed to others who do not deserve it (that is grace in action). Faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the result of a heart being fully satisfied by love.
These qualities are not the well rehearsed behaviour-patterns of disciplined religious people, but the natural fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit inside the believer. In the same way that we tend to imitate those who are close to us, we will start to adopt the characteristics of the Lord who is the Spirit: then we start to reflect His glory and be transformed ourselves (2 Corinthians 3:18). That is God’s intention for everyone who comes to Jesus. However the Spirit cannot do His work if we continue to love the ‘acts of the flesh’: they grieve Him (Ephesians 4:29-31) and quench His fire ( 1 Thessalonians 5:19 ). Instead, let us give Him room to work. Let us choose to hate the ‘acts of the flesh’, asking for forgiveness and power to live in His love. Then we will find that we will naturally express His love to others in a million different ways that will bring glory to Him, blessing to others and a deep contented satisfaction in our own hearts.
© Dr Paul Adams