I’ve tried my hand at gardening. The verdict is still out if I’ll be successful. Things are growing, but time will tell if we’ll actually eat some fresh food from our garden. My bet is yes!!!
So many of us don’t really consider how much work it takes to get food to and on our table. We go to the fridge to grab an apple or the counter to grab a banana, but think about all that went in to that fresh food getting to your table?
The average person can’t tell what kind of tree they’re looking at until the fruit or the leaves start to show. We sometimes use this metaphor when talking about character and personality. We can try and tell people what kind of people we are, but it’s our fruit that really tells the story. The proof is in the pudding (as they say).
We’ve been talking about what it means to be spiritual, and what the Holy Spirit’s role is in our life. So the question is, ‘is there any spiritual fruit we are producing that reflects the spiritual work going on inside of us?’
Paul, in Galatians 5, addresses this so well. “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
If someone asks you, ‘What does spirituality look like?’ I think you can show them these words and say, ‘it looks like this’.
Spirituality isn’t about pizzazz or flamboyancy. It’s about character and roots. About seeds and fruit. About who you’re becoming because of God’s Spirit in you.
Galatians 5 is about the freedom we have found in Christ. Paul is trying to move his readers away from 2 things: Reliance on the Law & the works of the Flesh. That’s the context
WALK by the SPIRIT
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (5:16)
The words that follow this verse are strong and direct. Paul urges the Galatians to stay away from the acts of the flesh. He lists them off in verses 19-21. Some read this verse and scream legalism, but you can’t do that. It’s a serious list of DON’T’s. (Remember: Following Jesus is not about DO’s & DON’Ts, but as you follow him, you’ll have to discern between some things you DO and some things you DON’T)
What Paul is doing is setting us up for the contrast between Life in the Spirit and Life without the Spirit.
The proof is in the FRUIT
Then comes the beautiful list of character traits that anyone would want to be known for.
But the fruit of the Spirit is…
PATIENCE (putting up with more than others can)
KINDNESS / GOODNESS
FAITHFULNESS (to others and to God)
SELF-CONTROL (the hardest of the bunch)
If you wanna be spiritual, then you wanna live a life that reflects what’s going on here.
The Fruit of the Spirit are very different than the Gifts of the Spirit, in that Gifts are unique to the individual. Each person has a different gift. Paul, with his fruit metaphor is saying that we are meant to have and produce all the fruit on this list. (and more) Our life should reflect the cluster of all of them.
Keep in STEP with the SPIRIT
Paul ends with this simple phrase… Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (25)
Live in stride with the Spirit, in step, in the way of the spirit. If you do, your life will not only look different, it will actually be different.
The goal of spirituality isn’t about who you think you are, it’s about who you are actually becoming.
Here’s the question: Who do you want to be? Who are you actually becoming? And is that version of you spiritual – spiritual in the way that Paul is telling us spirituality is?
May our spirituality be real, authentic, evident and healthy, tasty and fresh. May it produce fruit that only God’s Spirit can plant in us.