We have a plum tree in our front yard and a fig in the back. We prune them but that’s about all they require of us. They provide abundant, delicious fruit in their seasons. Fruit is produced by the vine or tree seemingly without effort. It just appears in due season to provide nourishment and enjoyment. I am struck with the correlation between our fruit trees and the fruit of God’s Spirit which is produced by Him, not us, for the nourishment and enjoyment of our relationships. No more than the trees strive and struggle to produce the fruit do we need to strive and struggle to produce the fruit of the Spirit. It will be produced in the life of a Christian – unless we let sinful rebellion distance us from God.
In a previous study I came across an explanation of the Fruit of the Spirit that helped me understand it better. It seems to have affect in three areas of our lives.
God’s Spirit Affects Our Relationship with God:
Love: Accepting God’s agape, unconditional love for us results in our love back to Him and love for others. (God’s love is only conditional upon our response to Him in the faith He gives.)
Joy: Such deep confidence in God’s sovereignty that exultation & rapture are experienced, no matter what our assignments are.
Peace: Peace with God, delivers from all the inner distress sin causes, leading to the Peace of God.
God’s Spirit Affects Our dealings with People:
Patience: Ability to endure waiting without anger, persevering calmly in difficulties.
Kindness: Grace pervading the whole nature, mellowing all which could otherwise be harsh; the practice of being sympathetic, compassionate, as God has been to us.
Goodness: Acting to bless and benefit another. May be displayed in rebuking or correcting to benefit the other.
God’s Spirit Changes us Within:
Faithfulness: Shaping us to be steadfast, reliable, trustworthy, dependable people.
Gentleness: Shaping us to be people who are free from harshness, controlled so we are angry at the right time and never at the wrong time.
Self-Control: Working within us discipline, restraint, the ability to control our behavior, especially in terms of reactions and impulses.