By Toni Ford
Paul’s life, along with many others, was changed by the good news of salvation through faith in Christ. During the existence of the Galatia church, this good news was being attacked and false teachers were infiltrating the churches of Galatia and teaching a false “gospel” which was confusing to the people.
Due to Paul’s passion and determination to bring back the truth of the gospel and the liberty of the Christian life, he wrote the Book of Galatians. Paul does a beautiful job explaining the difference between Christian liberty and legalism. Warren Wiersbe explains it well when he says, “The legalists thought they had the answer to the problem in laws and threats, but Paul explained that no amount of legislation can change man’s basic sinful nature. It is not law on the outside but love on the inside that makes the difference. We need another power within, and that power comes from the Holy Spirit of God.”
In the fifth chapter of Galatians, Paul explains the ministries of the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit can enable a believer to enjoy liberty in Christ. One of those ministries includes the Spirit enabling us to produce fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Notice what the Holy Spirit produces in us: fruit. Our Lord could have used many other words such as talents, skills or abilities, but instead He uses the word “fruit.” That causes me to ask what is so unique about fruit? We know that fruit takes time to grow. It is not manufactured instantly, and it needs nourishment to grow. It grows out of life and for the believer it is the life of the Spirit. Fruit is the opposite of works. Works come about through effort, tasks, labor and toil, but with fruit comes beauty, quietness and the unfolding of life.
The fruits of the Spirit are actually a picture of Christ’s character. They are different from the gifts of the Spirit, since gifts are an action or a service for our Lord. The fruits are characteristics of our Lord that He wants lived out in the life of every believer. Let’s briefly look at each fruit.
Love. Paul begins with love because love is the center and the core. All the other fruit is an outgrowth of love. Philippians 1:9 says, “I pray that your love will overflow more and more.” It is important that we continually grow in our love for the Lord and for others.
Joy. When one lives in love, he experiences joy. No matter how difficult his circumstances were, Paul chose to continue to live in joy.
Peace. Love and joy will then produce a peace that is unwavering and steady. It is a peace described in Philippians 4:7: “The peace of God, which exceeds anything we can understand.”
Patience. Also known as long-suffering, patience is described as courageous endurance without quitting. Patience is not tolerance but rather an ability to endure a long battle with a steadiness. A person with patience cannot help but flow in kindness and goodness towards others, which are the next two fruits listed.
Kindness. Along with goodness, kindness is an overflow of a person with patience. Kindness is also known as gentleness. Have you ever known a kind person who was not gentle at the same time? Scripture tells us that God’s kindness leads us to repentance.
Goodness. To me, this is one of the greatest foundations of our God. He is good and nothing can take His goodness from us. There is a beautiful song written by Bethel Music called, “The Goodness of God.” I encourage you to listen to that song today.
Faithfulness. Faithfulness is dependability, enduring all things, believing all things and bearing all things.
Gentleness. Psalms tells us that a gentle answer turns away wrath. Gentleness is a reflection of kindness.
Self-Control. Self-control is the ability to be even-tempered and staying in step with the Spirit, even in the midst of persecution.
Lord, today we ask you to nourish, grow and cultivate these gifts within us so that we can be a reflection of You and Your character wherever we go. Thank you for Your beautiful character!
If you would like continued prayer, feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. I would love to pray for you!