GALATIANS 5 = FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT
Bible Background: Galatians begins as a harsh letter, where Paul confronts Christians who are turning away from the Gospel. He goes on to give practical advice on how to live with the freedom we have in Christ, and what it means to “live by the Spirit”, hence the list of noticeable, and important ‘fruits of the Spirit’.
Digging Deeper: 1. We didn’t choose our skin color, nation of birth, parents, maybe not even our religion. But Paul reminds us we do get to choose what attitudes and behaviors to display in daily life-which in turns gives witness to our faith in Christ.
2. The ‘list of fruits’ includes: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Perhaps these are called ‘fruits’ because these are the qualities that the Holy Spirit and faith produce in our lives. Must you be Christian to demonstrate these things? No. Even non-believers may live very ‘fruitful’ lives. But since we belong to Christ, it is both our duty and delight to live fruitfully: “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” -John 15:8
3. Some of the fruits in the list come rather naturally to us. Which ones are second-nature for you? Which ones take more prayer and focus for you? Which one is downright hard for you?
4. Prior to this in Galatians 5, Paul made a list of ‘fleshly’ attitudes and qualities, all of them negative, such as jealousy, envy, anger, drunkenness, carousing. He offers up “life in the Spirit” as an alternative way to live our lives and exercise our freedoms.
5. In this month of Thanksgiving, and consistent with our Gifted and Grateful emphasis, let us give thanks for the opportunity to “bear fruit” and show forth the love of Christ to a world that needs it. Let’s remember that these ‘fruits’ of the Spirit, also bring their own reward!
Take my life that I may be, consecrated, Lord, to thee! Take my moments and my days. Let them flow in ceaseless praise!
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store. Take myself, and I will be-Ever, only, all for thee!