8. FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – FRUIT OF THE FLESH
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:1-8 NIVUK).
This passage says that in order to dwell in Him, a branch has to be united with the vine; it cannot survive without the vine. Even so, for a Christian, the Lord Jesus is the vine and we are united with Him as branches. The nourishment of the vine flows into you as a branch. If you are united with Christ, He will flow into you. How do we know it?
According to this Scripture, we will know it when we bear fruit as we stay connected to the vine. The scripture also says that He will prune every branch so it bears more fruit. Pruning may be painful but it is God’s process so that we may bear more fruit. He is not satisfied with what we are bearing now. He wants each one of us to bear more and more fruit. In the last verse of this passage He says that we will bring glory to the Father and reveal to the world that we are His disciples when we bear much fruit. But what kind of fruit was He talking about?
Galatians 5:22-25 says, “But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives” (GNT).
Love is the first fruit of the spirit and the most important.
The fruit of the spirit is produced only when we live and walk in the Spirit. Love is the first fruit of the spirit for a very good reason – God is love! (1 John 4:8) People should see the God of love in you. If you don’t show love, and show instead an artificial kindness, or piety, or holiness, people will know that you are a hypocrite. They will turn away from Christianity. Many pastors and ministers are arrogant and haughty. That does not look good on Christianity. The person sitting at the back of the room or standing in the doorway may be humble and hungry for God. That’s what God wants. The scripture says, “The last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16).
If you want to exalt yourself you will want the front seat, recognition on the platform, and you will be haughty. God does not like that. Those ministers don’t represent Jesus and are a failure. They don’t demonstrate love. When people look at their personal lives they are turned off. They will not show love. If they would show love and be a servant then God would be exalted. He would honor them. They will be first in His kingdom, and those who exalt themselves, who are haughty and proud, will be the last in the kingdom of heaven. This principle is very important. We must let the love of God rule in our lives.
The next fruit is joy.
This is joy that only comes from having a relationship with God (Acts 16:34). He is a God of great joy and through Christ we can have this inner joy (Luke 24:52). People will see that you are joyful and that it is not an artificial happiness, but that instead your spirit is bubbling over with joy.
Another fruit that grows as a result of our relationship with God is peace. The Bible is filled with Scriptures about this peace. Jesus is even called the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). It is the peace of mind which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). When you walk into a room your peace will be felt by others. When people look at you they will think, “What kind of person is this who is not troubled by worldly affairs?”
The next fruit is patience. When this fruit is developed a person suffers patiently and does not get upset.
The fifth fruit of the spirit is kindness. Kindness is goodness in action. Whenever there is a problem on this earth, or any catastrophe, Christians are always the first to help. When this happens people see our kindness and then they are filled with gratitude. They see Christ in us.
This is the best witness we can have, and people of other faiths will notice. Even in countries where, for whatever reason, politicians may not like Christians, they will see what Christians are doing and be touched by God. In countries like the Sudan in Africa, the Christians are doing a mighty work for God. They are winning many people to Christ. They are running hospitals, feeding the hungry, etc. But the government didn’t like it. Because they were of another faith, they tried to kill the Christians. The believers there suffered for Lord. According to the Scriptures, those believers, who suffered and were martyred for the Christ, will receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
The next fruit of the spirit is goodness. It means we are good to others even when they do not deserve it; we are good to our neighbors, our spouses, our parents, and to everyone we come in contact with. This glorifies the Lord!
Another fruit that flourishes as a result of our connection with God is faithfulness. It means that we are faithful in everything that God is faithful in. God is faithful to us, so we should be faithful to others. God is faithful to keep His word, so that means we should be faithful to keep our word. God is faithful to talk to us, so we need to be faithful and spend time with Him.
The eighth fruit of the spirit is humility. It is sometimes translated as the word gentleness or the word meekness. We should never confuse the word meekness for the word weakness. Jesus was meek, but not weak. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIVUK). Jesus describes Himself as gentle and humble in heart. Could that be a description of you? We should all strive to become more like Him.
The final fruit of the spirit is self-control. The Bible says the devil comes “only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10 NIVUK). The devil would love for us to become addicted to harmful habits that destroy our bodies. We must learn to say no to his temptations. You must develop and exercise self-control.
We must be entirely different than the world. They want everything in excess. They take one drink, then a second, a third, and then they want the whole bottle. Eventually, their lives are destroyed.
The same pattern can be seen with those who take drugs. It is very common, as drugs are available all over the world, for a person to try marijuana, and then heroine, and then LSD. It is always a progression to something worse. The drugs become something a person wants so much that he or she cannot do without them – the person becomes addicted. When a person stops taking drugs his or her body goes into withdrawal and convulsions. Ultimately, the person will die early. If we say, “no” to those temptations we will not die young – we will live a long life. Self-control is a vital fruits of the spirit if we want to effectively serve God.
Now, let’s see what happens if a person does not walk in the Spirit. If a person does not walk in the Spirit then he or she is walking in the flesh. The flesh has its own fruits. Galatians 5:16-21 says, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (NIVUK).
These are the fruits of flesh. Our spirit, where the Holy Spirit dwells, and the flesh are at war with each other. If you walk in the Spirit, then you will not fulfill the desire of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
Continue To Chapter 9. Other Important ScripturesChapter 6. Renewing of The MindChapter 7. Discipleship • Chapter 8. Fruit of the Spirit – Fruit of The Flesh • Chapter 9. Other Important Scriptures • Chapter 10. How to Be Like The Lord Jesus Christ • Final Words • About The Author • What Others Are Saying About This Book • Bibliography