Today I went to the funeral of an old neighbor of mine who lived right across the street in the trailer park that I grew up in. He was 73 years old and one of the kindest people that I knew, despite his many obstacles and stressors that he constantly had.
One of the sections of Bible that the pastor officiating a funeral mentioned was one that we’re all familiar of, the fruit of the spirit. He was talking about how if we’re believers, the fruit of the spirit should be evident our our lives, in our every actions as we’re conforming to the image of Christ.
There is more than one place in the scripture that talks about the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit is very telling of if we’re truly believers or not, as if we are, we will see these good fruits in our lives. As Matthew 7:18 reads: A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
I’ll quote the entire section in Galations 5 for context and bold the bit about the fruit of the spirit:
Keep in Step with the Spirit
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
I encourage you to read the entire chapter, but for this purpose, I’ll quote only this section.
This clearly says if we’re walking by the spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. We’ll be so focused on Christ that we will be able to put away the desires of the flesh and walk with Christ and it also states that the spirit and the flesh are opposed to one another, to keep you from doing the things you want to do, as the spirit brings conviction to do what is right and when we feel that conviction, our immediate response should be to respond and do whatever is necessary to bring peace to our spirits, even if it means doing a 180 degree turnaround.
If we are lead by the spirit, we are not under the law. The work of the flesh is evident, they are obvious. Sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these. He doesn’t even have to list them all, as they are so evident. He continues by warning us again, as we warned before, that those who do such things will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.
We know that they are wrong, yet we often find ourselves stuck in these sins and living in these areas where we shouldn’t. They are all sin, we should not take any of them for granted as there is no “bigger” or “smaller” sin, one sin was enough to separate us from God for eternity if it wasn’t for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. That’s why we’re reminded to take up our crosses daily.
Some are pretty obvious, sexual immortality, that includes lust and the like, which are sins we commit to our own body and mind, impurity of any sort. Idolatry, putting anything before Christ, anything in a more important place you put him, be it a job, a relationship, your family, your work, your money, your prestige, anything at all must not take a place in your heart before God.
Rivalries, dissensions, divisions, these things make it so much harder for the spirit to work in us, as they take away the space that we should reserve for Christ to work in our lives. Envy, wanting what others have and what we do not have, being jealous of those trips people are taking when you’re unable or seeing other people have fun or a life that you perceive to be better than yours and wishing you had their life, that is a sin as we cannot do that and live a life that’s glorifying to God or that will be satisfying to Christ, either.
Then, it takes a complete reversal and mentions the fruit of the spirit, that should be evident in the lives of believers. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
He is saying that those who truly belong to Jesus Christ have died to themselves. Their focus is no longer on this world, but for what they can bring with them into the next, the eternal. If we live by the spirit, let us also keep in step with the spirit. The more we focus on living by these commandments and laws, by the fruit of the spirit, the easier it will become and we’ll keep “in step” with the Spirit of God and feel his presence. Our spirits and restless souls will be stilled and we will find peace.
Here’s a basic but good article I’m looking at about the fruits of the spirit as well a couple quotes from it:
“The Greek word translated “fruit” refers to the natural product of a living thing. Paul used “fruit” to help us understand the product of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside every believer. The fruit of the Spirit is produced by the Spirit, not by the Christian. The Greek word is singular, showing that “fruit” is a unified whole, not independent characteristics. As we grow, all the characteristics of Christ will be manifested in our lives.”
The fruit of the spirit is produced by the spirit, not by the Christian. It’s the natural product of a living thing, so once we are indwelled by the spirit, it is something that comes as naturally as we live and breathe.
“The Holy Spirit gives us the power we need to reject those old sinful desires. We can say “no” to sin and accept the “way out” God faithfully provides (1 Corinthians 10:13) by following the Holy Spirit’s leading.”
There are so many things I could also type up about the fruit of the spirit, but there are also many good commentaries and study tools online about them, that I don’t think that I really need to.
Getting back to the initial topic, my old neighbor Carl, even though He didn’t discuss Christ, even though He lived a quiet and humble life, he showed the fruit of the spirit and that was evidenced by the way he lived his daily life. The pastor officiating the funeral talked about how he loved his church and how much he loved the entire congregation, no-one could find a single thing to say about his negative. Even to this day, I can’t either. That is living a quiet life, within your means, for Christ. Even though he wasn’t well-known, he didn’t live in prestige, he lived a good, quiet life and despite his health issues and all of his stress at home, he persevered. Now he’s with Christ in Heaven and I’ll one day join him.
It seems like that day can’t come soon enough, but it’ll be here before I know it, as this life is so fleeting.
Before I start crying, I’m going to end this post.
Goodbye for now,