We’ve all seen this time and time again, a child that looks almost identical to one of their parents. When we see this, we jokingly say “The apple doesn’t fall far from the apple tree”. In other words, a child will share in their parent’s appearance and/or behavior.
It only makes sense that a child would mimic their parent. They share in the parent’s DNA (explaining the physical resemblances to the parent) and, as impressionable children, they live with the parent watching their every action (explaining the child’s behavioral similarities to their parent.)
This same principle applies to the relationship a child of God has with their heavenly Father. We should represent our Father on earth by resembling Him.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
(Gal 5:22-25 kjv)
The above verses give a listing of nine qualities that Christians should display in their daily walk of life.
A quick definition of each fruit follows:
“love” – to have the willingness to sacrifice self with no thought of gain;
“joy”- to possess calm delight displayed through actions;
“peace” – to be quietness, restful , harmonious, to be in unison with others
“longsuffering” – to bear under heavy burdens without giving into them
“gentleness” – to be kindness, merciful to others
“goodness” – to be virtuous, morally upright
“faith” – to rely upon, to place trust, to be assured of
“meekness” – to be humble
“temperance”- ability to control our power
The Lord lists the nine qualities that all men should possess in their lives adding to the quality of life around us. Who among us would begin to say we do not desire to see these fruits in the lives of others? Do we enjoy being around people that are hateful, always discouraged or wanting to fight all the time? What about those that are impatient, unforgiving, or wicked? Of course, none of us enjoy being with someone like this. Our Lord has given us a simple listing of fruits that enhance our life of earth, as we live according to them and enjoy our life with others who live by them.
The Lord continues on by reminding us that, for the Christian, these fruits should be desired and naturally borne by those who are truly saved. Please keep in mind, a part of the salvation experience is not only trusting in Christ and receiving forgiveness from our sins, but also an attitude of turning from our sins to serve Him as our Lord. This turning from sin to God is called “repentance” in the Bible. (please see Hebs 6:1, 2 Cor 7:10, 2 Tim 2:24-26) This is what our Lord meant when He said we are to “crucify (put to death) the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
He goes further by telling us that if we have received the indwelling of His Spirit, then we should be willing to live by the leadership of that same Spirit. The Spirit’s leadership will result in our fruit bearing as well.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
In Galatians 5:22-25, we see a listing of attributes that should accompany the lives of all members of God’s family. These attributes are given the title “fruits of the Spirit”. This title presents two different ideas. Firstly, these fruits are given off as a natural result of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in our lives and secondly, by bearing these “fruits” we reveal Godly attributes to the world around us.
To give an example of bearing a fruit naturally, lets look at an animal giving birth to its offspring. It is only natural that a bear would give birth to bear cubs. It would be a freak of nature to see that a bear gave birth to a puppy. As a matter of fact, nature so strictly adheres to this principle that we use it to make many assumptions in nature. For example, if we see a tree with oranges hanging on it we immediately assume it is an orange tree. We don’t give it a second thought. Why? Because like begats like…. that’s the way it is… in the natural world there are no exceptions to this.
And that is the way it is with God’s family members. It is only natural that we give forth the fruits of the Spirit… why? Because we have the Holy Spirit of God within us, His fruits should be revealed in our lives. If a Christian finds that he is not bearing God’s fruits then something is dreadfully wrong with his relationship to His Lord. Either he isn’t in communion with His God due to unconfessed sin, or he is not actually saved. There can be no other answer to this dilemma.
Now, let’s look at an example of a fruit revealing attributes about the one that bore it. Again, let’s use the bear and its cub as an example. The cub looks like a miniature version of the mother bear. Both have the same facial features, the same bodily features, hunger for the same types of food, the list goes on and on. So too, should we as Christians bear the appearance of our Heavenly Father.
We are told throughout God’s Word to be a good testimony to those around us. The best possible testimony we can have is living a life that reflects God in all we do. This is the fruit bearing that our Lord expects from all His family. This is the role of the Christian in the world today…. Simply show others our Lord and Savior by living our lives pleasing to Him.
May the Lord bless your study of His Word.