One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to empower the believer to be fruitful spiritually. The Holy Spirit wants the believer to bear fruit for Christ. The Apostle Paul also addresses the need for every Christian to bear fruit. Just as it is quite natural for a young couple that comes together to be married will reproduce and bear children, it is likewise Gods desire that we as spiritual men and women married to Christ through salvation reproduce Spiritually. The fruit of the Spirit is spiritual children because of our union and communion with our Savior Jesus Christ the head of the church. In fact, did you know the Bible teaches that the spiritual man or woman is to bear nine spiritual children? Paul lists them by name. The names of the nine children of the spiritual man or woman are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. (Galatians 5:22-23) You cannot pick and choose which children you want, or how many you want. It is all or nothing. It is all nine that you must possess, nurture and proudly take with you everywhere you go. You cannot leave them with a baby sitter, or employ a nanny; you must take them to your place of work, recreation and everywhere you go.
Paul doesn’t say the fruits of the spirit, but singularly they are all grouped together as one fruit of the spirit that we should possess. Let’s notice the characteristics of these nine children that should be reproduced in the life of every Christian.
1) Love. This is love that is self-denying, self sacrificing (putting others needs first) Christ like love which is the foundation of a spirit led life. “This is my commandment that ye love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12-13) The Old Testament model of love was to “love your neighbor as yourself,” but Jesus says I give you a new commandment, love your neighbor as I have loved you.
2) Joy. That deep abiding inner rejoicing in the Lord. “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4) Rejoice over sins forgiven. Rejoice that we have salvation.
3) Peace. It is that tranquility of the soul. “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7) There are two kinds of peace. The peace with God and peace of God. Every believer enjoys peace with God. We experience peace with God at the moment of Salvation. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1) Once we come to faith in Jesus Christ the hostilities have been settled. God is satisfied with me because I have received his Son as Savior. God sees me through the Son resulting in peace between God and me. The other peace is the peace of God. “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7) Only a Spirit filled, Spirit controlled believer can enjoy the peace of God. The peace of God is what we experience in the midst of the tribulations and storms knowing that we are in the center of Gods will and we are at peace with God even when all seems to be falling apart around us.
4) Longsuffering: The ability to bear an unbearable situation and to patiently endure the unendurable. It is steadfastness under provocation with no thought of retaliation. As believers, God will not allow more to be put on us than he will put in us to bear it up. (I Cor. 10:13)
5) Gentleness: A quiet and respectful kindness. It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice. Paul says, “to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentile, showing all meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3:2)
6) Goodness: Wholesome acts-ready to do good things-love in action-Going the extra mile. “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (Matt. 5:41)
7) Faith-Fidelity: That which makes one true to his promises and faithful to his task. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us.” (Eph. 3:20)
8) Meekness: Not weakness, but controlled strength. It is total submission to God and unselfishness toward our fellow man. “Others Lord, yes others may this my motto be.” Put others first.
9) Temperance: Self control. Restraint over our fleshly impulses and appetites. When a person walks by faith and possess the fruit of the spirit no human law is necessary. We would not need a police department or a court system because we will do right by our fellow man every time.
In the flesh it is impossible to produce the nine spiritual children of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. You will wear yourself out and just end up frustrated trying to live the Christian life in your own strength. Only as we abide in the Vine (Jesus Christ) and yield to Him through the leading of the Holy Spirit can we exemplify these nine spiritual children. Through the empowering of the Holy Spirit we can experience and produce these nine spiritual children that the Apostle Paul calls “fruit of the Spirit.”
Pastor, Randy Mason www.libertybaptistofmarshalltown.com
Liberty Baptist Church of Marshalltown
Pastor Randy Mason