The fruit of the Spirit - 21 May 2021
By Carina Francke
- Galatians 5:19-23
What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions; in worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight; they become jealous, angry, and ambitious. They separate into parties and groups; they are envious, get drunk, have orgies, and do other things like these. I warn you now as I have before: those who do these things will not possess the Kingdom of God. But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these.
- Ephesians 5:9
for it is the light that brings a rich harvest of every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth.
Recently, I bought a box crammed with the most beautiful and healthy fruit at a farmer’s market. Arriving home, I sorted the fruit in order to pack it into a basket. Everything went well with the first two or three layers, but my goodness, then my fingers got lost in a ghastly mush. On closer inspection it became quite clear that not all the fruit was fresh. Bruised, but even worse, fruit already rotten, was packed among the good fruit. What a disappointment!
On different occasions, Jesus reminded his audience and followers that every tree will be known by the fruit it bears. You and I are “human trees” and are recognised by the fruit we bear. (Matthew 7:17) According to Paul, the heart of a bad “human tree” is recognisable from its acts or evil practices – those things that have its origin in one’s sinful nature. (Galatians 5:19-21) He ensures that we know exactly what he is talking about by listing the works or practices of the flesh. This startling list has a deafening shrill to it: “Darkness! Fear! No inheritance in God’s kingdom!” (Galatians 5:21) Do yourself a favour and read it for yourself. Read the portion of Scripture.
On the other hand, a good “human tree” bears good fruit – the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of us as believers. He produces these Christ-like character traits in our lives. Take note, it is but one fruit, albeit a healthy one. Metaphorically speaking, think peeled orange, where individual segments lie side by side in the orange. Every segment has a name: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22) These different segments represent good attitudes, social relationships and principles that determine Christian conduct. None of these “segments” can develop independently from the Holy Spirit in your life. If the believer does not live by the Spirit, nor allow the Spirit to determine his or her behaviour, no fruit can, or will, be visible.
In Ephesians 5:8-9, Paul raises awareness of a godly alternative for a bruised, squashed life in the dark – a life lived as people of the light where one can bear fruit – good fruit! “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Ephesians. 5:9) KJV. The NIV says: “… for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.”
The soul-searching question to me and to you: Do we bear fruit which has its origin in the light? Does it measure up to the characteristics … goodness, righteousness and truth?
Prayer: Father, thank you for the Holy Spirit’s involvement in our lives. Without him, we are directionless, and our endeavours to bear fruit impossible. Amen