I want the fruit of God’s Spirit in my life. Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-c0ntr0l.
Paul says “fruit” not “fruits”. The fruit of the Spirit is not like apples, oranges, bananas, or grapes. We love an apple but hate bananas. Today I will have raspberries on my cereal and not strawberries.
You don’t get to select your favorite fruit of the Spirit; you take them all or you take none. It is “fruit” not “fruits.”
When my grandchildren come over, one wants strawberries, another frozen blueberries, and another cherries.
Somehow – I do not know whose fault it was – maybe my wife, “Mimi”, who always thinks the best; or me, “OG” (what my grandkids call me; it means Old Guy)? But someone gave them a small packet containing a sour tasting-gummy-look-alike fruit.
The small packets of sugar worked. Not for long though as they wanted more. I recently caught one of my granddaughters climbing into the cabinet where I keep them.
My grandkids now come over and they want the gummies and not real fruit. Every time this happens, my wife has this “look”.
I get the “look”.
When the Apostle Paul writes of the fruit of the Spirit, he also writes of fake fruit – impurity, hatred, discord, rage, selfish ambition, etc. Worse than gummy fruit! The fake fruit is called “acts of the flesh”.
I get stuck on simple things. I find truth starts with simple things. Paul describes the flesh as “acts” – plural. He says the Spirit is “fruit” – singular.
Hmmmmmmm (Pastor Grant in deep meditation). Why does Paul write plural “acts” and singular “fruit”? Consider that Paul writes in Galatians 5:
- You were called to freedom
- Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the flesh
- Let us keep in step with the Spirit
- When you are led by the Spirit
After 50 years of talking to followers of Jesus, I have noticed that those in distress often discuss many problems and many temptations. If I try to figure it all out – I get lost, I get discouraged. Okay, brother, here is how you get rid of anger, and here is how you overcome pride, and here is how you stop drinking!
I don’t talk about “acts” of the flesh now. I talk about the Spirit. A difficult conversation can end victoriously when you ask the question, “What is the Spirit saying to you right now?” Listen; He will speak. You obey. You will then have “fruit”. Not one problem fixed, but all of them.
I believe in counseling. I know some issues need a deep dive. But I read that the Apostle Paul followed my method of counseling, when writing to the Ephesians about drinking too much:
Don’t get drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 5:18)
Freedom! One look from the Spirit and its done – you have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-c0ntr0l.
Easy. And not fake.