Friday, April 14, 2017

The Fruit Of The Spirit

In a previous post we talked about how that a person who had truly received the Holy Spirit and been saved would not be content in a sinful life style.  Today we come back and see why that is true.  Galatians 5:16-18 Informs us that victory over sin and the flesh will not be a problem for those who follow the Holy Spirit’s leadership.  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.   For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” 

There are certain things that clearly indicate a person has not been saved and does not have the Holy Spirit, as Galatians 5:19-21 clearly states.  “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” 

While many people have no problem believing murder, adultery and other sexual sins such as rape, or homosexuality or drunkenness are signs that a person is not a Christian, they tend to consider things such as jealousy, competition, hatred, a dirty mind, or arguing as being acceptable, when in fact, they indicate a person is not walking in the Spirit and may not be saved.  All these things are the result of an improper heart attitude, and Matthew 15:18-20 tells us.  “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”

To walk in the Spirit and get victory over sin it will be necessary to allow the Holy Spirit to produce a new attitude or spirit of mind in us, as Ephesians 4:22-24 says.  “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”  Changes in attitude result in major changes in what we do. 

Galatians 5:22-23 describes the new attitudes the Holy Spirit produces.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”   One of the things that the Holy Spirit changes is our attitude toward other people.  His gives us that conscious choice to care about them even when they treat us badly, the agape love or charity described in I Corinthians 13:4-7. He produces an attitude of joy, of enjoyment in our daily life.  Joy is accompanied by and depends on an attitude of peace, of not being constantly upset or worried about what is happening around us.  Peace is a result of an attitude of faith, that God is in control and that he will make everything turn out the way it should for our good as promised in Romans 8:28. 

When we are living in peace joy and faith, we can deal with setbacks and conflicts without much difficulty, and depression or despair will not be a problem.  Because we love them and are not upset about the things that are going on, we can be gentle to people going out of our way to avoid saying or doing things that hurt them.  This will result in  an attitude of meekness, putting other people’s needs and desires ahead of one’s own.  With a proper attitude toward the people and things around us, treating other people right comes naturally, so that we don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to decide what the right thing to do would be.  The ability to control oneself ceases to be a problem because one is not upset and worried.   All of the parts of the fruit of the Spirit are interconnected and depend on each other just like the parts of any other fruit.  An apple tree doesn’t just produce seeds and the Holy Spirit doesn’t just produce love, for example.  Both of them produce complete fruit.    

Romans 6 makes the point t5hat we are dead to sin but alive to God through the Spirit.  Since that is true, we need to learn to walk or live in a fashion befitting a person who has the Holy spirit as his guide, as Galatians 5;24-26 directs.  “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.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”  We ought not be jealous of each other or stirring up conflict and trying to get the advantage.  

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