The fruit of the Spirit is the objective evidence that we are walking the path of discipleship with Jesus Christ.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23)
When we make the decision to follow Jesus Christ, He promises to send the Holy Spirit to help us walk this journey.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit covers many aspects of our Christian faith. Today, we’re going to focus specifically on the fruit of the Spirit.
What makes the fruit of the Spirit especially important in the life of the Christian is that it is proof that we are living in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
Fruit That Brings Rest
Paul gives us a specific list of the fruits he is talking about, but I want to look for a minute how he sums them up.
When Paul says that there is no law against any of the fruits of the Spirit, what he is telling us is that bearing these fruits of the spirit exhibit harmony with God. That’s because they reflect his nature.
By abiding in the true vine, which is Christ, He assures us we will produce “much fruit” (John 15:5).
There have been times in the past when I read “fruit” in that statement and thought that meant “works”. I knew “good works” didn’t get me to Heaven, but I also knew good works were a product of being a follower of Christ.
What I have come to realize, however, is that our “work” IS abiding with Christ. Jesus wants us to be about His business for the sake of His kingdom, but He’s not creating mindless workers.
Christ desires to live in our hearts and commune with us to such an extent that we begin to exhibit His traits.
Our efforts will only go so far in developing these traits in us. Only by resting in Jesus Christ will these flow freely from us.
Christ wants us to work harder at resting in Him.
Then, as we spend our time focused on Jesus Christ, which we do by following the abiding disciplines, the fruit we bear is His Spirit flowing outward from us and into the world. This further empowers us to be obedient followers and surrender to His will daily. Then we will do good works naturally, because our hearts will be aligned with Christ’s.
Fruit That Brings Assurance
Some believers struggle with whether or not they are truly Christ followers. They see passages in Scripture that say not everyone who claims to be a Christian is one (Matthew 7:21). Even more troubling is the one that says even the demons believe Christ is who He says He is (James 2:19).
These verses I just quoted talk about true Christians doing the Father’s will, or that good deeds without faith is useless.
These are true, and I have also come to realize the verse that says the work God wants from us is to believe in the One He sent (John 6:29). In this same chapter Jesus tells us that when we come to Him we will never be hungry or thirsty (John 6:35). Our work is seeking Christ out to abide with Him.
The fruit of the Spirit is the assurance of our faith that comes out of closely and continually abiding with Christ. When we seek after Christ for His sake, and not the sake of what He can do for us, His Spirit fills us to overflowing.
It is impossible to fake the fruit of the Spirit for very long. These fruits can only truly come out of the heart of a disciple of Jesus Christ.
When we are exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit, we can be assured that we are walking the true path of a disciple.
Fruit That Brings Discernment
Have you ever heard someone say that we cannot discern whether a person who claims to follow Christ is truly a disciple because “only God knows the heart”?
It is true that God knows us better than we know ourselves. But we just talked about the fruit of the Spirit bringing us assurance that we know Christ. It also helps us discern whether someone else belongs to the Body of Christ.
There are several times in scripture we are told to use our discernment when it comes to identifying true v. false believers. We are warned to stay away from those who have a counterfeit faith because of the damage they can do (2 Timothy 3:1-9). It stands to reason that there is a way we can tell the true followers of Christ from the counterfeit.
The fruit of the Spirit is one of the truest ways we can discern who are true followers of Jesus Christ.
More Bible verses (one for each) about the fruit of the Spirit:
1 Corinthians 13:4-5; 1 Peter 1:8-9; Colossians 3:15; Ephesians 4:2; Ephesians 4:32; Romans 12:21; Luke 12:42-44; Proverbs 15:4: 2 Timothy 1:7