The Holy Spirit – Day 18
The Fruit of the Holy Spirit
Fruit is a desirable object. If you have the blessing of a fruit tree in the garden, you will know the delight gained from watching the fruit grow from small, green beginnings into abundant, vivid produce, as well as the contentment of eating its juicy ripeness. Its allure has often inspired artists to paint pictures of it, while others just appreciate eating it after waiting many days for it to ripen!
But what about the fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit? For the Christian, perhaps this is an appropriate analogy of something even more alluring and more satisfying. The fruit of the Spirit is produced only in those who know Jesus as LORD and Saviour, because the Spirit is working within them. Anyone can get natural fruit by picking it from the tree or by going to the shop to buy it, but we are incapable of producing the fruit of the Spirit in ourselves.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the character traits found in Jesus Himself and it is these that He produces in us. Jesus told His disciples: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). This is unutterably precious, as we want to be recognised as belonging to Jesus, because He took away our sin and clothed us in His righteousness — but it is not easy. James challenges us with, “My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water” (James 3:12).
We are very encouraged, however, when we, and others, are able to see the good qualities growing in us, but just as natural fruit takes time to grow, so the fruit of the Holy Spirit is not an overnight development, and we should not become discouraged by the apparent slowness of its appearance in us.
Jesus said: “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognised by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). This teaches us that, as true followers of Christ, our fruit should resemble Him and if we see ourselves beginning to more resemble the devil, we need to re-evaluate our position; because sometimes we can become complacent and not realise that we have slipped; or we may have taken God’s glory for ourselves and Pride has slipped into the driver’s seat. Although we have been freed from sin’s power, we still have the capacity to sin and need to confess it to the LORD as soon as we are aware that we have fallen, so that we may once again submit to God through Jesus and be led by the Spirit.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).