Galatiansby Khan Hui Neon
Someone once said, ″Love is like a rumour. Everyone talks about it, but no one truly knows.″ Is this true among the children of God? ″No,″ says Paul. We can love one another through the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
This fruit comprises the Spirit's manifestations and reflects Christ's character. Whereas ″acts″ (v. 19), being plural, connote an unbridled, wanton chaos in which the flesh flails in all directions, ″fruit″ (v. 22)-being singular-reflects the will and character of one Person who follows a clear direction with a single purpose.
Paul lists nine facets of the Spirit's fruit, spread out in three groups.
The first group points to our relationship with God: love, joy, and peace (v. 22). Love refers to God's love (agape). Christians love not in their own way but as God loves them. This leads to joy when we fully realise God's love and grace-justification, freedom, adoption, hope, etc.-and as we experience Him daily through the Spirit's activity. All this culminates in peace: knowing that nothing will ever separate us from God's love in Christ (Romans 8:31-39), we therefore have full confidence in God, believing that He will withhold no blessing from us.
Paul then turns to the believers' relationship with their fellow men. He lists the essential qualities in relating to others: forbearance, kindness, and goodness (Galatians 5:22). Just as God did not give up on us, the Spirit empowers believers to persevere in relating to others. But we don't endure passively with a negative attitude. Instead, we are enabled to respond in kindness, graciously treating others as God treats us. The Spirit also motivates us to do good by being generous to others.
Lastly, Paul shows how the Spirit transforms the way we relate to ourselves. He produces in us faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (vv. 22-23). Only He can enable us to remain faithful to God and be dependable even under duress; to respond to criticism not with resentment but with gentleness; and to hold in check all our passions and desires.
Such a fruit (of the Spirit)-Paul points out-is beyond the realm of the law. No law can legislate, regulate, or enforce it (v. 23); hence, no amount of law-keeping can produce it.
Looking back, we can see how the acts of the flesh lead to conflict and division while the Spirit's fruit fosters harmony and unity. Furthermore, the Spirit's fruit ultimately enables us to fulfil the greatest commandment: to love God by loving our neighbour as ourselves. What a contrast!
We no longer serve the flesh. In fact, Paul says, when we turn our lives over to Christ Jesus, we have decisively severed our relationship with the flesh (v. 24). ″We now live by Christ's Spirit,″ Paul declares, ″so let's fall in line and march under His command!″ (see v. 25). Have you heeded Paul's call today?
What are some obstacles that might prevent the Spirit from cultivating His fruit in your life?
How would understanding the fact that you have severed your relationship with the flesh at the point of your conversion affect your life today?