When we read this list, it can be easy to think that we simply need to start being better people. More moral and upright. More loving, kind, faithful, gentle, self-controlled, etc.
We can be tempted to treat the fruit of the Spirit almost as if they are a to-do list. On Monday, we’ll focus on being kinder. On Tuesday, we’ll try to do good for more people. On the weekends we’ll go to church and try to be gentle toward others.
But this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the fruit of the Spirit. When we turn the fruit of the Spirit into a checklist of moral to-dos, we drain them of their beauty and their power.
Simply put, if we try to grow in them in our strength, we’ll fail. We can’t be more loving, kind, and faithful on our own. We can’t truly exercise God-honoring self-control by our power and strength.
A different approach is needed.
The Need For The Holy Spirit
There’s something we need to notice about Galatians 5:22-23. One keyword that changes everything. When we see this one word, it completely alters the way we think about growing in the fruit of the Spirit.
That word is Spirit. In this case, it’s referring to the Holy Spirit(sermon video by Pastor Rogers), who is the third person of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
The fruit mentioned are fruit of the Spirit. In other words, they are produced by the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. We can’t simply work ourselves up into being more loving or kind or gentle. We can’t decide that we’re going to be more gentle and then suddenly become more gentle.
Only the Holy Spirit can truly produce these things in us.
Did you catch that?
Apart from the Holy Spirit, we simply cannot grow in godliness. On the flip side, when we do have the Holy Spirit in us, he enables us to produce fruit! He helps us become more like Jesus and put on the fruit of the Spirit.
Of course, all this raises the critical question: how do we experience the power of the Holy Spirit every day?
Filled With The Spirit Every Day
When we first believe in Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. The Bible even goes so far as to say that we are “temples” of the Holy Spirit, meaning the Holy Spirit resides in us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
So if you believe in Jesus Christ, you already have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, helping you become more like Jesus. That’s great news! You can be sure that the Spirit is dwelling in you, producing the fruit of the Spirit in you.
But we’re called to take action as well.
In Ephesians 5:18, it says, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit…”
The Apostle Paul was writing this to Christians who already had the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. He was essentially telling them to be “refilled” with the Holy Spirit. Not that the Holy Spirit had left them. By no means.
Rather, he was simply telling them that they needed to experience the power of the Holy Spirit every single day. That they needed to ask the Holy Spirit to give them fresh strength to follow Jesus.
Think of it like this. Our bodies are made up primarily of water. Yet we still need to keep drinking more water every day to stay hydrated. In the same way, we need to keep being filled with fresh power from the Holy Spirit every single day so that we can produce the fruit of the Spirit.
This is where we must take action. If we want to produce the fruit of the Spirit, we must ask the Holy Spirit to “fill” us each day with fresh power for obedience. We must ask the Holy Spirit to help us grow in love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. We must pray that, by His Holy Spirit, God would help us become more like Him.
And this is a prayer we can be sure God will answer. In Luke 11:13, Jesus said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
If we ask the Lord to fill us with the Holy Spirit, we can be sure that he will answer that prayer! If we pray that God would help us grow in the fruit of the Spirit, we can be 100% confident that He will do it. He loves to help His children become more like Jesus.
So ask the Holy Spirit to fill you freshly today with new strength. Ask Him to help you grow in the fruit of the Spirit. You can be sure that He will.
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Holy Spirit | January 31, 2013
Our Greatest Prayer Partner
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8:26)
Are you satisfied with your prayer life? Most of us would answer no. Prayer is our greatest Christian privilege but, sadly, our greatest failure. We fail more in our prayer life than any other place.
Whatever our occupation, every Christian has a second full-time job—we are called to be evangelists. Our Savior said, “Lift up your eyes and look upon the fields, they are white already unto harvest” (John 4:35).
Part of God’s plan for you is to get your eyes off self and onto others. No matter how faithfully you attend church, generously give, eloquently teach, or circumspectly walk, if you’re not endeavoring to bring people to Jesus Christ, you’re not right with God. God didn’t save you to be a member of Christians Anonymous. He commands us to go make disciples. It’s not a request; it’s a command.
I am grateful for schools, but there are some things that no schoolteacher can teach us. For that matter, no pastor can teach us, but only the Holy Spirit of God. That’s because when it comes to spiritual matters, on our own we can be stunningly ignorant.
But we are not left alone. We have someone to teach us. Jesus said in John 16:7-11: “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on Me; Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”