No matter what is going on around them, they are cheerful, smiley, and just plain nice. You may find it refreshing, or annoying—especially if those positive traits don’t come naturally for you.
If this describes you, be encouraged today. Characteristics such as joy, kindness, and peace might not come naturally to you, but they can come supernaturally. Let me explain.
When a person accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, His Spirit comes to live in them. And He brings with Him certain attributes—or fruit—that He freely gives to those who’ve put their trust in Him.
Galatians 5:22-23 lists these attributes as love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the fruit of the Spirit that is produced by the Spirit. He cultivates them through us, beyond our natural abilities. The Bible says our nature is in direct opposition to the Spirit. We cannot produce love, joy, or any other fruit without Him.
"For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish" (Galatians 5:17).
Pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, once said, “Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always of growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it.”
Could it be, that the fruit we try so hard to display in our lives is a gift from God?
I don’t know about you, but viewing the fruit of the Spirit as gifts, removes the pressure of having to act a certain way. It eases the burden of not feeling “good enough.” It relieves the strain of self-motivation and leads us to full dependence on the Holy Spirit.
In his book, The Pressure’s Off, author Larry Crabb says, “We’ll never abandon ourselves to the Spirit as long as we think we can change without Him.” This quote is a great reminder of how we waste time and energy trying to get it right, when in fact, we simply need to surrender.
To further illustrate this point, a beautiful word picture is given to us in John 15:4, where Jesus says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
The fruit of God’s Spirit is produced in us when we remain in Him. Our part is to hold fast. His part is to produce fruit. Beautiful, isn’t it?
It’s easy to feel “less than”, especially when those around us seem to have it all together. But let me encourage you today. It’s not about trying harder. It’s about resting in the work of the Holy Spirit. When the fruit of the Spirit doesn’t come naturally, remember these things.
A short 90-second audio clip from Pastor Adrian Rogers
Instead of viewing the fruit of the Spirit as rules or requirements, we can receive them with grace and gratitude. Love, joy, and kindness aren’t items on a checklist for us to cross off as we complete them. They are beautiful attributes of a holy God who simply wants us to trust Him to work in our lives. It’s not about rules, but about the heart.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7).
When virtues such as gentleness or kindness don’t come easy to us, we may feel guilty or even shamed. And though it’s good to remain open to God’s convictions, it’s not beneficial to always strive to be good enough. At some point, we will fail, and that’s where God’s grace comes in.
"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
It’s not about being good enough, my friend. It’s about relying on God’s grace and goodness to produce lasting fruit in our lives.
As Christians, we want to be an example of Christ to others. However, we don’t have to prove ourselves through self-promotion or personal achievement. The fruit of the Spirit aren’t badges of honor that we have to attain. After all, we have nothing in which to boast except the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)
When we let go of the need to prove something, and simply allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, the fruit will abound!
My friend, this is wonderful news for us! It reminds us of our place in the Lord—a place of peace and rest. It encourages us to simply remain steadfast in our faith, knowing He will bear fruit as He sees fit.
If you imagine a tree with many branches, some full of leaves and fruit, and some dried up and bare, it’s clear that the fruitful branches are the ones fully connected to the trunk. They flourish by tapping into the main source of water and nutrients.
So it is with us. The fruit of the Spirit doesn’t come naturally to our flesh. But when we abide in the True Vine, tapping into His life-giving resources, He bears much fruit in us.
Let’s face it. There are people in this world who seem to bear the fruit of the Spirit naturally. They are gentle, kind, and patient.
So, the next time you feel bad about not portraying the fruit of the Spirit in your own life, lean in, even more, to the True Vine, and see what He will do through you!