Does your life reflect the attributes of God? Can others who cross your daily path see and feel the love of God in your words, actions, and attitudes? What about those times when you think no one else is looking, are you living by the Holy Spirit?
Paul, one of the great apostles, understood our struggles as Christians. In Galatians 5:16-17, he wrote of this struggle. “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 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.”
A modern translation of these same scriptures by Eugene H. Peterson, The Message, reads: “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?”
As a new Christian, we learn of the unconditional Love of Christ for us and that we are to show this same love to others. We also learn true Joy and an enduring Peace as we grow to know Christ better. Continued growth in our spiritual life teaches us to extend the unconditional love of God to others. In this process, we are challenged to be Longsuffering or patient in our relationships with them, being Kind in word and deed and showing Goodness toward them at all times, regardless of their actions toward us. True spiritual maturity, regardless of our physical age, brings an inner strength reflected in unwavering Faithfulness, a tender Gentleness, and Self-Control in all areas of our life. In this stage of spiritual growth, we come to realize that even if others may not see or hear, God always sees and hears. We come to realize that our relationship with Him is sweeter when we surround ourselves with these attributes.
These attributes of God, most often called the Fruit of the Spirit, are not a requirement of our salvation but instead are an outward, physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit working in us and are evidence of our salvation, affecting our relationships with God, others and our self.
When we accept Christ as our Savior, we not only receive eternal life in Heaven, we receive the blessing of God’s fruit – His Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control given to us even we are undeserving. God does not pick and choose which fruit to give us – instead He freely give us ALL nine – a gourmet basket filled to overflowing with all His fruit – evidence of His love for us. As followers of Christ, neither are we to pick and choose which fruits we wish to cultivate and share with others. Instead we are to partake of all nine of God’s fruit blessings and we are to pass all nine of these fruits on in all we think, say or do, at all times, in all places and to all people.
VERSE OF THE WEEK
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:23-23 NKJV