Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit, Part 2
“One of the most important steps to seeking God’s best in your life comes through being faithful in your living and giving.”
In last week’s message, I shared Part 1 of a teaching on the fruit of the Spirit, sharing that as you abide in Christ, the “true vine” (John 15:1-5), His presence will continually rest upon you and you will begin bearing spiritual fruit.
In Part 2 of this teaching, I want to focus on each of the nine manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Note that it is not “fruits” (plural), but it is “fruit”—one fruit of the Spirit revealed in nine manifestations that should be evident in the lives of all believers. We will study each of them in detail and learn how they are to be revealed in the life of each Christ-follower!
Jesus taught powerfully on this subject: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NKJV).
God’s divine purpose for us is to bear fruit:
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (John 15:16)
As I mentioned in last week’s message, in order to bear spiritual fruit, you must do things to cultivate your life:
• Get to know our Lord better. Seek the Lord through His Word and prayer. Spend more time with Him and you will get to know Him better. Jesus is the One who produces the fruit, and we are the ones who bear it, so the fruit of the Spirit is actually the fruit of Jesus. If you want to bear fruit, you must come to know the wonderful presence of the Lord because He is the source of the fruit.
• Be planted and grow properly by not allowing wrong influences in your life. Refuse to allow wrong influences in your life. It is impossible to bear spiritual fruit when you are living an unsanctified life. Only when you delight and meditate in the law of the Lord will you be like a tree that is planted by the rivers of water (Psalm 1:1-3). Guard your heart!
• Be planted in the right fellowship under good leadership. You must be planted in the right church (Psalm 92:13-14). Make sure you are in the right congregation where you are being fed by a Bible-believing pastor, someone who understands and demonstrates the apostle Paul’s guidelines for Timothy: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
One Fruit of the Spirit Revealed in Nine Manifestations
With the three cultivation principles in mind, let’s move on to the nine manifestations of spiritual fruit found in Galatians 5:22-23.
1. Love—when spiritual fruit begins to be manifested in your life, the first thing that is evident is supernatural love that is placed in your heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). The fullness of this divine love is immeasurable (Ephesians 3:17-19).
2. Joy—this results in strength (Nehemiah 8:10). The psalmist and the prophet Isaiah both refer to this manifestation as the “joy of salvation” (Psalm 51:12 and Isaiah 12:3). This supernatural joy has nothing to do with your emotions. It is manifested in the spiritual realm. When the Holy Spirit joins Himself with your spirit at the time of salvation, the result is instant joy. It is a divine joy that results from God’s Word in you (John 15:11; Jeremiah 15:16).
3. Peace—this is a supernatural peace given freely by God (John 14:27). It is a peace that comes through justification (Romans 5:1), and it surpasses natural understanding (Philippians 4:7). Peace is a result of loving and living by God’s Word (Psalm 119:165).
4. Longsuffering—this is directed toward our fellow human beings. It is love on trial. It is a quality that enables you to forgive others (Colossians 1:11 and 3:13).
5. Gentleness—the apostle Paul illustrates gentleness by the example of a mother nourishing her precious children (1 Thessalonians 2:7). Matthew 10:16 speaks of God’s people being “harmless as doves.” Gentleness is longsuffering with a touch of healing. Gentleness is a quality that makes you great in God’s sight (2 Samuel 22:36).
6. Goodness—this is holiness put into practice. It results from knowing God (Romans 15:14). We are to do good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27) and do good anytime we have the opportunity (Galatians 6:10). Moreover, James 4:17 teaches us that if you know how to do good but don’t do it, it is sin.
7. Faith—this is a gift, but it is also a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit. The gift of faith is imparted by God through His Word for special needs, but the fruit of faith is produced by the Holy Spirit in order that we might live the Christian life. The fruit of faith enables us to live by faith (Romans 5:2). Without this kind of faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). The gift of faith comes for a season and a reason; it isn’t with you every day. It is the kind of faith that enables you to move mountains (1 Corinthians 13:2). However, the fruit of faith is there every hour of the day. The gift of faith does not justify you—it empowers you, but the fruit of faith justifies you, just as Abraham was justified because of his faith (Romans 4:2-3).
8. Meekness—meekness is not weakness, though sometimes people mistakenly get the two intertwined. Meekness is a spirit that is free from rebellion and pride. It is slave-like submission to God and dependence on Him rather than independence from Him. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). A meek and quiet spirit is valued by God (1 Peter 3:4). He lovingly guides the meek (Psalm 25:9) and beautifies them through salvation (Psalm 149:4).
9. Temperance—this is self-control over the whole person—body, soul, and spirit (1 Corinthians 9:25). The word temperance comes from the Latin term for moderation. The new Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it similarly as “moderation in action, thought or feeling.” Those who manifest temperance are self-controlled, ideally showing restraint in their passions and behaviors. It is impossible to live godly lives and please the Lord without self-control because our flesh wants only to please itself (Romans 7:21-25). Therefore, Romans 13:14 warns us to “make no provision for the flesh and its lusts,” since self-indulgence is the opposite of temperance. The apostle Paul placed a high priority on biblical temperance: “I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27 MSG). How can we do any less?
A Well-rounded Cluster of Spiritual Fruit
These nine manifestations of the fruit of the Holy Spirit enable you to eliminate spiritual barrenness, become fruitful, escape the corruption of the world, and become a partaker of the divine nature of God:
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. (2 Peter 1:4-8 MSG)
Remember, spiritual fruit is not something that you or I can simply manufacture. The source of spiritual fruit is the presence of God. We don’t have to work at it. We just have to bear it.
Since He is the true vine, we must seek Him. Then we will reflect Him in what we think and do.
Steps in the Right Direction
And one of the most important steps to seeking God’s best in your life comes through being faithful in your living and giving.
Throughout history, the Lord has shown believers the divine benefit of obeying Him in these areas: Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. (Deuteronomy 29:9).
Supernatural abundance is the legal right of every covenant child of God, for we have this promise:
And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (Deuteronomy 8:18)
Divine success is His will for you, and God wants to give you favor in your life, your family, and your business dealings:
The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 28:8)
Obedience is the key: If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. (Job 36:11)
It’s time to put our Lord Jesus first in your living and giving! It’s time to sow into His work and obey Him! It’s time for you to pray earnestly that God will prosper you, even as He shows you His will for your life!
So today, take a step of faith as you sow your seed with mighty expectation for today and the future.
Our Lord Jesus Himself taught:
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)
I am looking forward to hearing from you today! Plant your online seed-gift that will be used to reach the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May God release favor and blessing into your life—this is my prayer for you!
In warmest Christian love,