By Hal Gree
There are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which Christians have prayed for and received, especially over the last century. Then there is the fruit of the Spirit. God bestows the former on all believers for the sake of the common good of the body of Christ (1Corinthians 12:7). The latter emerge from within believers when they invite in and let the Spirit work for the good of all. The “fruit” evidences the presence of Christ’s Spirit working in and between us.
Paul names nine priceless fruit of the Holy Spirit:
“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things…. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23, 25).
In a similar statement, Paul sets forth how we are to live together as followers of Christ. Here we can sense the fruit of the Spirit in operation:
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15).
How do we obtain the fruit of the Spirit? Strictly, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, which, if we permit, will slowly turn us into true “Christ-ians.” They are the fruit that come from being connected to, and in active relationship with, God. They are unmistakable evidence of the hidden presence of and participation in Jesus Christ.
Think of Jesus as you read and pray for these nine fruit of the Spirit again: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” The good news is that you do not have to struggle to attain one or all of them; they will be in evidence when you permit Christ’s Spirit to guide you. That is, they are gifts of God, rather than the fruit of your labor.
What is more, these nine fruit are interconnected, like rare pearls on a golden chain-of-being. Receive one, and you will receive them all. This will happen of itself when you enter into relationship with Christ. So invite in and abide with Jesus Christ; then the fruit of the Spirit will be yours as well.
There is more. (There is always more with God!) What God works in you, God also seeks to work through you. How else can you join Christ’s endless mission to be the Light of the world?
“Let your light so shine” … so that others want what you have. This is the pure way of effective evangelization, one person at a time.
(Contact Hal Green, Ph.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org.)